Amanda Jolley

Reflection on pattern and abstraction of the subconscious

Joy Journal Project Assignment #9

The power of appreciation is often overlooked. Over time and life, our brains are typically trained to remember things that make an impact, both good and bad, but learning to dwell on moments of appreciation and gratitude takes intention. The good news is we can retrain our brains to remember stories of appreciation and joy. These memories can not only bring a more joyful approach to each day, but they can also help us to cope with times of overwhelm and difficulty.

Our homework this month has to do with recalling a moment of appreciation that has happened since the beginning of the year. This moment can involve a person, an experience, or a place. It can be seemingly insignificant or quite enormous. I’ve asked that you either write about this appreciation moment or tell another person about this moment. If you haven’t done so yet, this is your beginning point. Also, give the moment a name. Naming your moment can help you to recall it more easily, and making an art journal page will secure it even deeper in your brain.

I’ve shared my moment with those signed up for the mailing list, but for the rest of you, here it is (if you’d like to receive email notifications about assignments, go here) :

Quesadilla: Many of you know that I am back to school. I’m taking prerequisites for a Masters in Art Therapy degree. I haven’t taken college classes since 1990, so this really is a brave new world for me. Now, 2 of the 3 classes I am taking are during my lunch hour, and eating is a really big deal to me. If I don’t eat well and often, my brain shuts off completely. The first week of school, my dear husband made me the most scrumptious quesadillas before each class so that my brain would be able to function during class. Since then, I’ve gotten my schedule figured out and have had plenty of time to feed myself, but that first week, those quesadillas were such a blessing to me.

And now to seal that memory for continued appreciation.

This assignment we will begin with collage. Cover your page layout with scraps using gel medium as glue. I use an old magazine or catalog as a glueing surface so I don’t get my page all sticky. Just apply gel medium to the back of the scraps with a brush, press onto the page securely and use a plastic card or something similar to scrape from the center to the edges of the paper scrap. This will remove any air bubbles caught underneath the paper as well as reveal where the piece may not be securely attached. If you need to add a bit more glue under a corner, just peel it back and brush a bit more on then scrape with the card again.

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Continue until your page is filled.


Next cover the collage with a thin layer of acrylic paint. Either wet the brush down to thin your paint or use a paint that is less opaque. Here I used a favorite of mine, Golden Fluid Acrylic in Quinacridone/Nickel Azo Gold.


I wanted to mute the color a bit, so I added another layer of fluid acrylic paint, an off-white color, and blotted it with a paper towel so remove excess. Feel free to use as many colors as you’d like, being aware that a thinner paint allows hints of the images beneath to reveal themselves.

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Now we have a platform to tell our appreciation story. If you’d like, use more collage elements to tell your story, Write the story out if you’d like. Use more doodles and words like we did for assignment #8 if this would add to your story. I am taking a drawing class right now, so decided to challenge myself with a 5 minute sketch of my subjects, my husband and a quesadilla, which I cut out and added to my page with gel medium. If you would like to try this but you are hearing “but I can’t draw” in your brain, just give it a shot. I’ll have you know that my husband doesn’t really look much like the drawing, but I know who it is meant to be and that brings me joy.

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To add color to my drawing, I used Caran D’Ache Neocolor II watersoluble crayons. No matter what form you use to tell your story, you can add color with these crayons and either use water or leave them in “crayon” form.


To add more color to the page, I am adding a border using the crayon as well. Another way to incorporate the crayon onto the page is to paint the crayon with a bit of white gesso on the brush. This makes the color more opaque. Since I am desiring texture, after spreading some color in this manner, I blotted some away to leave a more patchy look. Leaving the color smooth is also a nice effect.

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And then just keep pressing in with details. I’ve decided to add words using a waterproof pen, write some of my story, and add more splashes of color. And of course, I had to use some of my other favorite journaling tools, gel pens and oil pastels.

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And when you feel your story has been told, you are done.


Please share what your story and page. You can either:

  • leave a comment with a link to your blog post  -OR-
  • join the facebook group to share photos and stories


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