Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

June 27, 2005


Artjournal_find_2 I think one of the reasons I fell in love with design and scrapbooking is that it gave me a reason to make art. A reason to play with papers and words and images. A reason to have something to say. A reason to solve a problem through visual means.

In my scrapbooks I can easily tell a story because there is always something specific to tell, a moment to capture, something tangible to recall. A focal point from which to begin.

For some reason, before scrapbooking, I had in my mind that I needed a reason to emake art. That I could not create just for the sake of creating. Well, I could do it physically, but in my mind I was bombarded with too many questions, fears, negative self-talk. I would start something and then stop myself…

Why am I doing this?

I have nothing to say?

This is dumb.

This is a bunch of abstract nothingness.

This sucks.

The few times that I did paint I was left with the feeling that I had nothing to say. There was no emotion behind my painting. In my mind, no reason. And my big question: who would want to listen to me anyway?

But you know what?

Through the few pages I have created for this Art Journal challenge, I am finding that I am the one who listens. It is me that needs to hear my voice through another medium (rather than in my head), through paint or collage or design or journaling or photography or typography or whatever.

I guess I needed permission from myself that it was ok to make art for me, to find my voice (even if I am the only one listening) through my own exploration of thoughts and supplies and techniques, to just create stuff. To play. Permission to make it what I want it to be. To let myself go. To reach inside myself and see what's in there…what creations have been laying dormant due to my own fears of having nothing to say.

I am learning that art is an expression of my self. That there is something in me, waiting for permission to come forth.

Reason, like perfection, is totally overrated.


  • 1.
    stephanie/pearose said…

    wow-could not have said that any better!
    you seem to always say what i am thinking and then some :)
    thanks for giving me “the reason”!

  • 2.
    Care said…

    Perfectly said, my friend. :)

  • 3.
    cathy said…

    you are so very cool.
    hey. did you know i’m getting a dog?
    : )

  • 4.
    kristi said…

    Glad that you’ve had this little breakthrough…I feel guilt that I spend so much time on artsy endeavors, but they are ME. My voice. You never know where that voice will lead you.

  • 5.
    tracy said…

    Hi Ali, I just love your post tonight…so very insightful. I have often questioned or postponed many a project on the basis that there is no good reason for it to come to fruition. Thankfully, many of those projects nagged at me, until I would finally give in and create…so thankful for that urge, because I learned so much about me along the way. Had I not started somewhere, I would not be benefiting each and every day from the many insights about myself, those creative projects provided. Your words tonight have circled around an idea I have often stuggled with, but had no insight for – until tonight. That art is simply an expression of who we are and if we try to find purpose for creation, we may never find ourselves. We may never unravel that intricate part of ourselves that takes time and alternate roads to find it’s way outside of us. Thank you again for your words…they always seem to come at exactly the right time!

  • 6.
    Rachel said…

    cool entry. cool art page. :)

  • 7.
    Carolyne said…

    spot on Ali … oh, did you know Cathy’s getting a dog!!! she is such a hoot….

  • 8.
    Kass said…

    soooo true. And apt to what I just posted on my little patch of bandwidth.

  • 9.
    Sharon said…

    Very cool perspective.

  • 10.
    Mary said…

    Sounds cool and remember you _aren’t_ the only one listening.

  • 11.
    Rachel Ellington said…

    OK…”are you talking to ME?” Hello! I have recently had a similar insight….I call it my “letting myself go” time. I loved scrapbooking, but never loved it as much as I have this past month or so. I think you inspired me with the art journal, first of all. It was later that day that I was sitting in my studio, and my daughter was playing with play dough at her table and then quickly moved on to paint and making a jolly old mess….but she was so delightfully happy. I, at the time, was trying to figure out what to do for a magazine call and becoming a bit frustrated with myself. It was that moment that I just let myself go, gave up the struggle of trying to create something that I thought the publishers would jump over eachother to get their hands on and just have fun and create for the sake of myself just as my daughter was doing…..
    Man, for the first comment on your blog, I sure did ramble….Geez, Edith!

  • 12.
    julie said…

    Hi Ali,
    Wonderful! I’m sitting her thinking, “Yeah, what I do is MY voice”‘, whether anyone is listening or not. Kind of gave me chills reading your insightful words.

