Artist Spotlight

How Pam Garrison uses art journaling as her personal playground

Pam Garrison is an artist passionate about the pursuit of creativity. She can be found art journaling, painting, lettering, doodling or practicing some creative form on the daily. When she’s not at home in Southern California with her husband and two children, she is often travel teaching. You can take a class with Pam in person at various retreats around the globe, or online with Creativebug.com.

WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE STORY?

Probably like everyone here, I’ve felt creative desires my entire life. My mother was very creative and when growing up we crafted a lot together. She painted with oils and I took lots of art classes after school and on weekends. I didn’t really understand that I could have a “career” as an artist. I thought “artists” were more eccentric, more avant-garde than my upbringing, so I didn’t pursue art education. That saddens me, but it was probably for the best because I can be such a rule follower. If I had been taught “art rules,” I might not feel the freedom I do to explore and discover, which has ended me where I am today. Back in 2005, while a stay at home mom with a young daughter, I discovered blogs and it really helped me to feel like my yearnings were normal, I found my people! I started blogging in January of 2006 and passionately shared my creative pursuits and the world seemed to open up from there with various opportunities and participating in things seen on other blogs like art retreats and classes. I can’t believe 10 years went by in a blink, but in those years I took and taught classes, continued to art journal, craft, sew, paint, and generally participate in creative passions. Like I said previously, it all adds up to something and now I call myself an artist!

WHY DO YOU LOVE ART JOURNALING?

Oh, I do love it so! The freedom and intention that exists in my creative expression via art Journaling is key. I never approach a page with an end in mind, and art journaling really makes that easy to do, since it’s not going anywhere than in the book by design. I have used photos or scans of finished art journal pages for other things, but that is never the plan from the beginning. My art journals are designed to be a playground for art supplies and exploration and discovery. Pure creative freedom on a page.

DESCRIBE YOUR ART JOURNALING PROCESS

I began art journaling in 2003, and my process hasn’t changed too much since then. I almost always hand make my own art journals using either watercolor paper or a mix of papers. I thrill at a brand new journal full of blank pages and the promise it holds for creative fun ahead. I usually have a few different art journals going at once, with different sizes and paper choices so that I can take on the go. In each journal I’ve got pages in all different stages-from plain white pages, to background layers started, some drawing or collage layers, or completely finished. I love being able to sit down and pick up art journaling with whatever I’m in the mood or have the supplies to do. There is no “must” for my pages, some have tons of layers and mediums and elements on them, some are just pen on paper, or ink or paint on paper, some just collage, some have paint, ink, collage, stamping, writing and things attached to them with staples or tape. Anything goes!

WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR BEGINNERS AND WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO MAKE?

I think one thing that is helpful is to examine the excuses one has that keeps them from art journaling – is it the pressure of being results-oriented? Is it the blank page and not knowing where to start? Is it feeling there isn’t the time? Don’t want to really get messy every time? etc. I think that if we look at what excuses we offer up, we might discover an underlying fear. Excuses are legitimate, but you can often find a way to look at them differently and get them out of your way. Afraid of a blank page? Paint/stamp/ink up a bunch of different pages randomly with no intention of “finishing” them in the same session. Don’t want to really get messy or feel you have the time for a whole page of art journaling? Breaking it down into parts and the task you are in the mood to do, can remove that problem and get you opening the door to playing in your journal more regularly. Sometimes I have every single art supply out and a huge spread and sometimes I’m sitting on the couch doodling or writing or cutting and gluing only. Follow whatever small idea you have and don’t let the next steps get in your way mentally and keep you from beginning.

✨ Free class for creatives ✨

In How to Start Art Journaling, we’ll walk you through the art of art journaling, including how to start doing (🙌) and make your very first art journal page (even if you’ve never even opened an art journal before).

WHAT ARE YOUR MUST HAVE SUPPLIES?

Paper! I love Fabriano Artistico 140lb hot press paper. I usually buy it in large sheets and tear it down to the size of book I want to make. But I also love vintage paper, especially ledger paper. I’d say second would be pens and markers. An assortment of nice black pens can keep me entertained for hours. Writing, doodling, lettering, drawing…I do this on white pages as well as already painted or collaged pages. Then coloring in with Copics or Pigma Color Brush Markers is always fun. Or just using them on the page without black pen first. Inexpensive acrylic craft paints, watercolor paints, scraps and scissors and glue are also regular supplies.

WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

Color is so inspiring to me, the pure colors, mixing new colors and the combinations and how they play off each other, all bring me joy. Color combinations really get my creative juices going and make me want to keep going- trying new colors with new materials and see what ideas are sparked next. To begin with color and have it inform the next choices is endlessly inspiring.

HOW DO YOU FIND TIME TO MAKE THINGS?

I make it a very high priority in my life. Expressing my creativity is a key to my health and happiness, and I honor my need to do something creative daily. But that does mean that other things suffer…I’m fine with clean laundry in laundry baskets and not put away, or dishes that need doing, housework doesn’t have to be done first in order for me to play. And I certainly don’t exercise enough or sleep enough. I’m still working on balance in life just like everyone else. I use my creative time to express joy, work through problems, as work, as play, as a way to procrastinate etc. So basically, I can justify creativity in lots of different situations, that helps make more time for it. There’s a saying, “you can nickel and dime your time or money away”, it’s the same in reverse too…little bits of creativity here and there add up to a lot over time. I encourage saying yes to creativity in tiny doses as well as big.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?

I want to encourage anyone that has interest in pursuing something creatively to do it! Don’t worry about where it’s going, or what the future holds, just honor your creative yearnings and believe in your right to express yourself in this way. It always leads to something else and I think suppressing isn’t good for anyone, even the loved ones in your life. Make art and have fun! xo

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Pam Garrison

Pam Garrison is an artist passionate about the pursuit of creativity. She can be found art journaling, painting, lettering, doodling or practicing some creative form on the daily. When she’s not at home in Southern California with her husband and two children, she is often travel teaching. You can take a class with Pam in person at various retreats around the globe, or online with Creativebug.com.

Make time for play with art journaling

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