Sunday, January 16, 2011

Laurie Doctor Journaling Demo

I attended a demo by Laurie Doctor on her journaling methods yesterday at Preston Art Center in Louisville. I had too much to do, a crowded weekend and it followed a very busy work week - so I almost didn't go. I'm glad I did. Laurie is amazing. She recites poetry as second nature. Very moving. Very appropriate to the journaling demo. Antonio Machado, Pablo Neruda, Jorge Luis Borges, William Stafford. It was as if she'd written them herself, they were spoken with such inner knowledge. Her journals, which I'd pored over at an exhibit a couple of years ago, are wonderful works - personal yet everyman's at the same time. Her techniques pull you in, make you want to read every word, yet you feel as though they are personal and you should not pry. It was an overflow crowd - probably more than 20 people crowded around the tables...more chairs had to be brought in, and another table. Each art-loving attendee had a wonderful personal story and reason to be there. We ran way overtime, testament to how interesting the discussion and demo was.

I have no photos to share, but I urge you to look her up. I can share with you a bit of her philosophy. I wanted to call her "The Five Minute Doctor" because many times she urged that we dedicate five minutes a day to journaling. She said everyone could devote five minutes to temenos (Greek - a sacred place, a sacred time.) She has some wonderful large journals...each page an exciting discovery. One thing she does is take her scrap pieces (always on 'good paper') and makes journals from many disparate works - adding to them once they are in the journals. Having these pre-worked pieces as pages takes away the 'blank page' preciousness. It also makes them very interesting to peruse. She has small notebooks which she calls her 'line a day' journals. She commits herself to just one line a day (of course if more lines come, that's okay too.) Just saying you will devote five minutes or promise to write one line every day breaks the scary big thing into un-scary pieces.

That said, I intended to begin anew today. I have painted papers ready for lettering, for some wonderful piece of work (right!) Instead, I babysat. (It's okay. My grandson is the light of my life, and renews me in unartistic ways.) I did write more than a line in my journal, and now many more in this, my online journal. I am so pumped up by the interlude yesterday with like-minded people. My crazy-busy work week was put into proper perspective by this artistic renewal. It was great to see a few calligraphy friends again, and to see Laurie again. I've taken her workshops more than once, and highly recommend both hers and her husband Steve Skaggs' workshops. I wish I could attend their workshop in Italy this summer. THAT would be fun! Any donors available? : )


  1. Yes! Laurie is a most amazing and inspiring artist. When we win the lottery we shall both escape Italy. Sandy

  2. I had it on my calendar to go, then got too lazy to spend two hours in the car for the round trip. But I just drool every time I see her journals. I am so inspired. I keep thinking LAR or Bound & Lettered should have a feature story on just her journals. Words don't describe them. So sorry I missed a chance to sit next to you!!

  3. Wonderful post Jan! I want to participate in the Sketchbook Challenge, but I keep allowing other things to interfere. This post motivates me...

  4. I adore Laurie Doctor - studied with her a long time ago at Ghost Ranch. I could listen to her tell stories all day long. And her calligraphy. Oh my....

  5. Received this sweet message from Laurie:
    Hello Jan!

    I came across your blog by accident, my revived hard drive must have led me there! Thank you for your enthusiasm, and making the trip across the

    I have spent the last hour or so trying to post a comment to your blog, but it won't accept my wordpress address- it keeps getting weird characters- and even though I have an ID, I have not yet created my blog. You have inspired
    me to figure this out!

    I appreciate your generosity.