Inner Self Portraits

This is the title of another of Juliana Coles‘ wonderful extreme journalism booklets on art journaling that I am currently working/playing with.   Her direction is to get to us to not necessarily produce works of art or even attractive pieces to view – it is about communication.  The approach appeals greatly to me as that is my aim, albeit not necessarily always conscious, when creating, journaling etc… thankfully I am past the ‘producing to please others’ phase for the most part although it still bites me on the bum at times.

For the first assignment the instruction was to take 30 minutes and doodle across both pages in as many media as fancied -oh yay, one of my most favourite things to do!  She says “you should be quite satisfied if this looks a complete mess when you are done” – what a great lesson in giving up control.    The next part of this was to look at it deeply – to find your inner portrait within this mess – to pull her out, allow her voice.  Can you see her?

The next exercise I found really interesting to do.  The first part was to write stream-of consciousness starting with “I think people think I’m…..”  The instruction was to write for 5 minutes, I went on until I had filled both sides of the spread.  The next part was to counter allowing ourselves to be defined by others.  To quote Juliana again, “When we allow that, we lose soul parts.”  Oh yes!   The writing was used as a background, the instruction being to create an image of self as the chosen one.  Now I wasn’t sure whether she meant in words or in imagery, so I went with my instinct remembering to preface the text each time with “I am…”:

The final exercise I have done so far started in a very familiar way, to cover both pages with scraps of text – aaah home ground, comfortable.  Um, not for long…practicing drawing was coming next!  The booklets come from workshops that Juliana holds, so given that, the instruction was to draw your partner – I was not in a workshop but at my own art table on my own, so used a mirror.  Time limit 5 minutes to draw – making a “good” drawing that looked like the person was not the point here (thankfully) – the looking was the point.  Next came drawing an item that could fit in the palm of your hand – I used an altered matchbox given to me by a friend – two different views of this were to be done.  Painting around the drawings was the next step followed by writing about what kind of artist I wished I could be….famous?…studio?….materials?  etc etc.  I was genuinely surprised and pleased with the results of this writing:

That’s it for now :).


About Jill An artist inspired by nature in all her glorious guises and the ‘inner’ worlds I have inhabited in the past, present and future; also those of other wanderers I meet along the way.
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10 Responses to Inner Self Portraits

  1. woodnymph says:

    This sounds, Jill, like a fascinating exercise…one that brings much satisfaction. Doodles never looked so good.


  2. willingness says:

    I’m absolutely fascinated with the work you’ve shown today, Jill. I’ve been looking it over and over for about twenty minutes. This is really neat stuff. What wonderful experiments. It leads me to envision other interesting projects emulating the work shown. That is known as “inspiration”. Good on you for THAT, my dear! Inspiration and I are fair strangers these days. I am a tough Teflon-coated Creative: permanently bored with the status quo.


  3. shewolfy728 says:

    The exercises you’ve been doing are fascinating. The doodling one sounds like lots of fun, too!

  4. paintinglady says:

    I love the first one – that is so colourful and it looks like alot of fun to do. The overall result is very pleasing as well (even though it isn’t meant to be – typical eh). The second page sounds very empowering, I would like to do that.

    And I love exercise 3! Your self-portrait is fabulous and it is a good idea to think about where you want to be and how you plan to get there.

    Great pages!

  5. murcha says:

    Looking at your great ideas and applications, has reminded me that there is an online tool, where you can actually put the images and text up in a book format, complete with turning pages.

  6. Heather Blakey says:

    These are the most wonderful activities Jill. It makes me all itchy and want to do things like this with kids in class. The self portrait activity, in particular, is just wonderful.

  7. Linda D. says:

    Wonderful start on your journey, Jill. Adore the doodles, mine never seem to have much colour but yours are brilliant – love them. Love the rest too, especially the self-portrait. Good luck as you continue your travels.

    hugs, Linda.

  8. pearlz says:

    That is very interesting I’ll have to try that out, thanks for the way you explain it too.

  9. Anne Gaal says:

    Hi, there! I see you are continuing to keep an art journal! These pages are glorious! I love them! Each and every one. They are so good! I also like the idea of communicating with yourself through your art journal. Thank you for linking to Juliana Coles. I am off to add the “Inner Self Portrait” booklet to my wishlist! 🙂

  10. Karen Turner says:

    Fascinating work, Jill, and beautifully executed.

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