Tag: construction paper

Visual Journal Page 20: Breathe In, Breathe Out

There are many nights I lay in bed, my body exhausted, eyes heavy, and mind racing. The endless to do list scrolls through, the what did I forgets start haunting, the stress from the day just can’t seem to find a way to subside.

When I first started teaching I had many restless nights. Fear kept me awake. Fear of what the next day would bring. Fear of sleeping in. Fear of not being prepared. Fear of forgetting something. Fear of failure. Fear of my students. Many days I felt like a hoax. I had no idea what I was doing. That year, everyday was the first day for me.

My first year anxieties lessened with each passing year. I learned a lot, found projects that were reliable, and developed systems for handling my students. As my stress levels were reduced, my nights of sleep got better. However, I would still periodically have those moments where I would lay in bed, stuck in limbo, unable to pass into sleep or wake up enough to do something else. In those moments I fall back on my old restless night strategies. I would lay still and focus on my lungs. As I would breathe in I would feel my lungs expand to capacity. I would imagine the folds filling out and pressing into my other organs as they expanded. I would breathe out. My lungs would slowly collapse pushing all air out, until they were tiny, limp, and deflated. I would repeat this until I finally drifted beyond the middle into sleep.

This method has helped me through many of my most restless nights. It’s my off button for my brain. A simple strategy to put focus on my most basic body function, breathe in… breathe out…

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Scissors
  • Rubber cement
  • Black bleeding tissue paper
  • Gesso
  • Paint brush
  • Water
  • Sharpie
  • Old book pages

HOW TO

This is one of those visual journal pages that was fairly simple to create, but had a lot of impact once it was finished. It was also one of those pages that I visualized in my head before starting and it came out just as I expected, if not better, which rarely happens.

I knew I wanted to create an image of a lung. I started this journal page by looking up medical drawings of lungs to reference. I wanted to make sure it was accurate. Once I settled on an image I began thinking about the look. I had recently completed a page about a black widow (check it out here) where I used black bleeding tissue paper and gesso. I loved the look the wet gesso created on the paper. A red hue would bleed into the white gesso from the black tissue paper. I decided this would be a good material to use for this visual journal page as well.

Once I had my image, a sheet of black tissue paper, paintbrush, and gesso, I was ready. I freehanded the painting of the lungs. I started with a loose outline of the shape and went into the bigger sections first, which was the white block in the heart that expanded to the veins in the lungs. I carefully planned around sections that needed to stay black and moved from one area to the next. For the arteries of the heart I used curved lines to show the shape and to give it texture to separate it from everything else. I liked the look of the lines and decided to carry them into the spaces between the veins in the lungs to fill out the shape. I mimicked the circular tissue pattern from the original image into my painting as I moved to the bottom of the lungs. To define the esophagus I used short, hatch lines, that also curved along the contour of the shape. I decided to make it longer than I needed, just to make sure it filled the page.

As I painted each section, the color from the bleeding tissue paper would bleed into the white. I loved the look it created, it added much more interest to the color than a stark white. Once the painting was dry, I cut the shape out of the rectangular bleeding tissue paper sheet. I carefully glued it into my visual journal using rubber cement and trimmed off the excess esophagus.

I overlapped sheets of old and discolored book pages to the top with ripped out pieces of black bleeding tissue paper on top. This tied the top section to my lungs visually, while also giving me a space to write words. Even with the detailed painting, I still felt the background was lacking. I decided to cut out rounded shapes from the book pages to mimic the shape of the lungs and create a sense of movement. I glued them into the background, which helped further tie the book pages into the entire piece.

Last, but not least, I used gesso to paint the words “breathe in… breathe out…” over the ripped up tissue paper. In the sections where the words extended beyond the bleeding tissue paper, I went over the letters with black sharpie to help them stand out.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about your method to falling asleep.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the word about visual journals by following and sharing with others on your social media site of choice. Thanks for stopping by!


