If you are like me, I saw artist's working in junk journals, and wondered the big question-WHY? Nothing about the junk journals are archival, who knows how long they will last? You can't sell each individual painting if you create one you really like.
I started creating junk journals anyway! I gesso over any kind of junk mail we get. I paint on the pages of books I create from junk mail envelopes and card stock type materials.
And here's what I've learned...
When you are not worrying about the expense of good art materials, you gain a freedom in expression. It does not matter what you paint! You begin to paint for the pure joy of painting.
You do not care how it "turns out". You do not worry if it "works" or not. Because there's always another batch of junk mail coming in. You can make another book and fill it up with ideas!
As you practice over and over you gain experience and knowledge about yourself and what you really like to paint. You get very comfortable inside your artist "skin".
I've also got completely away from using reference photos, I was always a slave to those photos. I think artwork created directly from your heart is so much more "artsy". I love being able to sit at my art table and do nothing more than react to each color or brushstroke. Just sit there working and let one idea flow from another. It frees your mind in a way that creates a type of euphoria and let's the world float away.
In my journals, I make my own gesso, I use house paint if I feel like it, I try out the cheaper brands of gel mediums, I experiment making my own texture pastes. I glue paper to pages, I paint over it, I try anything I feel like doing. Because it just doesn't matter! I'm not trying to create a work of art, in which I use archival, expensive materials trying to have something a collector would buy that would last a lifetime and more.
I'm having so much fun, my archival materials are collecting dust! When I decide now to dig out my watercolor paper and archival paints, I create something totally different than what I used to create, but I feel like it's something that is really "me" and I love it!