I have not always kept everything I have made. I can remember a particular mixed media class I took. I walked away with three pieces of art, all of which I ended up eventually disposing of. I am not sure if this was the best decision, but I am just not a keeper of things that feel like they are weighing me down. And those pieces felt that way.
When I say "weighing me down" what I mean is when stuff feels like it serves no real purpose but rather is just collected clutter. These art pieces did not mean much to me because though I made them, they were made so intent on duplicating the art teacher's style that they never really felt like mine. They felt like his work through me, like an apprentice of sorts. They weren't to his level of mastery, but they were closer to him and his style than mine and my style. So I parted ways with them, quite happily.
Contrast that to my old art journals which I have been sharing on my blog. The pages inside them are not all of high artistic value, in the sense that I believe the paintings I made in the aforementioned art class were more "accomplished" in visual art techniques than these early art journal pages are. BUT, these art journal pages are mine. They are me being me, unfiltered. They are me after a particular purpose that stirred inside of me. They have my voice and my style woven into them and so though some of the pages are all written words (you can read more about that by clicking on the Facebook conversation above) I feel like there is much more in them for me to study and learn from than there was in my completed paintings from art class.
I have decided to share them because I want to walk myself back through the pages to see what younger artist me was rubbing up against. I'm not so much concerned with the details of what I was writing about, although some of that is interesting, but also about the bigger picture ideas I was moving through and how I was using creativity to help me do this. I'm trying to study the art journal as an art medium, and see why I feel so passionately towards it and how I might be able to teach it as a tool towards listening to and believing in yourself.
So these old art journals are like gold to me. Or like dinosaur bones that I'm brushing dirt off of to better understand what the whole skeleton looks like. And I am so proud of myself for keeping them, so I can look back on them and learn from the "text books" I myself wrote.