Month: December 2012

Visual Journal Page 22: Happy Accidents


Accidents are an inevitable part of everyone’s life. Whether the accident involves cars, glasses of milk, or mysterious moving tables, they are always waiting just around the corner. In my twenty-six years of life I have witnessed quite a few accidents and I have noticed some people seem to find accidents more easily than others, and I fit in the more easily than others category.

I hate to admit it, but I am clumsy. Grace is not one of my descriptors, and I blame it on my impatience. I like to get things done quickly, and to do this I have to ignore small details, such as table corners, and each and every step in a set of stairs. In addition to my already clumsy nature, I also bruise very easily, which isn’t a winning combination. I am constantly riddled with bruises, bumps, and scraps, I worry people think I am anemic or being abused.

Walking can sometimes be a task, I trip over slightly uneven pavement, cracks, and roots. I wish my feet and my eyes would work better together. My only hope is that some innocent bystander gets a chuckle out of my trips, stumbles, and falls. I can imagine them walking behind me, taking in the show of my flailing arms, and my quick crowd assessment afterwards to see if there were any witnesses. I know I have had my fair share of chuckles on other people’s part, I tell myself I am simply returning the favor.

I warn my students from the beginning. If they fall in class, I will laugh first, and then ask if they are okay. They know what they are getting themselves into when they attend my class.

In addition to the physical damage I unintentionally cause myself, my impatience and clumsiness also affects my art and projects in general. I want to get things done, and I want them done now. This means in my haste I am continuously dropping paintbrushes, screws, hammers, tape, glue, or whatever I am currently using. This also means my art bag is loaded with random pens, scraps of paper, and other miscellaneous junk, which I randomly shove in with plans to use it later.

Which brings me to the story of this page, the bleeding tissue paper incident.

I was trying to get everything packed up quickly. It was a Friday, and I was wasting little time getting out the door and on the road home. I had grand plans of great production over the weekend, I knew many journal pages would be created. In addition to my planner, visual journal, magazines, scissors, water bottle, glue,  and book pages, I also added a large stack of bleeding tissue paper. I had visions of beautiful pages being formed from the tissue paper I carefully selected for my weekend project.

Combining the water bottle and tissue paper is where I went wrong. Really, the not tightly screwed on lid of the water bottle is where I went wrong, but my impatience doesn’t allow for those details.

As I gathered my things and headed inside I realized my art bag had a large, damp area on the bottom. I quickly set my things down, and began to inspect the damage. To my relief my journal was water free, but as I moved closer to the bottom of the bag, I realized my beautiful tissue paper was ruined. The water created a large splatter right in the center, and the colors of the layers melted together, and into the fabric of my bag. My bag was a mess, my visual journal plans were done, my bleeding tissue page would not be complete this weekend.

Or so I thought.

I carefully laid the sheets out to dry, thinking I could salvage the edges, if nothing else. I later returned to them, and took a closer look. They were actually beautiful. Interesting shades of gray with hints of the former color swirled in the center of the blues, pinks, and purples. Without knowing what I would do with them I carefully cut out each water stain. As I layered the accidental works of art together inspiration began rolling in.

From time to time when I bump my knee, trip over an invisible step, or accidentally spill even more paint, I have to remind myself, you never know what may come from even the worst accidents.


  • Visual Journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Bleeding tissue paper
  • Water
  • Masking tape
  • Sharpie


This page was an accidental work of art. I took an unfortunate accident, which caused quite a mess, and turned it into a visual journal page. If I were to recreate it I would stack a few layers of different colored tissue paper, pour water on top, and allow them to dry. By doing this you are causing the colors from the various layers to bleed into each other and create a tie dye look. Since this accident I have used this technique many times. I love the way the colors come together, and I love the semi-transparency of tissue paper when it is glued on top of words.

