Visual Journals

Can I just teach a visual journal class? How incredible would it be to just sit down every day, open up a book of your choice and make art inspired by anything you can think of? All contained inside something you can easily carry with you and made of paper that can withstand various materials. Ugh, dream job. Maybe one day?

In high school, a wonderful woman introduced visual journals to me: Libba Willcox. We had a prompt at the beginning of class each day. Sometimes, when things were going well and if the majority of us were invested in whatever page we were working on, it became the class period. We pushed the assignment to the side and continued to journal. It wasn’t until much later that I realized how important this process became to me. Just the idea of literally taking your thoughts and turning them into tangible “feels,” as my friend Nicole likes to call them.

Since I plan to teach secondary art education, I feel as though visual journals will be a large part of my focus. I decided that perhaps instead of prompts that are questions, I may use prompts that are statements, quotes, song lyrics and then request a page be created in response to it. Here are some of the quotes I have collected:

“Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we’re quoting.”
-John Greene

“One only sees well with the heart. The most important things are invisible to the eyes.”
– The Little Prince

“I must learn to love the fool in me: the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries.”
–Theodore Isaac Rubin.

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
–Shel Silverstien

“Close your eyes. Clear your heart. Let it go.”

“Be daring, be different, be impractical. Be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”
– Cecil Beaton

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