Yesterday Judith van Praag of Hope Filled Jars asked me if I had artwork hiding anywhere that needed to be seen. Her post about a drawing from her sketchbook being selected for a show on mothering and art at A.I.R Gallery was about how the good work we send off to galleries and editors, the stuff we think has power and energy and zing is not always the stuff that gets noticed. In this case, it was a small drawing from her journal that caught the attention of the curator.
Of course! I thought. Because we are less inhibited in our private journals and sketchbooks. Until we’ve distanced ourselves enough from the content, it’s for our eyes only. Unless, of course, our sketchbook is stolen, or it’s been published posthumously.
Judith’s challenge made me admit that I do have images and work buried in notebooks and boxes and tucked away for safekeeping or eternal darkness. Part of this is a cataloging issue – what do I do with them? I do withhold the stuff I think doesn’t quite make the cut. Not everything is meant to be shared. These are not revelation-steeped pieces that hold some secret information. They are my mental maps, my clues. When I re-read them and re-image them, I look for subconscious trails I traversed.
Artist journals have always held the poetry behind their work, though. The early ideas. Visual surprises.
How do you know what to share and when?