Tag: book page

Visual Journal Page 27: Discover Beauty in the Unexpected


As an artist it is my job to create visual representations. Whether this means using paint, clay, collage, or photography, is realistic or abstract,  I am presenting an image to my viewer. As an artist it is my goal to bring light to my subject matter and in turn enlighten my viewer with my ideas and intent. What I love about art is the ability to turn the wheels in people’s brains, to watch their expression as they take in a piece, and hear what interpretation they have tacked onto my image. I do not believe a successful work of art requires immediate understanding. I also don’t believe a work of art can be created without intent. Even a Jackson Pollock splatter painting or a Mark Rothko color field has intent. They chose those colors, inspiration was evoked, ideas sprung to mind, movements were made, emotion was laid down, and with every choice they made intent was spilled onto their canvas. Intent can be an emotion, it can be nonrepresentational, it can even become the unknown.

I believe every work of art has a purpose, however intent is often what I struggle with. People ask questions, submit their interpretations, and wait for your explanation. An explanation is always required, I suppose it’s our basic human curiosity that demands the question why. I am guilty of it myself, I am always asking why, and yet I often cringe at the question. I have a difficult time defining my work. With every piece I start with a concept, an idea, and I explore it through my material. I put emotion into my work, I put meaning, and purpose. But when it comes time to explain I stutter, stumble, and BS my way through it.

Perhaps I find it difficult because I am not a deep, dark, brooding artist, struggling with depression, and my own creative genius. Part of me yearns for that torment, for just a taste. Perhaps my art would be easier to define if it had these attributes, if it came from inspiration I could easily pin point. However, I must remind myself if all artists pulled inspiration from the deep, gloomy, corners of their souls, all artwork would look similar, and a trip to the art museum would turn into a very depressing affair.

I have pondered this question of purpose over the years. Writing about my journals has given me a space to explore this, to re-think the reason why I created in the first place. What I have discovered is that every part of me plays a role in my work. My curiosity, need to experiment, happy nature, impatience, and spots of melancholy all contribute to a finished work of art.

As an eternal optimist I have discovered I always strive to present something beautiful in my artwork. In my ladies in gowns body of work I took women, put them in ornate dresses, and set them in ugly or unusual situations. Broken glass, awkward body positions, and dark backgrounds surround these prime and proper ladies (lady painting:Alcoholic Haze). I put a spin on a rather grim situation, trapped in a cage, by including typically beautiful objects such as flowers and birds in my pieces Trapped and Caged. Discarded items such as forks, spoons, and door handles are re-purposed in my series of experimental mixed media. Although each piece is different, they all carry a common theme, I am in a constant battle to try to find the beautiful in the ugly.

Perhaps this visual journal page visually reflects my artist statement. This photograph of an abandoned garage. Graffiti covered the sides, it looked like a terrifying building to enter, a structure created with purpose, only to be deserted and left to rot. This was a building I often passed, but it wasn’t until a trek through the snow for a day of sledding that I truly recognized it’s beauty. The city was covered with a blanket of white. The pristine snow covered the details of every street, building, and house, except this one. This abandoned, barred up building came to life against the white. The yellow, green, and red popped and suddenly it felt inviting. The bright red door shone through the black grates, beckoning me in yet blocking my entrance. It was a moment I had to capture in a picture and transform into a work of art between the pages of my journal. This was a moment of intentional clarity, I had discovered the beauty in the unexpected.


  • Visual journal
  • Scissors
  • Rubber cement
  • Mod podge
  • Book pages
  • Packaging tape
  • Newspaper
  • Colored Pencil
  • Sharpie


To create this visual journal page I did a lot of layering. I layered a mod podge transfer of the photograph I took and tape transfers from a newspaper. I started with the mod podge transfer, and decided to transfer it onto extra pages I removed from my book, and glue it back into my book. Once I had my book page to transfer onto I printed my image on a laser printer and began painting Mod Podge on top. To create a Mod Podge transfer you must paint two layers of Mod Podge on the image, allowing it to try in between. After the second layer dries you paint a third layer, and place it face down the paper, and again allow it to dry. Once dry, you wet the back of the image and peel the paper off. The ink sticks to the layered mod podge, which sticks to the page. The end result is a semi transparent mirror image of the original photograph. To read more specifics about a Mod Podge transfer go here.

I typically do my Mod Podge transfers on a separate sheet of paper, then glue it into my book. I do this because sometime I have to re-do a transfer if something happens in the process, and you have to add water to the back, and I did’t want to end up with a wrinkly, warped page in my book. Once my transfer was complete I carefully ripped along the edge of the image, placed it in my book, and traced around the edge to create a guide for the background. I wanted to wait to glue down my transfer because I knew I was going to add a tape transfer to the background, it’s always better to work from the back forward, it will make it easier to layer.

