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  • Emily Gold

A Daily Practice


As a result of my weekly chats with my artist friend Maria, I've been thinking a lot more about my process, and why I do the things I do. We got on the topic of daily practice last week, and I was surprised to find out that neither she nor her writer husband, Jon, keep a written journal. They both keep extensive daily blogs and their lives are way more well-documented than mine, but I was shocked to hear this. I need to write my thoughts on paper, with a favorite pen, in a notebook that feels good under my hand. I've always worked through my thoughts on paper. Even some of my artworks require lots of pages of handwritten notes before I even start the sketching/construction part of the project.

And that led me to think, we're all curious about what makes a creative person tick. We want to know what they eat for breakfast, what kind of pen they write with, and what their daily schedule looks like. We think, maybe if I do all that, I'll be as brilliant as _____. As productive as ______. As famous. But the truth is, a daily practice is so personal. And for me, it proves to be an evolving situation. I admire those people who say, I've been doing a collage a day for 10 years, or every day, I write 1000 words, whether they're good or meaningful or not. My one constant is that I do need a practice, and it has to be something easy enough that I can keep up with it nearly every day. For years, it was writing in a journal. I tried a simple one page comic for awhile. Sometimes it's an observational drawing with some writing, or a collage.

For the last week, I've tried a sketch journaling hybrid inspired by artist Anne Leuck. She's one of those admirable people who has kept up her practice for quite awhile. I feel attuned to her way of starting with the structure of a square or rectangle, and then fitting in the day's events in a kind of patchwork interspersed with words, pictures, and patterns. Anne uses markers to add color, and while they aren't usually my media of choice, I see the appeal for these graphic pages. I can add bright color quickly, in big, bold swaths. In my last post, I talked about my daily collages, which were so helpful in keeping my hands moving when I felt a little desperate. I've reduced my collages to one a day, and started writing and drawing more again. And right now, that feels good.

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