Quest for the process: Process art and using the philosophy in an art journal spread

While researching the various art movements through the centuries, I came upon the concept of process art.

“Process art is an artistic movement as well as a creative sentiment where the end product of art and craft, the objet d’art (work of art/found object), is not the principal focus. The ‘process’ in process art refers to the process of the formation of art: the gathering, sorting, collating, associating, patterning, and moreover the initiation of actions and proceedings. Process art is concerned with the actual doing and how actions can be defined as an actual work of art; seeing the art as pure human expression. Process art often entails an inherent motivation, rationale, and intentionality. Therefore, art is viewed as a creative journey or process, rather than as a deliverable or end product.” Wikipedia

Process art - MandalaSable2008-05

The creation of a mandala is a form of process art. Mandalas created with colored sand are an exercise in meditation and mindfulness. The main point is the process – the end result is ephemeral – here today, gone tomorrow.

While you could argue that process art is far removed from art journaling, this statement perfectly encapsulates what art journaling means to me. An art journal {in fact, even art} is really not about the end result. It is about the process.

If you’re doing collage, it’s all about gathering together papers in different colors, looking for a balance of line and texture, examining the pieces to make sure the colors compliment each other.

When you start painting, it’s about intentionally choosing a palette of colors, or allowing your intuition to guide you if you decide to create an intuitive painting.

When it comes to art journaling, it’s about the process of making some time and space for yourself. Putting pen to paper and writing your thoughts down as the first layer, if you wish. Of allowing your emotions to lead you to your color choices.

To me, art journaling is less about the end result and more about the practice; and the healing and transformation that a simple creative practice can bring to your life.

Now, I will admit that the art also became important to me, personally, quite early on in my journey. And for that, considering I started from cannot-draw-stick-figure-to-save-my-life, I invested in art books and courses, I spent hours watching videos and sitting at the table drawing. I have sketch books with holes torn through the pages from too much erasing or scribbling in frustration. But at no point did I give up. That also is the essence of process art, is it not?

And this is the reason why I always say that anyone can paint; that we are all artists and creators; that art heals; that art journaling is a gift that keeps on giving.

What do you think?

Feel like you’d like to give this a try? My Art Journaling 101 ebook will help. Sign up for my monthly newsletter Gypsy Wanderings to download it for free.

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  1. Art jounaling is so soothing. I miss doing it now as I am not finding enough time these days. To paint without the worry of end result can be very therapeutic.

    • Yes, it can be therapeutic!! And you can art journal in even 5-10 mins a day. That’s how I do it during hot, sweltering Delhi summers!

  2. I have always admired the beauty that lies in the Mandalas, never knew the purpose was for meditation and mindfulness. For that matter, yes, all forms of art and creation are a food for the mind.

    • Yes! They are. So mandalas are meditation and mindfulness, and they speak to the concept of art as devotion. Maybe I should write some more about that soon!

  3. I have made many quilts in my life (I am making two now). The end result is a by-product. My joy is in the process. the choosing of the pattern. The selection of fabrics. The interplay of color. The precision of stitching. And the joy of giving it away.
    Thank you for you passion for your art and the joy you take in its process.

    • Oh yes! I would imagine all of these come into play when making quilts too. There’s so much joy in piecing together fabrics and colors and patterns and putting it all together. The very act is meditative too!

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