Once I had my tissue paper shapes cut out, I played with the layout. I decided the shapes weren’t enough, I wanted something else in the page. In the past I had used strips of masking tape to highlight areas, and decided it would work well in this page. It was a neutral color, and wouldn’t compete with the already colorful shapes scattered around the page. I also liked the contrast of the organic blobs with the geometric lines the tape created.

I switched between gluing tissue paper, and laying down the tape, until they were intertwined and overlapping. Once I was satisfied with the layout I added the words with sharpie.


Have your own happy accident and experiment with layering bleeding tissue paper and adding water. Try to return to your art class days and consider the color wheel. Complimentary colors will create browns and grays (blue/orange, red/green, purple/yellow) while primary colors will create secondary colors and nice blends (red/yellow=orange, blue/red=purple, yellow/blue=green). I also like to mix tertiary colors, or colors next to each other on the color wheel (yellow/green, red/orange, blue/green, blue/purple, etc.). Have fun and enjoy some color theory!

Visual Journal Page 21: Field Trips and Flying Cats


The High Museum of Art is an Atlanta staple for me. As a child it was a place I frequented with my family, which helped mold my artistic taste and encourage my artistic pursuits and obsessions. As this museum has watched me develop from a child into an adult, I too have watched it through it’s growing pains from a single building, it’s slow stretch across a plaza, an into a space twice a large, to bring us even more amazing artwork to feed our souls.

I discovered new favorites with every exhibit and even hidden treasures within images I had seen countless times. The High Museum is at least an annual visit for me, and I look forward to what I will find next every time I go.

As an art teacher I long to take my students into the city, up the winding ramp of the museum, to share actual, in front of their faces, physical works of art. Unfortunately, with a country in recession, these “frivolous extras” are no longer viewed as needed, and I am forced to come up with alternatives to museum visits. Despite this, my fellow art teacher, Morgan, and I were determined to get a group of students to a museum at some point that year.

Our initial goal was to take our advanced art classes on a museum visit before the end of the first semester. After looking into bus booking, tracking down substitutes, and administrative approval, we quickly discovered there wasn’t enough time to pull it together. Plan B was to find a way to get our art club together an upcoming weekend, which meant giving up a Saturday to chaperone students at a museum, but it was something we felt the students needed.

Our weekly art club meeting rolled around, and we excitedly presented our grand plan: We would all meet at the High Museum of Art on this particular Saturday to enjoy the surrealist creations of Salvador Dali. We were going to get these kids out of their small town bubble, into the big city, and fill their souls with art. Going into our grand presentation we were worried about the number of students we would have, how we would handle them all between the two of us, what kind of crowds we would be dealing with on a Saturday in downtown Atlanta, but it turned out we didn’t have much to worry about.

We didn’t really consider the logistics of how the students would get there. We naively assumed their parents would be more than happy and willing to drive the kids to a day of learning, to help their children expand their knowledge and cultural understanding of the world. But, many parents in our district work weekends, only have one car, have multiple children, and didn’t have the time or means to transport their child to the big city.

Our grand plan museum visit turned into a small gathering of Morgan and I, plus six seniors and one junior. As much as I wanted to have more students attend, I was okay with the small group. The kids who were truly passionate about art found their way there and we enjoyed good discussions and amazing sculpture and paintings. Because it was such a small crew, once we we were about to bust at the seams from the incredible images, we ate lunch together in Little Five Points before parting ways.

I may have sacrificed a much needed Saturday, and break from teaching, but I was able to see another side of my students, I got to see my kids outside of their school bubble, in the real world. I have to say, what I saw and heard was impressive. They were as touched by the range images, from flying cats, to deeply religious paintings, as I was. The depth of their comparisons and discussions truly surprised me. My audio tour headphones ended up around my neck, barely listened to, as I roamed through the rooms, eavesdropping, catching sentences here, and words there, my students’ impressions, which were far more interesting than a prerecorded history lesson.

