Project Life: Keeping it Low Key
Stencils That Are Meant To Layer

Art Journal Every Day: Let Go of Expectations


If you're new to Art Journal Every Day, all the posts can be found here.  Please read this post first.  There is a flickr group for sharing right here.  Remember, it's just ten minutes of nourishing your creative self every day!  No need to finish anything or even like it.

One of the most common complaints I hear from people about art journaling is that they can't get their pages to look how they envision them in their heads.  Well, I can't either.  I'm sure somebody out there gets it "just right" every single time, but it's not me.  

 And yet, I love my pages.  

My secret?  I have learned to let go of my pre-conceptions of what it's supposed to be.  And thusly, whatever it is, is awesome!  Part of the reason ten-minutes-a-day works for me is because I have learned to let go of expectations.  I just add another layer each time until my page decides what it wants to be.


Imagine that you have a date tonight.  You've been thinking about this date.  You have been planning this date.  You've imagined all the ways it might go. What you will say, what you will do, what you will eat, what the other person will say and do and eat.  This is a night that is going to make you happy.  This is a night when you will laugh a lot.  This is a night when you will have deep conversations.  You will look perfect. Your date will behave perfectly....and so on.  Well, that's a lot of pressure for a date.  And if it doesn't go that way you'll probably come home quite disappointed.


Keep in mind, I'm not telling you to lower your expectations.  I'm telling you to let go of your expectations.  They are different statements.

  • Lowering your expectations is about expecting (and accepting) less.
  • Letting go of your expectations is about assuming nothing and embracing whatever may come.

I promise you that even if nothing about your art journaling changes, changing your attitude about it will make the process and the outcome much more pleasurable.  


Here are some ways to help you let go of expectations:

  • Narrow your focus.  Instead of thinking of the end result, think about what you want to accomplish in the next few minutes.  For example: I want to use this stencil.
  • Follow the shiny ball.  What does that mean?  When something interesting flits across your line of sight or through your mind, follow it.  Take that detour.
  • Walk away.  I often find that the pieces I hate the most are the ones where I was relentlessly pushing and pushing and pushing and overworking my art.  Sometimes taking a break and coming back another day with fresh eyes is just the ticket.
  • Do something to purposely ruin it.  Rip it.  Cover it with paint.  Ruin it.  Gasp.  It works.  It makes you less afraid.  And forces you to let go of your expectations.
  • Don't compare yourself to others.  Maybe I should say that again: don't compare yourself to others.  As Dr. Seuss has taught us, "No one is youer than you."  Art journaling is not a competition.
  • Make art every day.  When making art becomes part of your daily routine it really takes the pressure off.  Release that valve by taking ten minutes a day to do something artistic.

The next time you sit down to create, try not to think about where you're going.  Focus on where you are right now and enjoy it!  Whatever's next will come.  Exist in the moment, being true to yourself.  Kind of works for life too, don't you think?

Thanks for stopping by!

ETA: I forgot to post the linky list.  If you're art journaled this week, please link us up.  Please post a link that goes to a specific blog post or photo on flickr rather than a general url.  Thanks!