Visual Journal

It is becoming more obvious to me that my return to a visual journey, aka my circuitous journey,  should involve ideas, media, and processes familiar to me.  Places where I feel comfortable, at first, but then propel me to try something new.  I have a long history of enjoying the collage process.  When I was just out of high school and beginning my art study in college,  my brother was drafted into the US Army.  He was deployed to Viet Nam.  It was a scary time for our family.  Long before email and cell phones, the only way to communicate was through letters.  I wrote letters, drew pictures,  cut out magazine pictures and words, collaged it all together, and hoped it would bring some enjoyment to my brother during his tour of duty.  They looked something like a kidnapper’s ransom note, but were just more fun to read than my scribbly handwriting.  Later in my artistic development I remember taking photographs of things in my kitchen.  The first photo was a colander filled and overflowing with tomatoes and the second was a shot of my yogurt maker with its neat white glass jars and plastic lids.  I enlarged the photos, did a value separation, and cut beautiful matte pieces of colored papers to collage the image into a large format.  My husband framed them using an ingenious system he created which covered the image and what would traditionally be the mat area around the piece with plexiglass.  He attached boards to the backs and screwed the four corners together.  The clear mat was really neat.  I think I actually sold both of the pieces, or possibly gave one as a wedding gift.  Throughout my teaching career many collage projects found their way into my curriculum.  I still loved looking for interesting textures, colors, and shapes and rearranging them into something new and different.

Our son is getting married this summer.  He and his girlfriend are presently looking into wedding invitations.  I had suggested a while back that they check out a friend’s website. She creates custom invites.  The woman also happens to have been a student teacher who I mentored, and also a former student in a high school art class taught by my husband.  She received a BFA in printmaking and then returned to school to become certified to teach.  I loved working with her and knew she would become a great art teacher.  She was hired to replace me when I retired.  After contacting her about the invitations, I was browsing through her many websites and landed on a page explaining a new class she was teaching called Visual Journal.  Visual Learning: New blog! | It was proposed as an introductory art class.  What a terrific idea.  Get the students to consciously use the design principles, experiment with media and techniques and also infuse the work with personal thoughts and experiences.  I LOVED this idea.  When I did a google image search on the words ‘visual journal’ as she suggested, a wealth of beautiful pages came forth.  I immediately responded to the images and knew that this would help me connect the written blog to my sketchbook.  I purchased two books: and to help me create a more layered look and feel to my work.  Last night, while sitting in bed I ignored the TV and cut, pasted and drew two pages in my book.  I managed to get clippings everywhere and even got black permanent marker on my sheets.  So happy with my resulting art, I didn’t even mind the mess.  This is highly unusual for me, who prefers things to be organized and in their place.  For some reason my art room never quite got to that point.  I’ll blame that on the students, even though I was a big part of the problem.

Anyway, today my husband helped me bring a small drafting table up from the basement into the sun room.  The idea of drawing and working in real light is exciting.  We have a long history of living in spaces with bad lighting.  This house is no exception.  Even though a nice bright light was hung over my table in the basement, I just couldn’t force myself to sit down there where no windows existed in the space.  I look forward to working in the new space and in a new light- pun intended.  Now if the cats will only stay off the table.

About circuitousjourney

Retired Art Teacher
This entry was posted in Cats, collage, Time for Art. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Visual Journal

  1. Melissa says:

    Oooh Jane! I love your cat-llages! And the Creative Illustration Workshop book looks fantastic! Have to put that on the order for next year!
    I love to hear about what you’re making… from food to artwork! And I wouldn’t be the teacher I am today without you. =)

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