Later that year Morgan and I did get the chance to take our classes to the Georgia Museum of Art, over fifty high school students flooded the halls of Lamar Dodd and the museum. But nothing beats my Saturday, with my small bunch of kids, spending a day with Dali.


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Magazine images
  • India ink
  • Paintbrush
  • Laser printed image
  • Packaging tape
  • Water
  • Museum tour sticker
  • Museum brochure


For this visual journal page I was determined to create my own surrealist image, to reference our day spent inside a surrealist’s mind. Because the actual High Museum building is such an iconic and nostalgic image for me, I made sure to include it in the page, and that was where I started. I began by lightly drawing the museum in the center of the page. Once it was drawn out, I took India ink and painted in the lines, and filled in the windows and shadows. My mom gave me a tip awhile ago, that I constantly rely on when drawing and painting buildings, if you use a ruler to make one line straight, you have to use a ruler for the entire thing. But, if all the lines are slightly off, they will come together and work as a whole. I rarely use a ruler when drawing or painting.

Once the museum building was set I moved on to my sky. I ripped up pieces of blue from magazines and glued them down. I also took pieces of yellows and oranges, and did tape transfers of them (to read how to create the semi-transparent look of a tape transfer go here) and layered them over and in between the blue strips.

From there I moved the the middle and foreground. I knew I wanted to include and image of Dali, and his iconic mustache, and I found the perfect image in one of the High Museum brochures. I cut it out and glued it down. I also wanted to include images from his artwork, and I proceeded to print image after image, do a few more tape transfers, and play around with the placement until I was satisfied. Because there were so many different images, it took awhile for me to get everything to work together. Remember, it’s better to lay everything out first, and then start gluing down to avoid ending up with an unsuccessful collage you can no longer move around.

Once everything was set I realized I didn’t have space for our group picture, which I planned on including. Everywhere I place it, it became overwhelmed by it’s surroundings. Finally, as a last resort I placed it on top of the museum building, thinking to myself, this will never work, it makes no sense, this is a ridiculous spot. But, to my surprise it was perfect. Not only did the curve of the building fit with the curve of our stance, but it tied into the surrealist image I created from the surrealist images I saw that day. As soon as I laid it down, I knew my page was complete.


Create a page about your last museum visit, even if it was ten years ago. If you have never been to an art museum, go. Consider this a double challenge to get yourself in front of actual works of art, and reflect on it in your journal. If you have absolutely no way to get to a museum, do some research, find a good online museum that peaks your interest, and explore. Find new favorites and expand your artistic knowledge!

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Art Lesson: Clay Whistles

Art Lesson-Clay Whistles

While I was in college one of the ceramics teachers did a clay whistle project with their class. When I heard about it I was bummed I wasn’t in his class, because it sounded like a fun project. However, after hearing all of the moaning and groaning from the students in his class about how difficult it was, I was thankful I wasn’t in his class, but the project still stuck with me.

As a teacher I try to choose projects that will challenge my students, but still allow them to be successful at varying levels of ability. This is as difficult as it sounds, which is why it took me three years to gain the courage to try this project in my sculpture class. It all came together at the beginning of the school year when I was trying to map out my projects for the year. I was talking with the middle school art teacher about project ideas, who is very knowledgeable about clay. I was trying to come up with an introduction to clay project that would include pinching, slab rolling, and coiling techniques all in one. After chatting for a minute he made a good point, they are all important enough skills to focus on individually, and not skim over with one quick project.

That solidified it for me. I would come up with a project specific to each technique, and what better pinch project than clay whistles? I took a deep breath and sat down with a pile of clay and began making my very first whistle, and it was hard. It took longer than I expected to get it to whistle, plus two failed versions in the trash. This youtube video ending up helping me get that first whistle working. The minute I heard the nice sweet sound my whistle produced, I was hooked! I started a second one just to make sure the first wasn’t a fluke. The second was quicker and even more successful. The whistle was clearer and deeper, it was perfect! Now it was time to introduce it to my students… I wasn’t sure how this was going to pan out.

