Mou Saha’s art journal is an intimate friend
Mou Saha is an artist, author, teacher and speaker. She has been published over 800 times in print media, appeared on PBS TV shows and taught workshops around the States, in Europe and online for Creativebug under JoAnn, Etc., Big Picture Classes, Michael's, Get Messy and more. Mou's academic background in clinical psychology fuels her ongoing quest for wellness through daily creative and spiritual practices. She has represented brands like Faber-Castell, Anna Griffin, Sizzix Ellison USA, etc. and been a freelance writer since 2005. Mou is a mom of three humans and one canine and lives in Mendham, New Jersey, USA.
What is art journaling to you?
What art journaling means to me seems to have expanded over time… It used to be just for fun and now it has become an accountability partner of sorts! It’s a friend who never gets tired of my venting and only holds up the mirror to my face when I do nothing to change something. It’s an intimate relationship.
What does community do for your art?
Sharing joy, sharing common interests – community has always been a sounding board for me. I am so grateful for the acceptance and kindness I have found in my community through art. Art sisterhood is a very unique and inspiring experience for me. I teach and learn at the same time!
How do you live a creative life? How do you incorporate journaling into that?
I journal daily. In bits and spurts throughout the day. I use school notebooks, the Notes app on my phone, anything really to get thoughts out of my head and onto a surface. I process things through my journaling. Sometimes I add doodles, paints, bits and bobs. It’s a process of allowing and accepting and also dreaming for me.
What does your creative space look like? Where do you journal?
I keep changing it, adding, taking away… it’s not a static specific space. I often do it in my car while waiting to pick up my kids. I am not picky about space. I am very grateful for the ‘studio space’ I have, and I also enjoy a park bench or the school bleachers when no one’s there.
Do you have creative routines?
Sometimes I need routines. But most often I am spilling over and just need to get to a journal!
What is your favourite art journal page that you’ve ever made?
Again, changes often … this one I keep coming back to.
Have you ever made something you don’t like? What did you do?
ALL the time! I either declare it complete and embrace it as is. Or I keep working on it and if that’s not possible, I continue the journey onto the next piece or page.
What is your biggest barrier to creating? And how do you overcome that hurdle?
Making time can be a challenge. Surrendering the need for perfect routines, supplies, spaces help me create as I am and as I feel. There are many non-art responsibilities I have chosen in life and I am always learning new ways to balance everything.
Have you ever been through artist block?
Not often, thankfully. If it’s commercial work, and I feel stuck, I walk away if there’s enough time. If not, I do my best and turn it in. Sometimes it’s rejected, sometimes revisions are requested and sometimes they love it as is.
In personal work, there are so many ideas I want to try, I don’t really feel stuck. Plus, I am totally open to making BAD art.
How has Get Messy impacted your creativity?
To me, Get Messy Art is a connection-oriented creative platform where there is room even for the introverts. I like to come back here because of the non-hyper-commercial pleasant inspiring supportive atmosphere.
Mou is one of the incredible teachers at Get Messy. She shares her art and her heart in the Season of Chapters.
You’re invited to embrace the messy middle and join the best art journaling community on the internet.
What journal do you use?
I like to make my own journals usually by upcycling paper packaging, fabric and other found materials.
What is your one *must have* supply?
This rotates in phases. Right now, it’s paint.
What do you make when you don’t know what to make?
I start putting paint down and just the physical motion of it, slowly calms my mind down to a single focus.
What is the most important (non-tool) thing to your creative practice?
Audiobooks. I listen while I make things – my version of soft-core multitasking.
Who are your favourite Messy artists?
Sabrina Ward Harrison – I LOVE her compositions; Caylee Grey – love the soft gentle feminine vintage feel she creates AND her mad lettering skill; Kasia Avery – the way she sets up her space always inspires me to create. I can go on… forever…yes!
Advice to new art journalers:
Give yourself permission to make pages and don’t judge the end-result. What transpired within you in the process of making the pages is what matters in the end.