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Over the last ten years, as I have been travelling around with my family and working in different communities, I have been keeping a series of visual journals, I have been using those 9"x12" black hardcover sketchbooks. Each one is--I'm not sure--a couple of hundred pages. They seem to take me about a year or two (closer to two) to fill each journal. My goal is to turn each page into a work of art. I have used any combination of media--drawing, painting, printmaking, collage. Most start as  pen and ink drawings, many evolving beyond. The pages are more or less, but not entirely chronologincal, as I often skip pages (mainly for superstitious reasons) or go back and rework images until I like them. Often pages lay fallow for months before I go back to them, 

 

In the earlier journals, there is a lot more writing, and in the later ones more images, though throughout, the images, especially drawings, are predominant, These are really journals, not sketchbooks, although they contain many sketches. The difference being their function, which is that I view a sketchbook as being a place to collect sketches. Instead, what I am trying to do is work through ideas--to see where the ideas take themselves. Also, they serve as memory and idea storage--reference books for ideas. I go back through my journals from time to time. I will work back and forth through a journal, until it is complete. Complete is not the same as full. They are usually not complete until long after they are full. Once they are complete, I generally will not go back and make any more changes, although it is not out of the question


I work in these books daily, so I have probably filled about 1,000 pages, altogether. My plan is to add a few pages every few days. I don't know how long it will take to add all I have, or if I will ever catch up, but suffice to say, it will take a while.


The first book I have started posting is from 2003-04, the year Cindy, the kids and I spent in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT. The general tone of the year for me was one of adventure excitement and culture shock. It was a great time for us, breaking away from the city and all of the conveniences and assumptions I had lived with for so many years. For example, Cindy asked me to pick up some celery for caribou stew. I bought it without asking the price, and it was $9.80. I taped that receipt onto one page. 


More about this later