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.

Except…

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.

A 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.

SCORE!

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,
Jodi