My New ( and very first) Art Journal

journal red leather cover

On our recent vacation to New Orleans, I kept scoping out little book stores and gift shops as we sauntered around the French Quarter and the Garden District for one particular thing I wanted for myself… an art journal.

I’ve been wanting to get one to practice drawing and sketching and painting in, and I thought it would be a great “souvenir” to bring back from NOLA.

I was so excited when I found this little gem bound in bright red leather and filled with handmade cotton paper.  It is about 5×7 inches with about 50 luxurious sheets of paper held shut with an elastic band.

It fits perfectly in my purse, and I couldn’t wait to use it.


I got nervous.

It is so beautiful, and I really don’t know how to draw very well.
What would I draw on the very first page of this beautiful little book?
It had to be something fabulous or memorable.

I was frozen in indecisiveness and carried it around for days without daring to draw.

I visited many art galleries while wandering around in the French Quarter, but one made the most profound impact on me…

the Alex Beard Studio on Julia Street.

When I walked in, I asked the friendly gentleman if he was Alex?

He kindly told me that Alex had just left, but he would be back tomorrow, and he asked if there was anything he could help me with.

We struck up a brief conversation where he inquired if I was an artist.

Well – “not really,” I replied, but I would love to be and am “dabbling.”

He told me that Alex welcomes anyone to come and join him in his studio to sketch or paint or draw any time they would like.  He loves to share his space.

How fun would that be?

I then told this sweet young man, “I did just buy this beautiful little sketchbook (which I proceeded to show him).  He caressed it just like I did when I first found it, and admired the beautiful handmade sheets of paper.

He was drawing himself when I interrupted him, and I inquired about what he was using and what he was making.

He was making a birthday card.


I told him how I make all my own homemade cards.

He told me how he does too, and how if he ever sends a store-bought card to a friend or relative, they know he must be really busy, because he always makes homemade cards.

Anyway – to make a short story long ….

I told him I was nervous to start drawing in my new art journal.

I said, “I don’t know what to draw on the first page….. it needs to be something significant, and I’m afraid to just draw in it.”

He gave me the best advice ever, and I so wish I could remember his name, for he was such a sweet soul…

He simply said,

“Well then start on the second page.”

Brilliant – eh?

Well – I didn’t get enough nerve up to draw in my new art journal until the second leg of our flight home several days later.  From New York to Pittsburgh, the flight was only about 1/3 full.


journal first drawing

Hubby and I spread out and each took our own row.

I stretched out, and I opened up my little art journal, and this is the first thing I drew….

…on Page 3.

journal gin cocktail nola

My journey has begun.

gin cocktail at wwii museum nola

Gin Cocktail at The American Sector Restaurant, WWII Museum, NOLA

Cheers & Hugs,

74 thoughts on “My New ( and very first) Art Journal

  1. Such a beautiful journal! That was great advice for journal jitters, I always leave the first page, and sometimes the second of my sketchbooks blank and start further in. When I have something special in mind later i can come back to the first pages and add either a sketch or mini collage. You make such lovely pieces I am sure something will present itself in time. Thank you for sharing about your trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am (as usual) so impressed with you! Your easy ability to spark up conversations with the most interesting people! Anxious to see your beautiful RED journal as you share your life with us all! Love you and so glad you had an awesome time xoxooooooooo 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Joyce! What in the world are you doing AWAKE at 6:46 am??!! 🙂
      Thank you for taking the time to say such beautiful things to me. You know how much I adore, admire, and mostly LOVE you! YOU impress and inspire me so much! Do you have an art journal?


    • Oh Thank You Cindy! I am so glad we get to spend every morning together! 🙂 Gary would ADORE visiting all the art studios and galleries in the French Quarter!!! Have you ever been there? If not, please take him. You will not regret! I have PLENTY of recommendations, but you cannot go wrong most anywhere! 🙂