Art Lesson-Green Abstract Clay Whistle

I always use PowerPoint to introduce my projects, and this assignment was no different. Since it was the first clay project I started by introducing the history of clay, crash course style. We talked about how far back clay sculpture dates, we looked at some of the earliest discovered clay pieces, and we moved into discussing the clay itself. We discussed wet clay vs. leather hard vs. bone dry vs. bisqued, etc. We talked about the kiln, how it worked, and the steps they would have to take to create a finished piece from wet clay to glazed. Typically I also include an artist exemplar, but I didn’t run across a clay whistle artists, so in lieu of an artist I included examples of whistles I found on the internet. If anyone knows of a clay whistle or pinch pot artist I can include in my presentation next semester please let me know! (The following images are all student examples from this past Fall semester, if you have questions about any of them please ask!)

Art Lesson-Train Clay Whistle

In the PowerPoint I also included images of the steps they would take to create their whistle, for this I relied heavily on this website which had great graphics of the steps(which also has other great lessons if you haven’t already discovered it!). I also printed the images out, made copies, and gave one to each student to reference while they made their whistle. In addition to going through the steps via photographs, I also did a demonstration after the PowerPoint. This may seem like a lot of repetition, but it helps the students to see it multiple ways before they try it out themselves.

Art Lesson-Penguin Clay Whistle

Once I was tired of talking I set the students out to create their whistles. They  all had to start with the basic round shape, but once they had a whistling whistle they could turn their shape into anything they wanted, as long as they included both additive and subtractive techniques (scoring and slipping something onto it and carving something out). They could do something more abstract, like my examples, or create an animal or object form, which a lot of the internet examples were. Whenever possible I like to have an opened assignment to allow my students to personalize their creation. They all have different tastes and interests, so why force them all turn their whistles into animals or patterns if they don’t want to?

Art Lesson-Fish Clay Whistle

I was shocked at how quickly some of my students got their whistles to work. Others struggled, but I encouraged them to help each other out, and more often than not the finished early kids got the other students’ whistles whistling. At some point in time every students’ whistle worked. Once they began adding to their designs, sometimes their whistles stopped working, and it took adjusting to get it back again. I did have a couple that didn’t whistle by the time it was turned in, which cost them a few points, but the majority of them worked. If you do this assignment remind your kids to continuously check their whistle.

Art Lesson-Duck Dynasty Clay Whistle

Once they were finished and dried out, we bisque fired them, then glazed them. I had everyone use underglazes for this first project, and we put a final coat of clear glaze on top to make them shiny. I chose underglaze to allow them to paint their creations with specific colors and patterns, that would stay put during the glaze firing process. When we were done we did a group critique, each student blew their whistle for the class, and we discussed the sound, design, and glazing techniques.

Art Lesson-Bird Clay Whistle

Overall the students were really invested in this project. I cannot even express the sense of accomplishment they displayed when their whistle started working. It cracked me up to watch all of their heads jerk up every time another one found it’s sound! I will definitely be repeating this for my 3DI class in the spring!

Art Lesson-Abstract Swirl Clay Whistle

I apologize for the slightly dark images and not having any in progress images! I plan on being more diligent about photographing my students at work next semester. I hope you enjoy the post regardless, and I hope it helps you plan future assignments! Please share the love by liking, tweeting, sharing, e-mailing, subscribing, and commenting!



Visual Journal Page 20: Good Luck Lights

Have you ever had one of those days when it feels like everything just goes your way?

Every now and then I will have one, I notice I feel a little better when I wake up in the morning, everyone seems a little happier, and the day goes a little smoother. I go to bed at the end of those days and feel really good, I sleep better, and dream of another lucky day.