For the background I did a very easy tape transfer using packaging tape and newspaper. All you do is cut off a piece of tape, lightly place it on top of newspaper, and rip it off. The ink from the newspaper easily transfers to the tape, and you end up with words stuck to a clear background. I did this with newspaper and slightly yellowed book pages to get a mix of gray and brown in my background. After I had my transfer complete all I did was stick it to the page. Because I drew an outline of where my Mod Podge transfer would be glued, I knew how far down to tape my transfers.

Once my background was complete I glued my Mod Podge transfer on top. Last but not least I wrote “Discover beauty in the unexpected” on a separate sheet of paper using sharpie. I then colored on top with a brown colored pencil to help it blend in with the brownish background. I ripped out the words and glued it down to finish the page.


Try out the new tape transfer technique! Grab packaging tape, a stack of newspapers, book pages, or both and get to work. Incorporate it into your next page!

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Visual Journal Page 62: Soon to be Happily Ever After


This visual journal page is very sentimental, it captures a piece of our wedding, a piece of the commitment we made to each other. By the time this page was created, I had spent the last five and a half months planning my dream wedding. I had carefully picked out the venue, food, flowers, music, dresses, suits, table settings, and of course, the invitations. Nick and I had spent the last five and a half months talking about little more than our wedding. And I realized that Nick and I almost forgot what all this planning was for. It was for us, to celebrate our commitment to spend the rest of our lives together.

After I came to this epiphany, I realized how little time we had spent together. While we had spent a lot of time planning, discussing, and preparing for the big day, we had not spent quality time together. Once we realized this, for the first time in months, we took a moment and went out on a date. We did not talk about the wedding, we talked about our day to day lives, our lives post wedding, and all the amazing things we were going to do on our honeymoon. It felt like us again, normal, pre-wedding Nick and Whitney.

We were planning our wedding, the day to celebrate our commitment to each other. Through this process I should’ve felt closer than ever to Nick, knowing he would soon be my husband, but it was the opposite. I forgot what we were planning for, and I neglected us. I’m thankful I came to this epiphany before our big day. I’m glad I took a step back, and spent quality, non-wedding time with my future husband.

I knew I wanted to remember that moment. I decided the best way to do that was to make a page that included our invitation. Our invitation was how our big day was perceived from the outside. We were running around like crazy. trying to get everything done, forgetting what we were planning for. But, no one else saw that. They were coming to celebrate our marriage, to show their support, to be there for us on this incredibly important day.

Our invitation was one of the early decisions I made, and it was a decision we made together. I loved the way they looked. They were simple, elegant, and had our wedding colors in them. When the RSVPs began rolling in, I knew it was happening. We were on our way, we were almost finished, we were almost to the moment we had been planning for. The planning was winding down and the celebrating would soon begin. I was about to become Mrs. Panetta.

CHALLENGE: Create a page about a commitment. It could be a wedding vow, new job, diet, divorce, house, or even a commitment as simple as trying to make your bed everyday.

To make this visual journal page I incorporate our wedding invitation, envelope, RSVP card, one of our engagement pictures, construction paper, and book pages. I wanted the page to have a vintage feel to it, so I wanted the base to have a brownish tint to the paper. I found an old book, with stained pages, and glued them down to the background. I knew I wanted the invitation to be placed in the center, and I wanted it to stretch between both pages. I carefully placed them, but decided the page needed more. Since our colors were blue and brown, and there was a lot of brown in the invitation, I decided to incorporate blue construction paper.

I used three different blue pieces of construction paper, and ripped them up into small pieces. I placed them along one edge of the invitation and the RSVP card. I liked how it looked when I had the colors arranged going from lightest color blue to darkest, and when I put a light color book page right along the edge of the invitation, it all came together,

Since Nick and I were planning this big day for us, and since I had almost forgotten that already, I knew I wanted to include a picture of us in the page. I chose a black and white photograph from our engagement session, I thought it went well with the vintage style I was trying to achieve. To help it blend in, and not overpower the invitation, I did a tape transfer. I played around with various spots on the page, and realized I was going to have to cut the image down since the invitation took up the majority of the space. Rather than cut it into a smaller rectangle, I decided to cut along the lines of the rock wall behind us. I took the extra pieces of the rock wall and placed them around the page to balance out the black and white image.

It took me a number of tries to get the tape transfer placed just right. I ended up having to go back, and cover up the words in the area our faces were going to be. I decided to do this because the image was transparent, and the words in the background overpowered the details in our faces. If something isn’t working just right don’t be afraid to make changes.

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