  3. Woo, leave it to an artist to come up with a creative solution! Woot! This is great, and I love your drawing. You’re going to see amazing results, particularly if you draw something every day. Or even just regularly. You will be blown away. Awesome! Roll on, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • well thank you my artistic friend. You inspire me so Lance, though I’m afraid I have a long way to go. I appreciate someone of your talent even acknowledging me – HAHA! But you know what? That is the wonderful thing about artist friends – they are so encouraging and friendly and accepting and open. It is a beautiful community of humankind! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Such simple and profound wisdom. I must admit I continued drawing and went to the first page on the plane, and now am sorry that I did. Got too anxious and now like page 3 better than 1, but you know what? So what! Right! It’s all about the journey, and I hope by the time I fill it, I will laugh and smile at page 1 and 2 and 3.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think this is going to be the best story I read all day! I now have sketchbook envy: that is the most gorgeous book I’ve seen! I had a similar experience when I bought my first Moleskin sketchbook…I was paralyzed about how to start because I didn’t want to mess it up. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh wow, Jodi, what a gorgeous journal!!! And your drawing is wonderful!!! OH MY GOSH!!! Keep drawing!! You have inspired me to start doodling, something I have gotten away from. Beautiful post and I do thank you for it!!! Love, Amy ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • YAY! I am so happy to have inspired you, Amy! It is a gorgeous (and intimidating journal in away) but I am not going to let it intimidate me – LOL! I am going to fill it up. I hope you do too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fear can be our best motivator, Jodi! It is daunting to see all those BLANK pages, and you just want everything that goes on those pages to be awesome. I have every confidence in you that you will succeed!!! I am now going to start looking for my own journal so I can draw and doodle and document my Life in my own little book. Perhaps one day I will be able to draw as good as you do. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Jodi, I’m so happy you got this gorgeous journal and are starting you art journal, I’ve mine, not gorgeous like yours, but it’s where I express myself without any boundaries . I’ve the same question when I start a new one, what will be the first page? Have a lovely Sunday!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I must admit I am a bit jealous of something. I am not sure what it is exactly. I have never in my life been jealous of anybody so I don’t think it is You personally. Is it your exciting yet cozy life, or maybe your artsy drawings, water colors, and cards. Maybe it is your writing. How it draws one in to your home, your life, your feelings. I can smell the baked goods, long to sit on your porch sipping a favorite beverage with an old friend. Cried at Mikey’s passing. Excited for your new fella ( forgot his name ). Maybe it is not jealousy at all . . . it is just the heartstrings you pull as I read your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear “Someone” – Oh PLEASE don’t be jealous of me! There is so much to not be jealous of…. like the weeds in my garden, dust bunnies at the edge of the carpet, and don’t even think about opening my closets – what a mess! Literally – and even figuratively in some ways. We all have yukky stuff! And I remember when I began my journey into blogging over a year ago, a sweet blogger friend, Barbara, at Silver in the Barn, was one of my first “commenters” and “followers.” She is an amazing writer, gardener, and all-around human! She has tragedy in her life – like all of us – and we discussed whether or not to share it and/or how much, because believe me – there is yukky stuff I could share. She told me that blogging to her was sharing the happy and the joy – plenty of people blog to complain and “bitch” and express sorrow – which is needed as well for many. But I thought a lot about what Barbara said, and I chose to share the joy – the cherished moments “inbetween” all the “other” stuff – hopefully to inspire – but never with the intention of causing jealousy. And hopefully you just meant it in a “poetic” way… Hubby tells me I always think “too deeply” about things – 🙂 I read him your comment. He thought it was wonderful. Thank you, my “someone” friend, for taking the time to share how deeply I have touched your heartstrings. I am humbly and profoundly impacted by the time you took to share your thoughts and the beautiful expression of your words. Mostly – I had tears in my eyes – when I read that YOU cried at Mikey’s passing……. Wow! I will remember your comment for a long time and hold it close to my heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. We are slightly simpatico. I began the same kind of book right before our trip to Colorado to see the kids. Yours of course will be more sketching and painting and mine will be more writing-interesting words, quotes,happenings and arty things. Hugs to you and Marty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I, too, will add interesting words and quotes. YOU, my friend Kathleen, have so much joy to write about as you await the birth of your first grandchild! I hope you know how truly HAPPY I am for you and Jack, and cannot wait to share in the joy with you as you begin this new journey of your life! HUGS and KISSES back!


    • Yes, Lynn, it is the little things that are truly worth celebrating! You are such an inspiration with all you have been through! It is wonderful that you find joy in so much. I wish you so much more and more and more!


  9. Wow, beautiful journal, picture, and story!!! I always start on the second or third page – you know the reason. 😉 Writing also. So funny that others do that too. I think you´re pretty good at drawing, at least I like this one very much!!! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Use it or lose it | One Good Thing

  11. One more thing I need to add to my comment after reading all your wonderful posts- I LOVE a new journal! The smell, the feel – the possibilities! I’m excited to START my new book! What new memories will it hold for me? What lessons will I learn about art and life?! Where will it take me? What new friends will I make? I see a new journal as a new beginning – a new chapter in my life. And I can’t wait to fill it! ❤️🎨🌈 Cheers to new beginnings, my friend! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Beautiful journal Jodi, I understand your hesitance in beginning….. I have had sketch books in the past and always started on the second page for exactly the same reason. Although the sketch books of my past were never as sumptuous as your one.
    Happy sketching! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I knew we were soul sisters (although I’m not creative, artistic, a photographer or a cook)… I love gin too! 🙂

    P.S. I love the advice to “start on the second page”. Wouldn’t that be a great name for a blog? Just sayin’…


I love hearing from you - hope you'll drop me a line

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s