This visual journal page focuses on one such day. It just felt like a good day. My students were working hard on their various assignments, I got a lot accomplished, I had zero discipline problems or major mishaps. I even got out of work just a little earlier than usual. It was one of those days when I got in my car, and rather than turning on NPR and relaxing on the way home, I turned on my music, and sang along, very loud, unless I was at a stop light next to another car.

My drive from my former school was very long. It only took 40 minutes, which really wasn’t bad, but I had to drive 35 miles one way to get there. It involved winding through my many neighborhood roads, until turning left onto Memorial, right onto Candler, battling light after light until I finally made my left turn onto I-20. The way home was worse because I was stuck with all of the other people battling to get home. People seem to become more grumpy as the day wears on, and by the time the 4-5:00 range hits, everyone on the road is in a bad mood.

However, on this particular day I wasn’t going to allow my afternoon commute to put me in a foul mood. I was jammin to my tunes, dancing in my car, it had been a good day. I-20 is typically a breeze, so when I zoomed past town after town, it felt like just another drive home. In contrast, the turn onto Candler Road, the anticipation of light after light, stop-go-stop-go, can put a damper on my day. But not today, I wouldn’t allow it. Without even thinking about what was to come, I breezed of I-20, coasted down the ramp, and approached my first light.

What luck! It was green. No big deal, it does happen from time to time, although I still basked in the good feeling of flying from I-20 directly onto Candler. I approached light number two, green again, light number three, green, four, five, six, green, green, green, seven, eight, nine, all green. They were all green. I was making record time home, I couldn’t believe what luck I had on Candler, until I approached my left turn onto Memorial.

As I rolled down the left turn lane and approached my first solid red, my left turn signal cued, and yet again I cruised through. It was a commuters miracle, not only was I going to make every single light on Candler, but it was also going to happen on Memorial. I would actually get home a little early, I would be able to see at least thirty minutes of Ellen today. It was the perfect end to a very perfect day.

In general I am a happy person and positive thinker. I believe you get back what you put out, and being kind to others will make you feel better about yourself. This personal belief is one of the many reasons why I love Ellen so much, her mantra, “be kind to one another”, hits home with me. I try my best to be kind to people, to attempt to make their day a little better, and in turn improve mine. Positive thinking and kindness can go a long way in life, and I believe my lucky days are a direct result of that belief.

I don’t believe occurrences are random, I believe in fate, in meant to be. I don’t believe my green light journey home was based solely on luck. I believe it was what I needed on that day. It was the icing on the cake of my good day, perhaps a nod to me for trying to change my attitude at work, for finding a piece of happiness amidst a stressful year.

If you are negative it will be a battle to find happiness in everyday life. Paying attention to bad thing after bad thing will suddenly turn your focus to every little think that goes wrong. You begin to transform into the “life’s not fair” person, the “why does everything happen to me?”. Guess what, life isn’t smooth, things go wrong, but if you never take a moment to enjoy the small things in life you are causing yourself to miss out. You are being unfair to yourself for not giving life a chance. Why waste time moping around when you can enjoy fall days, good books, and warm fires? Perhaps thirteen green lights in a row isn’t a miracle, but it’s a small blessing, and the little things add up to a lot more happiness in life, so pay attention.


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Book pages
  • Magazines
  • India ink
  • Watercolors
  • Paint brush
  • Water


It had been awhile since I did a full page magazine collage, and I decided it was the perfect technique for this page. As usual I started by getting a very large stack of magazines, and began ripping out any page with blacks, grays, greens, and blues. I always start with organization to make the process easier. I divided my ripped out magazine images into stacks according to color. Once I felt I have enough to get me started, I began ripping them up into small pieces, using only the colors I need from the image. Again, I kept the ripped of piles of magazine images divided by color. I always kept my eyes peeled for a nice skyline image, to signify my drive home from country to city.

