Try to restrain yourself

Quick collage book: Buddha

Trying to restrain yourself is hard if you ask me. I’m a maximalist, not a minimalist.

I like clutter (but not the dust that lives between everything). I like lots of choices (but not having to go out to buy that one extra thing not in my stash). I like filling a journal page to the brim (but prefer if the books is closable when full). I never leave blank pages or white space in my notebooks.

Quick collage book: yellow

But of course I am also fascinated with that that I don’t do myself. White, pristine, spacious with lots of breathing room both in art and interior design. So I’m challenging myself with a new collage notebook. A small one, for tiny expressions.

It’s a white spiral bound notebook that I made myself, of the same model as the pink collecting notebook.

The idea for this small notebook (from Sarah’s book Painted pages) is to use those small scraps leftover from other collages. A quick little composition, without hesitation. Just do it! I find it hard to add just 2 or 3 pieces of paper – but I try to restrain myself! It’s a good exercise, one that I need to practice a lot.

Quick collage book: koala stamp
Half of these bits would’ve been enough!

Michelle Ward, on Crusade no 61 Restraining Order, writes:

Create a journal page that has minimal elements, less clutter, and more breathing room. I’m not saying that less is better than more; I’m simply asking you to try it. As we know, there are no rules when it comes to visual journaling.

Quick collage book

I really enjoy this kind of technique exercises. It’s good to take on creative challenges every now and then. And I’ve got plenty of pages in this little book to (not!) fill. I hope you have some kind of notebook you’re playing in too.

31 Responses

  1. oo, i love this! i’m the exact same way – filling the pages with color and depth, but being enchanted by breathing, airy, white pages.. thanks for the inspiration, lovely! i’m going to give this a try.

    • Oh thanks Ingrid, both for the sweet words and your tweet about this! :-) Let me know what restrained things you come up with in your lovely journal!

  2. It’s definitely a way to challenge yourself! I often feel in between the two extremes as well… I like to say that I like my space not too messy, not too neat. It’s like Goldilocks… finding what is “just right.” :)

  3. I have to try this too! I’m not a maximalist, not as such, but I have the habit of not stopping in time. I keep on honing and tweaking and often for far too long, and eventually the piece I’m working on doesn’t breathe anymore.

    That’s what I love about your restrained collages: they breathe. The white frame of the uncovered page allows room for the imagination and feelings to soar. A whole book/journal of these. That would be a treat!

  4. I lvoe these! And, I have to admit, that I could benefit from doing this as well…and I think I just might! Like you, I seem bent on filling up that page….no white for me! And, yet, I could use that white, that bit of breathing space.

  5. I love these quick collage pieces framed by white. They are totally perfect!

  6. Just the post I needed to go with my newly acquired journal. It will be just right for minimalist collages. Something I have been wanting to do for a while now. I admire the restraint that is somehow complex too.

  7. Hanna, love these! Such sweet little compositions. Love that they are created from the remnants of other work. The white looks so clean and neat, and directs attention to the colors and patterns at center stage. I like what you said about being interested in things you don’y usually do. Fun to try on another approach just to see how it fits, right? Thanks for sharing with the team!! And thanks for the postcard…arrived today!

  8. This is great–I see the binding as trachea to let in air to the pages that are lungs! OK, so I’m weird that way. But I love minimalism. And I love your collages that are still unified. And I thought Michelle was done with the Crusades, so now I’m doubly glad!

  9. I have been a lurker here for soooo long. I thought it was time to tell you how much i LOVE your art, your spirit, and your blog. thanks for being here! Jan

  10. I love this kind of posts, when you write about yourself and what art is teaching you about yourself :)
    I know to be a minimalist. I’m an essential girl, I strongly believe in “less is more” diktat.
    But I noticed that I’m like you an a little detail: I can’t leave empty spaces when I draw. I have to fill the page with a lot of little details to be satisfied. I think I’m ill of a sort of “horror vacui” :)

  11. Wow, Hanna! We’re so much alike when I read your first paragraph. I really don’t know if I can live with such a minimalist approach. I think I’d feel anxious leaving that much white space in my own journal! LOL Having said that, there’s something very zen and calming when I look at your pages. I love them. Maybe I’ll be brave enough to give it a try :o)

  12. Very cool! I decided I needed a whole book for the previous crusade, so I love seeing that someone else started a whole book for a crusade too! I like your small clusters of images on your pages, they’re kind of nicely focused on their few elements. If that makes sense. Great work!

  13. I read this at the perfect time. I have a new smaller notebook and have been toying with a couple of ideas of how to fill it and use it for bits and pieces I collect for inspiration. This idea is perfect! Then I don’t have to totally fill all around the ‘inspiration’ piece, but still have the pleasure of creating a little treasure of a composition AND use up my stacks of bits and pieces. Genius. Thanks!

  14. Wow! You sure made a great job of minimalising. Love these pages.
    I always enjoy my “end of month, and the newspaper’s finished blog cruise ‘n comment” time. It’s been lovely to meet you and your work via the Crusades. Thanks for sharing what you do with everyone. May the rest of 2012 be filled with creative happiness for you.

  15. What a wonderful idea, I think I might try it myself. I too struggle with white space, but looking at yours is just a pleasure. I think we enjoy simplicity in others’ work, but struggle for it in our own. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. Hanna, you are as cool as ever! I love your pages and I love even more how you created an entire book to practice this. The centers are still colorful Hanna but the pages are a whole new feel…
    I spy an Australian stamp that I also received from your postcard swap! That gave me such a smile…
    Best wishes from your old pal, tj

  17. Lovely work – I love your white space. I also keep a little sketch book for mini collages using left over bits and pieces, but quite often end up cutting them up or pulling bits off at a later date to use them for new ideas! Your work is very inspiring and and I love your use of colour. Thank you for sharing.

  18. How cool is that! Simple yet endearing. Great collages, great work on doing the minimum. I found that I had the chance to check out your lovely way of collage that perhaps I otherwise would not have been aware of. Thanks for sharing with us.

  19. These are nice. Very different from your other work. It’s good to push yourself in new directions even if you decide that minimalism isn’t for you!

  20. Hanna! Your sense of color always takes the prize for me! But this has been a bit eye-opening for me because, when I think of keeping things minimal, I tend to think of the central part of the work being left open. However, I’m enjoying your take on this challenge. The open space around the collaging really frame them well and give the viewer breathing room!

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