the contest of expression

february journal pages
journal pages, february 28, 2014
“When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressive creature. He becomes interesting to other people. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens, and opens ways for better understanding. Where those who are not artists are trying to close the book, he opens it and shows there are still more pages possible.” Robert Henri

February was a busy month. I started three courses through modernity, symmetry, and an art course. I spent the month reading selected essays from Kant, Rousseau, Marx and Darwin for the modernity course. The symmetry course is introducing a whole new perspective and the art course is rounding it all off.

I needed a sketch book for the art course and made one using some old drawings for the inside pages. The image above shows the older drawing (eyes at the bottom) and some notes.

The two faces were inspired by the prompt, child-like drawing, over at a year in the life of an art journal. The face in the middle is a self-portrait and the one on the right was me having fun with shapes and color. The journal cover below was inspired by what I've been studying and includes my favorite Darwin quote, symmetry observations and random sketches.

in a perfect world

This week's homework for the art course was to answer the question: In a perfect world, what would art be to me?

In a perfect world, art would be nothing more than an expression of oneself. It would not be an expectation, a perfection or an ideal. If we look at art as expression, we can see art everywhere: our neighbor's garden, a home-cooked meal, a handwritten letter, the rainbow and even the geometry of a rainbow, and the list goes on. As we grow up, I think we lose some of the freedom we had as a child of expressing ourselves without worrying too much about the how or the why or even the where. With maturity and experience, we gain the knowledge of contest - our art in relation to someone else's art, which leads to wanting that ideal art work.

handmade journal cover, february 2014
journal cover, two pages, left side 

turning on a dime

At the same time, as history has shown us, that never-ending climb toward an ideal and competition with our contemporaries, makes us a better artist.

Darwin believed that "truth emerges from the contest of ideas." He also noted that "nature cares nothing for appearances, except in so far as they may be useful to any being."

handmade journal cover, february 2014
journal cover, two pages, right side

If I had that perfect world, I would lose that contest, and as a result, that pursuit of a better self and truth. So I think I will take the world that I have and keep the contest and the climb toward a more truthful self.

joining sunday sketches and a year in the life of an art journal


  1. The last picture is my favourite, although the others are nice too. I like the way of drawing style in the first face.

  2. I like how you use fabric in your journal pages

  3. I like the collage effects in your sketchbook and the yellow is lovely and bright. Happy SS

  4. your art is interesting and thought provoking. happy Sunday!

  5. beautiful thoughtful pages Juana!

  6. Fabulous pieces once again, Juana. I enjoy your sketchbook pages and catching up on your week. I like the thought provoking question they asked you in art class this week. I'll have to ponder that one and see where my heart lands. :)

    Have a wonderful week! xo

  7. It sounds like you are getting a well rounded education. I like how it is creeping into your art!
    Enjoy a Sunday of study and sketching.

  8. Amazing collages! My favourite is the last one. I love the colors and the pattern and the texture!


  9. VERY fun with the Coursera courses, Juana! Hubby is taking some currently too (statistics and very advances math courses--boggles my brain...LOL!) I have my eye on a literature course there... It's wonderful with these high-level classes--and for free! A new course always deserves a new, fresh notebook. Love how you made up a new one with old work--wonderful! Your answer to the art question, would mirror my onn response. All art should be about expression of self, no holds barred--just heart on the sleeve out there. As a grow older and am rediscovering art on many levels, I do feel that child-like freedom returning. Releasing ideals on perfection, etc. seem easier to do now. And as for Darwin, I'd rather be a useful being than a "perfect" being. So I guess I'm a loser too, in a good way. :o) VERY exciting post and much food for though! Happy Days ((HUGS))


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