I'm over my art journal angst a bit now. Thanks to WTJ I know how to dry out a journal. For now I've decided to just plow forward. I thought about scrapping it and using it as fodder for future journals or putting it aside for now. However, I've decided to just embrace it the way it is and move ahead.
And speaking of journals, my journal workshop was interesting (as always) yesterday. A nice bunch of kids and even the older group (4th-8th grade) managed to find themselves "in the flow" several times. It's so gratifying to me to see a group of 22 kids silently engaged in their thoughts and creativity. I can almost hear them give a sigh of relief. For the most part, their worlds only allow them about three ways to "be" - locked into their left brains, acting out, or zoned out in front of some blinking screen. Once the door is open for them to cross over into their right brains they settle into it and you can even see their body posture change, the muscles in their faces relax.
A former student of mine who is now a student in the NYU film department was there with a friend doing a mini-documentary on the camp. Molly and her colleague both noticed the abrupt change in attitude that happens right around 4th grade. She said, "Wow, when you asked the younger kids who thought of themselves as a good drawer every hand in the place went up but when you asked the older kids - only one hand meekly went up." She mentioned that the younger kids were also so engrossed in the workshop right from the beginning they didn't even notice that they were being filmed & photographed but the older kids noticed right away.
Molly had some great questions for me, too. What did I hope the students would gain from this experience. I hope they come to claim a space for themselves - even if it is only an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper. I hope they can carve out that little rectangle and say "Here it's OK to be me, to experiment, to create, to make mistakes, to laugh, to cry, to dream, to explore, to hope." And I hope that 8 1/2 x 11 rectangle grows to include the world.