 

Visual Journal Page 11: Take Responsibility

Visual Journal Page 11-Take Respondsibility

It was the time of year when hot sticky summer nights transition into the cool crisp fall. It’s my favorite time of year, witnessing the changing season through every sense. The air smells crisp, the air moves from warm to cool, the leaves crunch under toe, and goosebumps come and go as the changing atmosphere tickles my skin. It was the perfect fall evening, and I decided the best way to fall asleep was to the sound of the great outdoors, with a cool breeze coming through a slightly cracked window. Or so I thought.

As I finally began to settle and felt the first drifting of dreams coming in, a low howl rose to our second story window and in through the crack. It gradually pulled me from the brink of sleep to full awake, until I could no longer focus on anything but the howl. I tried my best to ignore the sound, to cover my ears, and once again find sleep, but it kept finding a way in.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that poor dog. While it was a beautiful night, not a bad night to be sleeping outdoors, I knew exactly which dog it was, and this wasn’t the only night they would be spending outside. A sweet pup down the street, on the corner, confined to a backyard wrapped in a chain link fence. Whenever my pups and I walk past the house, we stop for a moment and visit. Tails wagging, huffing and sniffing sounds exchanged, everyone excited to see a new face. I have never walked past that house without seeing her outside. Whether it’s in the dead heat of summer or the frigid chill of winter, there the dog sits. I have never seen another human interacting with her. I have never seen another dog playing with her. She is all alone, most likely kept only to keep others out.

Why spend the money to have a dog? Why spend the money to feed a dog? Why have a dog if you aren’t going to enjoy the amazing company they can provide? If you are concerned about security, make a one time purchase of an extra bolt for your door, a fence for your yard, a sign advertising an alarm system, whether or not that system exists. Why subject a living being to a lonely existence? Even if said dog was well feed and watered (which was questionable in this situation) they are still lacking the basic need of interaction, contact with another living, breathing being.

That howl haunted me all night, until I had no choice but shut the window, and attempt to ignore the situation down the street. I wasn’t able to sleep with the window open again, the howls continued, and continued to break my heart, until one day my pups and I passed the house, paused for a visit, and she was gone, never to return again. I can only hope she was taken to a loving, happy home. We have very active neighbors who rescue stray and abused dogs in the area, and this particular situation had been a recent topic. I choose to believe my neighbor was able to take action, and rescue the sweet girl. I need to believe that in order to maintain some belief in the existence of humanity, and to be able to walk past that house everyday. At the very least, she hasn’t been replaced by another “security system” doomed to the loneliness of an empty backyard.

When you choose to own a pet you choose to be responsible for their physical and mental well being. Your animals rely on you to meet their needs. They need food, water, and play. They need love, snuggles, and kisses. They need to be pet and held as much as they need physical sustenance. There is nothing like the connection between a dog and their owner in a happy home. I would recommend it to anyone, I think my life would be a little emptier without my babies in it. As much as I give to them, they give right back in every wag of the tail and desire to be near me. But, you must take responsibility.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Tissue paper (black, blue, white)
  • Silver sharpie
  • Book page paper
  • Pencil
  • Prisma markers
  • Fine and extra fine sharpie

HOW TO

To create this visual journal page I decided to use a variety of material. Other than sharpie, I hadn’t experimented with art markers, and decided this could be a good opportunity. Living with a landscape architect husband means I have a whole separate set of art materials to test out, and his Prisma colored markers were just what I was looking for.

I decided to draw the back of my house, focusing on the left side, second story where our bedroom is. I sketched it out in pencil first, then went in with the markers. To maintain an even look, I applied one layer at a time, and always continued my lines off the page, rather than stopping in the middle, and accidentally crossing marker lines, creating a darker color where they cross. Once I filled the drawing in with color, I went back over the detail lines with an extra fine sharpie.

Once I completed my marker house, I cut it out. I decided to cut out the window of our bedroom, to emphasize the fact that it was open. To create the background I decided to layer strips of tissue paper. I love the texture it creates, and by including both blue and black, I hoped to show it was dusk, just after sunset, but before total darkness fell.

Once I glued down the strips of tissue paper and the house cut out, it felt a little empty. To add interest, I drew a tree silhouette on white tissue paper with sharpie. I carefully cut the tree out, leaving a thin white outline around the tree. I glued it to the left side of my visual journal.

