As we approach the hiatus for the crusades I will be posting some trivia. I will share some details during March and will wrap up the statistics after the current crusade concludes. It's been fun to review all that has transpired with this team blog. First up, some numbers....check it out. I loved recognizing that there were 26 entries for Crusade No. 26, and 38 entries for Crusade No. 38!
For each crusade there are two sets of numbers. One is the number of entries, and one is the number of participants. In some cases, the numbers are the same. However, when a participant offers more than one instance of meeting the challenge there are additional entries.
Thank you crusaders – those of you who came to play last month, and those who have left comments and sent emails about the suspension of the street team activity. I will talk about that later but for now let’s offer a high five to the participants. An additional round of high fives goes to all who visited the links and left words of encouragement. When we go out on a limb to share our perspective and our work we are validated in our efforts by having an audience and a community who embrace us.
This month I challenge you to restrain yourself. Create a journal page that has minimal elements, less clutter, and more breathing room. I’m not saying that less is better than more; I’m simply asking you to try it. As we know, there are no rules when it comes to visual journaling. We might have a formula for constructing a page or we may mix it up and free-wheel through the process - sometimes busy, sometimes not-so-busy. What got me thinking about this as a challenge is a comment I got many months ago about I page I presented with a lot of empty space. The friend remarked that she didn’t have the will power to leave so much breathing room in a composition. Have you ever felt that way? That you aren't brave enough to leave blank areas? Maybe you think blank means unfinished? Don't know when to stop? This month I'm giving you permission to stop early. Don't get me wrong, leaving space doe not necessarily equate to less time commitment. It takes just as much concentration to compose with space as it does to compose with clutter.
I made this page today. Influenced by the lyrics of Elton John's Tiny Dancer. I purposely intended to establish space. I couldn't visualize a page dedicated to this song any other way. On another day, with another song, I might fill every inch of the page.
I was at an art exhibit a few years ago and read an artist’s statement that said something to the effect of: be ruthless in what you take away. That made such an impression on me. For instance, with this page below from last summer, I became aware of all the elements I had within reach that were intended to use on a page, then observed that not every item had to be included. Editing my materials did not diminish my expression. Less clutter allowed for greater focus on the underlying texture, or the message, or the image. There are many pages in a journal. I can use a riot of color and pattern on another page, on another day.
I'm sure you'll agree there are pages that get our attention because they ARE busy and intricate and detailed. Our eye enjoys darting across the content absorbing all the information. It’s the investigator within us that likes to explore and uncover. These kinds of pages seem to reveal something new each time we look at them. But our eyes also enjoy a respite. A subtle page does not minimize impact; it offers calm and deeper layers of observation. A page with a little more space draws they eye to the efforts of color, texture, and intention. The breaks on the page do not have to be white to be considered space. See below.
As I was planning out this crusade I was noticing the contrast of busy vs. restrained everywhere. Here are some tear-outs from printed matter that illustrate my point:
So that's it! Make a journal page while practicing some restraint. Try on minimalism. Maybe you've already been doing that - show us one or a few in a new blog post and express how you feel about working that way. Taking on this challenge as a community helps us widen our perspective because what I show you is certainly not the singular way to do things. I love seeing how you interpret the prompt. We all learn from each other. As I've said, this will be the final crusade for a while. I'm not saying I'm concluding the challenges, just need some time away to reflect on the process and figure out if I want to revisit in a different format. Within the month I will be posting some historical trivia about the last 60 crusades so come by when you can....and once again, hope you'll come play.
Please know I step away with a heavy heart. I love it here.
Happy Valentine's Day! It's nearly mid-month so here is the reminder to plug in and share the things you love. This year we get an extra day in February for Leap Year. While it may seem just like any other day, celebrate it...claim it!
Ta-Da! You did it! Thank you to all the crusaders who came to play along last month, and for sharing your accomplishments. It was fun to see your singular achievements as well as your long lists of completed tasks, assignments, projects and goals. I hope the exercise made you feel not only satisfaction, but motivation for the full year before us.