When collaging, especially full page collages, I always start in the back and work my way forward. I began gluing down my blues to create my sky, and mixed in old book pages to create yellow, antique looking clouds. I followed with my skyline cut out, being sure to place it in front of a “cloud” area to help it stand out. The contrast between the dark skyscrapers and light clouds worked better than black against blue. After that I took a pencil and quickly sketched in the shape of the road, and began gluing my green pieces around it to create the grass. Next came all of my grays for the road, with small ripped up white pieces of book pages to create the lines in the road.

Once my collaged scene was complete it was time to begin on the details, my lovely green lights. On a separate sheet of paper I drew out five sets of streetlights, going from large to small to show perspective and emphasize the idea that the road was going back in space. I painted them in using water color, and to emphasize the green light I blew the blob of green water color once I painted it in, to create a splatter. Once dry I went back in with India ink to outline the details. I carefully cut them out, and glued them down on my page. I used India ink once again to paint in the power lines and posts, however over time they have faded and rubbed off. Often times wet materials will have trouble sticking to shiny coated surfaces, such as magazine pages. Try to avoid doing this if possible.

To complete the page I wrote “Some days I feel like things just go my way” across the furthest back power line. My good luck page was complete!


Give positive thinking a go. Get a sheet of paper, give it a fun title, and make a list of all the little things that make you happy this week. Think small, sleeping in five extra minutes, your dog being sweet, getting a Christmas card, or smelling something nostalgic. Create a visual journal page about one of the things at the end of the week!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post! Feel free to share with others, tweet, like, e-mail, subscribe, and comment!


Visual Journal Page 19: When the Winter Winds are Nipping

A fireplace was something required in the house Nick and I bought. I was willing to compromise on the front porch, kitchen size, and number of bathrooms… but the fireplace was a must. Fires soothe and warm me. They provide endless entertainment as I gaze into the dancing flames. Winter isn’t complete without a warm hearth battling the chilled air. I held out on a house until we found a house with one in it. My winter would be complete this year.

It’s funny how certain things stick with you as you grow from child to adult. Certain things find ways of hanging on, reminding you they were included in your childhood memories, and should be included in the formation of your adult memories. It’s strange how they appear, as if from no where, and force their way into new traditions.

The first Christmas Nick and I spent together I sat down one afternoon and began wrapping his gifts. I carefully folded each edge, creased the paper just right, attached the bow, and stuck the tag underneath. I grabbed my pen and began filling out tag after tag, on the one to many gifts Nick got that year. Halfway through my task I had to pause, rather than writing To: Nick, From: Whitney, I was writing things like To: My Hub-a-Dub, From: Your Wifey or To: My Snookums, From: Your Snickers… ridiculous… What was I doing? Where were these names coming from? We really aren’t a pet name couple… what was happening?

It suddenly dawned on me. Memory after memory of Christmas after Christmas revealed itself. My parents, with their piles of gifts, reading off the most ridiculous names they could come up with to put on their presents. Of all the Christmas traditions I could’ve repeated, this is the one that stuck, wouldn’t let go, and inadvertently pushed itself straight through my arm, into my hand, and out my pen. Despite my initial shock, I have given in, it felt right, and this is year number three of ridiculous Christmas tag names.

Like Christmas pet names, fires have stuck with me. Every winter season my Dad would build us real, no gas, actual wood burning fires. He would send us, bundled up, out in the cold to collect the bucket worth of kindling required for our fire entertainment. He would carefully shovel out yesterday’s ash, place the kindling, stack the wood, and stick newspapers beneath his creation. We would battle over who would get to light it, until we finally compromised to each light one side, and watched in anticipation as the three starter points moved towards the center, and converged on it’s meal.

It was tradition to have an all day fire on Christmas day. Dad got it started before we even woke up in the morning, and it lasted until we went to bed that night. Tradition. Once the season was over, Christmas blues and opened presents were all that remained. But, the fires continued, with an added bonus, a branch of Christmas tree piled on top, to provide us with crackling, snapping, popping, excitement for a few minutes, before another piece of Christmas was gone until next year.