To visually represent the howling, I used a silver sharpie to write “howl” all over the page. To complete the visual journal page I wrote “take responsibility” on a ripped out piece of book page, and layered it on a cut out piece of black tissue paper.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about something you want to take action on. It could be as small as helping your elderly  neighbor or solving world hunger.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the word about visual journals by sharing with others. Thanks for stopping by!


 

Visual Journal Page 2: Some Things Make Me Wonder…

Visual Journal Page 2-Some Things Make Me Wonder

I loved the book I chose as the base for this visual journal. “Early American Decoration.” The book was filled with off colored pages, interesting fonts, pictures, and had a sturdy cover and binding. I couldn’t wait to start filling the pages.

As I moved from the first page to the second, I realized two of the pages were stuck together. I immediately assumed rubber cement or Mod Podge had leaked from the previous page, causing the pages stick. As usual, I ran my fingers between the pages, expecting them to easily separate; but, they didn’t budge.

I took a closer look and realized the page was actually one large piece of paper that had been folded in half, then both edges were attached to the binding. I could see between the pages, but without ripping the pages apart, there was no way to separate them. This combined page made no sense, and served no purpose. With the exception of one other page buried towards the back of the book, every other page was your standard, single sheet, run of the mill, book page.

I had plans for this page, but had to push them back to the next one. I needed to make a visual journal page about this strange part of my book. I had to put my confusion down on paper, some things just make me wonder… why?

SUPPLIES

  • Visual Journal
  • Rubber Cement
  • Scissors
  • Book page paper
  • Magazine image
  • Gesso
  • Water
  • Paintbrush
  • Sharpie
  • Xacto knife

HOW TO

When I decided to make a visual journal page about the oddity of my book, I knew I had to emphasize the double page. To do this, I cut a rectangle out of the first page using an Xacto knife. I then flipped through magazines looking for a light bulb. I finally found this image of multiple hanging light bulbs, and knew it would be perfect. I carefully cut around the shapes using scissors and an Xacto. When I placed it inside the rectangle cut out, I realized the text competed too much with the light bulbs. To help tone down the background I painted watered down gesso inside the rectangle.

Once the gesso dried I glued the light cut out using rubber cement. To help the image flow from the left to the right, and to create a space to include words, I glued down ripped up book pages. To finish it off I added the text with sharpie.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about a situation you just couldn’t figure out. It can be as simple as a drawer that won’t hope or as complex as a relationship that just doesn’t seem to work.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help be spread the word by sharing with others. I couldn’t do it without you. Thanks for stopping by!


 

Visual Journal Page 76: The Antiques Book

Visual-Journal-Page-76-The-Antiques-Book

 

I finally reached the end of my second book. The last page was sitting there blank, waiting for the last collage, my dedication page to my book.

Since I completed my first visual journal I decided to save the last page for my book. As I work through the pages I rip things out, add them to my visual journal folder, saving them for this page. I want to make sure my book is recognized for allowing me to cover it’s pages, words, pictures, and intended purpose with my own vision. Each page is transformed from an informative text about antiques, to representations of me.

The Antiques Book served as a great backdrop to my creations, and is one of my favorite books I have worked in. It provided inspiration through the images, text, and beautifully, off colored, pages. These final images are discoveries I made as I flipped through the pages. I held onto them and collected them for a year. They have finally returned to their intended places, between the covers of this book.

Thank you… I couldn’t have done it without you…

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Scissors
  • rubber cement
  • Book pages
  • Magazine cut outs
  • Bleeding tissue paper
  • Water
  • Book page images
  • Sharpie

HOW TO

When I was planning out this visual journal page I decided to go with a simple color palate. I have always loved the look of the green bleeding tissue paper, so I decided to go with that color as the main color. I had been holding onto a few circular images from a magazine that had similar greens and yellows to the bleeding tissue paper. Once I had my colors picked out, I got to work.

First, I took a few sheets of green and yellow bleeding tissue paper, stacked them on top of each other, then dripped water on them. The green and yellow pigment bleed into each other, making a tie dye pattern. While the bleeding tissue paper was drying, I cut out the green magazine circles, and the antique images I saved from my book. I made sure to cut close to the edge on all of the images, to give it a cleaner collaged look.

