When I am working on art projects I often have paint or ink that I don't want to waste so I will open my art journal and use it on a random page. This affords me the opportunity to see if I can marry the facing pages to one another. Sometimes it doesn't work out, but often I can find a way to carry the colors or themes across both pages. Reading Randel Plowman 's book "The Collage Workbook" inspired me to try making a word collage. How wonderful to find that I had words in my collection in the colors from the facing page. This color scheme happened by accident. The right hand page had been gessoed, and one day I added the aqua/turquoise paint. Another day I was testing out two handmade stamps I had created with fun foam, so I stamped the violet paint onto the page. Yet another day I was using my new Adirondack inks on something and "stamped" the wet stencil onto the same page. All very random, and yet it ended up yielding a color combo I probably would not have thought of but I really like.
I often wonder what my art journal is for. I play around, try new materials or techniques etc. but when I am working in the journal I often wonder if I am wasting my time. I make "pretty" pictures and imitate other artists. I'd like to see my journal leading me toward the development of bigger more finished/polished art pieces, but so far that hasn't happened. I suppose at the moment my art journal just serves as a place to work in that creative mental state. So much about practicing art is a matter of faith. I have to have faith that the practice moments, the moments that don't lead to a fully formed art project, are just as valid and important as working on something more concrete. When you are an artist that works full time at a non creative day job, it is easy to feel like your precious and rare art time is wasted if you are not working on a "real" project. Just screwing around feels like wasted time. I have to have faith that all this screwing around is teaching me something even if I don't realize that I am learning.