Abstract Imagery & Symbolism in Art Journals

"If I choose abstraction over reality,
it is because I consider it the lesser chaos."
Robert Brault

Abstract imagery & symbolism in your art journal. https://daisyyellowart.com

The patterns, materials, images, words, colors & ephemera that you incorporate into my pages can convey concepts that I find difficult to put into words. Yet I find that if I allow myself to follow a hunch, an inkling, intuition instead of forcing a particular result, I wind up with pages that I find more intriguing. 

[updated 03/18; originally published 02/16]

So I'm time traveling back to look at older pages to try to find stories that I'd missed during the making process! You know, happy accidents that come together in a meaningful way. When I build a collage, I don't think that I'm intentionally seeking out elements with a particular meaning...  and certainly not symbolic... it's all very impromptu. But later... it's all very interesting to see how it has played out!

Gail Godwin quote https://daisyyellowart.com

"Dreams say what they mean,
but they don't say it in daytime language."
Gail Godwin


I think of art
journaling and dreaming
as my brain attempting to
sort out day-to-day life.

Art journal page by Tammy Garcia https://daisyyellowart.com #alteredbook #artjournal
Art journal page by Tammy Garcia https://daisyyellowart.com #alteredbook #mixedmedia

I don't think it's magic or other-worldly, but themes often emerge while I am working on a page. Maybe not until the last collage element, when a word from an earlier layer appears adjacent to an image... or years later, I discover something as I flip through the pages of a journal. The individual elements or the composition might make sense on a deeper level.

Look back at your earlier pages for little clues and stories. 

Langer, an art philosopher, explains that "...form is comprised of the visual, structural elements of the artwork such as color, line, composition, etc. Artistic form may be used to represent internal feeling in a structural way. Form is the structure of the art, and it is this structure to which we respond when we view, hear, or otherwise experience it. It is the form and structure of art that conveys the feelings of the artist." {Source: Journal of Clinical Art Therapy}

sym-bol-ism, (smb-lzm), noun

  1. The practice of representing things by means of symbols or of attributing symbolic meanings or significance to objects, events, or relationships.
  2. A system of symbols or representations.
  3. A symbolic meaning or representation.
  4. Revelation or suggestion of intangible conditions or truths by artistic invention.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language.

So what do you think? Do you intentionally build symbolic elements into your pages, or do they appear later? Have you learned or better understood something because of an art journal page? Do you go back and look at your earlier work to see what you can learn? Are there any stories that come to light? Do you look at those stories or themes literally, figuratively, magically, mysteriously, emotionally, melodramatically...?

Art journal page by Tammy Garcia https://daisyyellowart.com #collage #artjournal
Richard Diebenkorn quotation "I trust the symbol..." https://daisyyellowart.com
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