Amanda Jolley

Reflection on pattern and abstraction of the subconscious

Joy Journal Project Assignment #4

Today our journal page will revolve around a place and a story. I’ve asked you to have a picture of a place that is special to you. Mine is simply a windmill on a Kansas plain and represents my grandparents’ farm. While you are working on your assignment, reflect on why you chose this place. What makes this place special? Do you have any distinct memories attached to it? And invite your senses to the party. What does this place smell like? What do you hear? Taste? Touch? See? As you think of descriptors, jot them down on a piece of paper as you work in your journal.

To begin our project today, please gather your supplies around you: magazines, gel medium (or other glue) and brush, the picture of your place, perhaps a pair of scissors or ruler. Take a moment to sit quietly and breathe deeply. Make that moment last, relaxing your body, recalling fond memories of your place. Quiet.

And to begin, grab your magazines. Randomly cut or tear strips about 1-2″ wide from the pages of your magazine. I prefer a torn edge and find that a ruler (metal is best) works great. Just hold the ruler down an inch or so from the edge or the page, grab the corner of your page and rip right along the ruler line. For those of you who prefer a cut edge, scissors or a paper cutter work great. Please do not worry about perfect measurements or uniformity. Just eyeball it and go. After you have a nice pile of strips, work at tearing or cutting them into squares (or rectangles). When you are done, you will have a nice pile of random colors and images from your magazines.

Below, I have my magazine pieces, my gel medium, my journal and my picture.

Using the magazine squares, build a collage that mimics your picture. Rather than looking at color, look a tone and value (click here for questions on tone and value). Apply the gel medium to the back of the magazine pieces on your journal page and begin building your image. I use a junk mail magazine as a surface to apply the gel medium so as not to get the glue everywhere. In my example, I am using lots of light pieces to fill my sky, although I am using some medium tone pieces on the left where the sky is darker in the picture. You may find it helpful to sketch some shapes onto your page to build upon. I sketched the windmill and am looking for magazine pieces that have strong lines to build the legs of the windmill.

As you secure the pieces on the page, use an old gift card or credit card to remove any air bubbles or wrinkles from the paper. Press the card from the center to the edges.

If you struggle with finding the right papers, I want to let you know that we will be adding some paint to the page. This is supposed to be a representation and it is okay if it doesn’t look exactly the same.

Although most of the paper was torn, I did cut the pieces for the windmill blades. Below is my collaged image ready for the next step.

Add some paint to the page to bring a general cohesiveness. I’ve simply used cheap craft paint here with a wet brush, first adding some blue following the pattern of blue in the picture, and then adding a white over the rest of the sky. I thinned both colors just a bit with water, but also blotted my page with a paper towel when I felt the paint was too much. You do not have to paint the whole page. Here I wanted to be sure the windmill lines were strong, so I did not paint over them or the blades.

After painting, feel free to add details with pencil or pen. And now it’s time to tell your story. With the spacious Kansas sky as my background, I had plenty of room to pen a story about this place. You may not have this space on your page or may not want to add the full story. At minimum, add some of the sensory words about your place to your page. Another option is to write your story on a separate piece of paper and  glue it to your page somewhere that would fit nicely.

My page reads:

Sensory Recall { A rusty metal sculpture, turning in the wind, metal on metal, reeek, transported me back to the windmill from my grandma’s farm. Immediately I could taste the cold water served from the communal coffee can at the well. I chased the guineas and the chickens in the dusty Kansas yard. I touched the piles of fabric in grandma’s sewing room, ran my hand over her sewing machine. I smelled boiling potatoes and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen. I felt my grandma’s hug and breathed her smell in deep. She smelled like the sun.

Ah, this page brings me joy. I look forward to seeing yours! Please connect by:

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

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2 Comments on “Joy Journal Project Assignment #4”

  1. This is a beautiful spread Amanda and it is enhanced by seeing what went into it, step-by-step. I really love your technique for the windmill.

  2. Absolutely love this! Such a fantastic couple of pages. Really enjoyed seeing the development of it through the photos, too – such a transformation when you added that final layer of paint.

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