I played around with placement for awhile, and decided to have the majority of the antique objects in a row towards the bottom of the page, and the elephant on the top right side of the page. I glued the green circles down first, then a strip of bleeding tissue paper, to create a space for my objects to sit. I included a green circle in the top corner of the page to help bring attention to my elephant. In addition to the green bleeding tissue paper, I also cut out a few pieces of dyed paper towels. I placed these behind the book page cutouts to help bring attention to the images.

After I got the background pieced together I added the images on top. Last, but not least, I added the words “I couldn’t have done it without you” around the elephant with sharpie.

CHALLENGE

Create a dedication page to your visual journal book. Make sure you use book pages from your book.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post and check out my blog. Help me spread the word by sharing it with others. I couldn’t do it without you. Thanks for stopping by!


 

Visual Journal Page 75: Rylie Bug

Visual-Journal-Page-75-Riley-Bug

 

July 15, 2012, baby Rylie was born. I was officially an aunt, Nick’s sister had sweet baby girl.

I will never forget the moment I first realized I was going to be an aunt. It didn’t happen when Randi announced her pregnancy, it didn’t happen when Randi began to show and came in town for her baby shower. It happened during a very casual conversation with my sister-in-law, and Randi’s sister, Stacey. We swapped our excitement for the coming baby, discussed how cute she would be, and how much we spoiled her. Out of nowhere I said, with 4 brothers and 1 sister I guess there is no competition for you for favorite aunt. As soon as the words left my mouth I paused, wait a minute… I’m married to one of the four brothers… I was also going to be an aunt…

We had a good laugh, and my excited increased just a touch. I was going to be an aunt… Aunt Whitney, it sounded good.

A few months later, Rylie-Bug came into the world. Nick and I made the hike to Kentucky as soon as we could, and for the first time in a long time I held a tiny, fragile, unbelievably adorable, two week old infant.

It’s amazing how much you can love something you don’t even know. A connection is inherently built through family. Although the same blood that runs through my veins isn’t the same as Rylie’s, she is my family. She is my family through love of her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and parents. The connection was formed through family reunions, trips to the lake, and dinner at the Panetta’s. I got to know Rylie through spending weekend after weekend getting to know my husband and his five siblings. Through seven years of time with the Panettas, 2 years of marriage to Nick, a base was being set for future family members, additions through marriages and births. As soon as I held Rylie I felt I knew her.

Although Rylie has moved from Louiseville, KY all the way to Italy, I am still Aunt Whitney. Although visits are few and far between, I still have that title, making each visit a family reunion, rather than a new meeting.

I can’t wait to watch that baby grow up. I have already witnessed her 2 year journey thus far, from snuggly infant to a sassy, energetic, and hilarious little girl. In one month she changed so much, in two years she was a transforming into a person, I can’t image what the next 10, 18, and 20 years will bring.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Book pages
  • Construction paper
  • Printed picture
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie

HOW TO

From the minute I saw this picture, that my amazing photographer sister-in-law Randi took, I was in love. This had to be the “Rylie” visual journal page picture. I decided I first needed to create a neutral, yet interesting, background. I opted to rip up pages from an older, and slightly discolored book. I glued them down layered on top of each other.

Next, I carefully cut out baby Rylie, and glued her to the left side of my visual journal. I debated various ways to write the words, and in the end decided I needed to make the words pop with a little more color. I took different shades of pink construction paper, to mirror the pink in the netting, ripped it up, and glued it down in an arc shape to fit with the picture. I placed the paper going from the lightest pink to the darkest pink.

I wrote the words on top of the pink paper, took as step back, and evaluated. Somehow, it still looked incomplete. I played around with layering black construction paper just under the words, and I liked how it tied in the black sharpie. I quickly glued it down, but was still unsatisfied. The page suddenly turned too dark. The final piece I added was another layer of ripped up book pages on top of the black paper, leaving a small edge of black. This helped tie into the background, while keeping an interesting space around my written words.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about your family. It can be a single member or an large group. Good luck and have fun!

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. Help me spread the word by sharing with others on your social networking site of choice. Thanks for stopping by!