New Work: Journal Panels

Journal Panels

I’ve finally gotten around to editing some of the documentation images of work I made and documented during my time at the Gushul last month.  Here are some images of some of the journal panels I did.  More images in my portfolio.

Listen to Your Soul for Direction

History of the Troubled Mind

Use the Good Dishes

Stand Out

I have more work that I finished at the Gushul, more photos to come.

Journal Panels Statement 

I’ve been keeping written and visual journals since Mrs. Henley set us the assignment in her grade two class in 1992.  I don’t know if she realized the impact this would have on my life.  I was eight.

My journals have been my constant companion in my life, confidant through it all.  I could chart out my life by them, an archive of my triumphs, hopes and dreams, and lessons learned.

My journal process involves a lot of collage, collecting of images, text, random bits, song lyrics, and personal memories.  I don’t plan the images out before they happen.  Working on multiple panels or pages at a time, I choose things impulsively, instinctively, without thinking too much about it.  I choose whatever resonates with me at the time for whatever reason, sometimes coordinating by color or theme. Often things that seem completely random gather themselves together to form a color scheme or theme that I might not have come up with on my own.  I paint, collage, stamp with my hand carved linoleum stamps, write and doodle all over them, suspending conscious thought, in an attempt to allow something of my subconscious to shine through.  In a sense, this is my own personal kind of meditation, a compulsion that allows me to relax and process things in my own way.

The work in this series is an attempt to share my journals and the process with a wider audience.  They are at once public and personal, although hopefully not too cryptic.  This particular set acts as a series of pep talks to myself, things I’d like to remember to do, to live my life to the fullest and not worry too much.  I hope that others might find something useful in them as well.

See more here.

Daily Overhead Shots from the Gushul

Every day I was there, I took a photo of the studio from the little window in the extra bedroom at the Gushul Studio.  It functions as an interesting diary of my time there.  I did miss a few days at the beginning, and a couple days when I wasn’t there.



























Documenting / Morning Photographs

Jennifer Akkermans_Personal Journey_2014_web

I’ve been working on a few things, such as making these journal “paintings,” all of which are in varying stages of completion. I have realized that I am a documenter by nature, always keeping journals, photographing things, describing processes.  This residency is no different.  Every morning, when I get up, I grab the camera off of the dresser in the other bedroom, and take a photo of the studio down through the window.  Maybe when I’m finished, I will make a little gif movie.  I did miss a few days in the beginning, before the project occurred to me.









You may notice that the March 7th and March 8th photos are really similar – I went to Red Deer on the 7th for my opening, and then returned on the 8th (and photographed when I returned), so there was not much work happening in between.

Now, back to work.

Journal Videos

I’ve posted a few short videos of flipthroughs of some of my journals on Youtube.

Journal 25: Brain Damage:

Journal #28: Glimpse:

Danny Gregory: A Kiss Before You Go

A new book by one of my favourite authors, Danny Gregory.

I have a few of Danny’s other books, including The Illustrated Life, The Creative License, and Everyday Matters.  His books are among the first I reach for when I’m looking for inspiration- a flip through the pages is usually all it takes.  I am amazed by his openness and vulnerability, and the courage it takes to share journal pages.  (I know a thing or two about that as well.)  As his work is primarily for his journal, it is raw, spontaneous, and seems to be true to himself (although I know that what makes it into the books is carefully chosen).  It is a glimpse into his life and personal experience, and I feel lucky to be witness to that through his books.

I am also thrilled to see another book from him listed as coming up on Amazon – An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration From the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers!

Blog as Journal

I’ve realized that I use this blog as a journal.  It’s purpose is primarily for me, although I share it with other people.  I use it to collect things- research, information, inspiration and ideas, and I use it to work things out for myself.  I use it as a record of my interests and progress in certain projects.  It is a record of my life as an artist, containing information on shows and projects I’ve done, holding content related to those, such as images and video, which, let’s face it, just doesn’t work in a physical journal.

Some of you may be sad to know that I have not been keeping up my art journals as much lately as I have in the past, possibly because of this.  I still keep sketchbooks (of course!  I don’t think I could work without one), and I do have a physical journal, but at the moment, it is almost exclusively text, and usually concerns much more private things than my blog.  While I do think at some point I will return to the art books, for now, this is the way it is.  It’s time consuming to keep up those journals, although I do find it a great way to unwind.

It’s funny, all formats – written journals, visual journals and blogs – all have their own pros and cons, and it’s too bad that there’s no format that addresses them all.  For instance, with my visual journals, I often feel that the written aspect is under-represented, and the same goes for the visual aspect of the written journals.  Both are also private, which can be both a good and a bad thing. Blogs can be private, assuming it’s done properly, but are limiting in the visual aspect- there’s something about the immediacy and versatility of pen and paper that a blog just can’t provide.  And a concern unique to my time, is that physical books can’t be used for digital media.  I wish there was an easy solution to this, as currently, I keep 3 journals- my journal, sketchbook, and my blog, each with their own purposes, patterns, versatility, and limitations.

It is important to remember that my blog is public, and so I need to be aware of the implications of what I post, unlike my other journals.  Quite honestly, though, I like to think I act like an adult in my regular life anyway, so this isn’t too much of a change.

Because my blog is primarily for myself, I’m not overly concerned with how many visitors I get, links, and all those other things.    On the other hand, if I can give someone a look into how life actually is for an emerging artist in this city, then that’s a plus, but not my main goal.  Let’s just keep it the way it is, as it’s working for me, and that’s all that really matters.

My Journals….

This is a photo of my shelf full of my all journals (bottom shelf)…. and the shelf above holds my 13 sketchbooks, which are really just a different kind of journal.  They are all different shapes, sizes, binding styles, paper type, etc, including a good portion of reworked composition books, as well as a number I have made myself.

I have a system of numbering them, although it’s not very specific.  The journals (including the sketchbooks) are numbered chronologically, but in some cases (where there’s two journals for the same time period, for example), there’s a B journal.  There are possibly a couple in here that are not quite full, but  the majority of them are full right to the last page.

I’m currently working on #39 (personal, private journal, yet untitled), and #40 (sketchbook, entitled, “Eggplant Sandwiches.”)

I don’t know if you remember, but a couple of years ago, I had an exhibition (Self Portrait) where I had invited people to read them.