This month's challenge is inspired by Valentine's Day. We get to celebrate the love we have for partners, family, and friends. I hope you also indulge in some self-love...like taking a day, or just a few hours, to enjoy some creativity time. I'm thinking it will be interesting to reflect on all the things we love. People in our lives, things we like to do, places we like to visit, food we love to eat, art supplies we can't live without - that kind of stuff. You can make lists of favorites, or focus on a singular subject. You can be serious and sentimental, or simple and sweet. You choose. Make some declarations. This will give us a chance to get to know you better, and maybe we will learn about something that we will love too.
I've just pulled out my journal to start thinking about my declarations of love. Not quite sure how I will go about it yet. Might go with grids like we did in Crusade No. 41 (revisit HERE).
EDIT: To illustrate that you don't have to be comprehensive in your declarations, you can just pick one thing - here are two spreads that express my love for some basic things. It's fun to have them documented in my journal. Some day I may look back and say "what is a K-cup?"
Easy, right? Decide the angle you are going to take and get started. Pick one thing, like maybe a favorite tool or art supply, and use it on the page, label it, and write a little bit about it so when you look back (years from now) you'll recall why the item was so important to you. Read a great book lately that you adored? Share that. Tried a new recipe that you LOVE, share that. Brimming with love for your partner? Share that (of course you maintain the right to keep the details private by tucking them out-of-sight). Declare what you love....and have a great month!
I'm not one for making resolutions at the beginning of the year. I'd much rather reflect on the past year and recognize all I have done. I find that empowering and motivating.
I am a list maker. Big lists of things I need to do. Little lists of stuff to remember. Daily notes of tasks to accomplish. And in January I have a ritual of making a Ta-Da list. I start with the end of December and work my way back to the first of the year, making notes of everything I have done. It is easier to start with the most recent self-imposed assignments. Eventually I recall a full list of achievements, missions, chores, and projects that leaves me feeling really good. Sure, there are always things on my To-Do list....but they are not huge goals. Just things I can manage at the time. When you move items from your To-Do list to your Ta-Da list you celebrate what you've completed...that's much better than worrying about what didn't get done, right?
To encourage your Ta-Da list making I have prepared two files for you. They open in Adober Reader and fit 8.5" x 11" at 300 dpi. One is a full sheet, the other is two sheets on a page. Print, fill out, and put in your journal to celebrate what you've done and to empower you to do more.
EDIT: by request (thanks Judy) I have added a list for 2012, and edited the half-sheet to include both 2011 and 2012.
What you put on your list is personal and you don't need to show us all the details. Just share that you did it and that it's tucked in your journal. You could include everything from art you made or swapped, to getting the fence painted. Did you finally clean you fridge? Sweep behind the sofa? Learn to knit a scarf? How many books did you read? Did you aim to drink less coffee or drink more water? It all counts. Been wanting to join our crusades? DO it, and add it to the list!
Let's begin 2012 by patting ourselves on the back for all we completed in 2011. Make a Ta-Da list, because it's way more fun than a To-Do list! And it you have a long To-Do list for the month or the year, get started turning that into you-know-what!
Thanks to all the crusaders who have come to play on our street! We met alot of new friends this year and did some more work in our journals. I love that we have a community of sharing and support, especially from our loyal players. It makes me squee when I visit a new friend's link and see cheerleading comments from the veterans. Thanks again to all of you.
I made an edit to Crusade No. 58 with photos I finally put together of myself on film. It was definitely a lesson in being a better photographer. There are times when you just need to live in the moment and not worry about taking pictures. But then there are times when you want to document an event or a gathering and part of that means getting IN the frame. Next up for me is getting the photos from the screen to my journal..I'm always bad about getting things printed.
I am nearly done with the next crusade. I will post on January 2nd. Until then, Happy New Year. Whether you are going out or staying home, Say Cheese and get yourself on film!