  • 13.
    Jessi said…

    Awesome…I was wondering how the art challenge was going. I know it is about the inside voice, but this outside voice thinks that you do awesome work.

  • 14.
    Lindsay said…

    Well said! I completely agree that there is something in all of us!

  • 15.
    May said…

    WOW! you said it!!! I think you are right on and you have inspired me to go create… just to create!!!

  • 16.
    traci said…

    Love the art journal entry, and love the blog entry, too! Definately a powerful discovery–you’re so brave! :)

  • 17.
    jamie said…

    u r cool. this is cool. totally, girl.

  • 18.
    Celine Navarro said…

    that’s exactly the way i feel…

  • 19.
    Shelley said…

    Wow you hit it right on the head. Your words are so true and real. They are also my words, that constantly play in my head. But I just couldn’t quite say it like you have. Thank you for voicing it, for putting the feelings into words! I feel like I have received permission just by reading this.

  • 20.
    Lisa said…

    honestly.. it’s like you took the thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head for a while and wrote them out.
    i’ve always struggled with the why. why do i do this, what does it all mean, will anyone care but me?
    and lately.. i’ve gotten to the point where i don’t care if anyone cares but me. and i like what i’m doing.
    on a less philosophical note – i’m in the market for a great white pen – what brand did you use on this?

  • 21.
    sara said…

    amen. i needed that today. thanks, ali. ;)

  • 22.
    MarilynH said…

    That is a totally cool way of explaining it. :) Did’ja get my email the other day? ;)

  • 23.
    Mirjam said…

    Thanks for sharing!!

  • 24.
    Tina said…

    You expressed this just so eloquently. Perfect. :)

  • 25.
    Christie said…

    You go girl! I love what you have written and I am finding my own voice in my scrapbooking as well! Thank you for sharing your thoughts which come as inspiration to the rest of us!

  • 26.
    Julie said…

    I LOVE the quote you used on your art journal page from Miss Rumphius. That is one of my favorite children’s books, and the quote is something I have tried to think about and strive for. What can *I* do to make the world more beautiful?
    Thanks, too, for your insight into letting go and finding your own voice. As always, you give me something to think about!

  • 27.
    Amanda said…

    Well said! I understand completely. I find that talking out loud often helps me learn. Does that make sense? Journaling and art and communication are the medium by which we are able to learn, to understand, to relate. At least for me anyway!!
    thanks many times over for sharing and continuing to share :)

  • 28.
    doris said…

    powerful insight.

  • 29.
    emily ruth said…

    i am the only audience…love it!…you’re cool…

  • 30.
    stephanie thiel said…

    Wisdom beyond your years Obi Wan (got Star Wars tag from Renee’ and thought I’d pass it along to you!). I am always amazed at how you are able to dig just deep enough to uncover your truths. This is no simple feat Ali. My hat is off to you and your ability look past a lot of the psychological muck and zero in on what it takes to make you real…and to make your art real for ‘you”.

  • 31.
    Loni said…

    Well said, my friend.

  • 32.
    keschypoo said…

    Thank you for this…
    “I guess I needed permission from myself that it was ok to make art for me, to find my voice (even if I am the only one listening) through my own exploration of thoughts and supplies and techniques, to just create stuff. To play. Permission to make it what I want it to be. To let myself go. To reach inside myself and see what’s in there…what creations have been laying dormant due to my own fears of having nothing to say. ”
    I was at Hood River this weekend in a small coffee shop. Displayed on the walls were small sketchbooks, just little black and white books of peoples drawings of daily stuff. I so wanted to make one. So much that I actually went and bought the journal and a special black fine point drawing pen. Hmmmm, what now, I can’t draw… what am I going to draw…? Me doing the dishes, no one wants to see a drawing of me doing the dishes.
    But now I get it… I WANT TO SEE A DRAWING OF ME DOING THE DISHES. Even if for now it is just a stick figure. :-)
    Thanks for the permission I’ve been needing!

  • 33.
    Angi B said…

    thank you Ali! i’ve been taking a little break from all my creative endeavors and have been wanting to dive back in but didn’t have a clear view of how to do just that – then I read this post and it all makes sense. Sometimes art has no reason. Thanks for the inspiration (again!)

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