Artist Spotlight

Janet Joehlin makes good art, bad art, ugly art

Janet loves to spend time in her art room. It’s the happiest place in her world. Sometimes you’ll find her there with one of her grandchildren by her side. They’ll be singing and laughing and covered in paint or markers. Life is good there.

What is art journaling to you?

Art journaling is like breathing. I need a place to release what’s inside of me…. to express myself and explore hidden places in me. I NEED to do this as often as possible. For the longest time I felt I wasn’t allowed to be me. Now I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do.

What does community do for your art?

I love the Get Messy community. There is always someone to bounce an idea off of. There’s always someone who’s been where you are or is headed in the same direction as you. There’s always someone to laugh with or who gets your weird sense of humor. There is always a chance to give encouragement or receive it. There’s always someone to hangout with and do art together.

How do you live a creative life? How do you incorporate journaling into that?

A creative life is a way of life. It’s looking at the world you live in through a different kind of lens. Lines, colors, shapes, designs. I try to take what I see and what I feel and put it into my art. I have an art room dedicated to making messes in. And I love making messes. My children are all grown and raising children of their own. Sometimes they come to visit and we make even bigger messes! Teaching them to see things in a creative way and living a creative life brings me so much joy.

What does your creative space look like? Where do you journal?

Right now my creative space looks like something exploded in it! I inherited a lot of art supplies, tools and ephemera. They haven’t made a smooth transition into my space. I used to feel I was somewhat organized. Everything had a place and I could find things somewhat easily. Not anymore. The bomb exploded and I’m learning to embrace it as is. Right in front of me, at my art desk, where I work, I try to keep some semblance of order. Most of the time. 😉

Do you have creative routines?

I wake up in the morning and make my coffee, with oat milk, and sit at my art table. I make things. I draw things. I play on paper, in art journals, on the table paper. I doodle. I draw. I paint. I make marks.

I am an artist. I make art. Good art, bad art, ugly art. I just show up to that art table and let the magic out. It’s my favorite place in the house.

What is your favourite art journal page that you’ve ever made and why?

Honestly, there are so many favorites. I love this one because it represents a time when I discovered putting wings onto old family member’s photos brought them to life in a magical way. 

What is your biggest barrier to creating? And how do you overcome that hurdle?

I am my own worst critic. That feeling it’s not good enough. It’s a battle in my thoughts. I’ve learned that you don’t have to believe every thought that pops into your mind. I’ve learned to not listen to that inner critic so much. Not every page is a masterpiece and that is okay with me. Perfectly imperfect is the way to go!

Have you ever made something you don’t like? What did you do?

When I finally allowed myself to make the ugly art along with the good art, everything opened up for me. All of a sudden there was magic! I enjoyed the process of making art so much that it was easy to turn the page.

Have you ever been through artist block? How did you return to your work?

I went through a tough time last summer. I was dealing with so much ‘on my plate’ that my art took a bruising from it. I worked through things as best as I could. It took time for self-care and healing. Finally, I set myself a deadline. I wasn’t always perfect with that deadline. But I gave myself some compassion and grace. I came through that hard time by just showing up and working at putting the past behind me and moving forward. Joining an accountability group within Get Messy helped too.

How has Get Messy impacted your creativity?

Get Messy has so much to offer any level of experience. There’s a prompt or class or tutorial for everyone.

Personally, it has made me so much more confident. I am finally comfortable saying I am an artist. It is so liberating owning who you are.

✨ 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 journal do you use?

I almost always make my own journals.

What is your one *must have* supply?

I ‘must have’ markers and pens.

What do you make when you don’t know what to make?

I play with colors or tools.

What is the most important (non-tool) thing to your creative practice?

A willingness to explore. A willingness to show up no matter what.


Advice to new art journalers:

Just show up and keep showing up. It’s worth all the hard work if you truly want to better yourself!

Janet Joehlin

Janet loves to spend time in her art room. It’s the happiest place in her world. Sometimes you’ll find her there with one of her grandchildren by her side. They’ll be singing and laughing and covered in paint or markers. Life is good there.

Find a willingness to show up no matter what

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