Nick has filled my fire Dad needs. He comes home at night, fills his arms with wood, carefully builds his pre-fire wood pile, although I don’t argue with who gets to light it, and he makes me warm. I lay in front of the fire, snuggling with my puppies, watching a movie, and reminisce about fires past. I watch the flames repeatedly lick the wood until it melts into ash. I love how the colors transition from blue, to red, orange, and then yellow. I love the tingling heat that hits my face as I slowly approach, until the heat pushes me back, I give in, find my spot just close enough, and enjoy the memories that swirl around with the heat and flames until they tickle my face and remind me why I love this tradition so much.


  • Visual Journal
  • Scissors
  • Rubber Cement
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Poster board
  • Tissue paper
  • White paper
  • Book pages
  • Water color
  • Latex paint
  • India ink
  • Paint brush
  • Gesso


This page is very complex, and I love it because it took time, it looks three-dimensional, and it looked amazing when I finished. I decided awhile before I create this page that I wanted to make a page about my love for fires. After sitting around one Saturday afternoon, procrastinating, I finally took out my book and began brainstorming. I was sitting on my sofa, staring at my fireplace, when I decided to recreate the room in my book. I would put the wall our TV is on, on the left side page, and the fireplace on the right side page. As soon as I had my idea, the details began to quickly fill my head. I decided I would challenge myself this time, and try to make the fireplace look three dimensional.

I began by ripping up old book pages and gluing them down in the book to create a background. I then sketched out my room with a pencil. The fireplace is set back from the wall on the left of it, so I made sure to make it look like that in the image, by paying attention to the perspective. Once I had it drawn out I started on the fireplace. I cut small rectangles out of poster board to create the bricks. I wanted it to be three-dimensional, and this gave it just enough thickness to do that. I made sure the bricks were the same size, and once I had a good stack, I began gluing them down. I spaced them slightly apart, and made sure to stagger them. I used hot glue to attach them to the book page. I wanted it to look exactly like my fireplace, so I turned the bricks vertical above the fireplace opening, to imitate the pattern. Once the bricks were all glued down I started on the mantle. Our mantle is relatively ornate, the wood staggers in and out, and has a nice linear pattern. Again, I wanted it to be perfect, so I cut a wide piece of poster board for the base, and slowly cut thinner and thinner strips, and stacked them on top of each other. Doing this imitated the building up look of our mantle.

Once all of the poster board was glued down for the fireplace, I dipped tissue paper in gesso and carefully placed it on top. I wanted everything to look like one piece, and by covering the rough edges and spaces, I was able to get that affect. Before the gessoed tissue paper dried, I carefully pushed it into the spaces between the poster board, in order to keep the detail showing. Once it dried I took water color and painted the bricks with a gray shade to imitate the look of my fireplace. I left the mantle the white color of the gesso.

Once the fireplace was complete I started working on the background. I drew and painted the candles, flowers, and paintings above the fireplace. Once they dried, I cut them out and set them aside. I also splattered watercolor on a separate sheet of paper, and cut it out, to create the flames of the fire. I drew the molding and floor, painted it in with watercolor, and outlined it with India ink. I decided in order to really make this look like our living room I should paint the walls in the book with the actual paint used to paint our actual walls. I watered it down slightly and painted latex paint in my book. Once it dried I began gluing down the paintings, candles, and fireplace flames.

To finish off the page I used India ink to write the words, using a small paint brush. My fireplace page took hours to create, but it was worth it in the end. I love flipping back to it and reminiscing about the work put into it and all of my fireplace memories.


Create a page about one of your family’s traditions. It can be holiday and season related or not. Consider everything from popcorn on movie night and pizza on Friday to going to the same beach every summer. Have fun!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post! Thanks for taking the time to read about on of my favorite traditions, I hope you will pick up an old book and give journaling a try! Help me spread the word about visual journals by tweeting, liking, digging, tumbling, stumbling, and everything in between. As always please comment and subscribe!