Tag: visual journal page about marriage proposal

Guest Post: Joseph Cornell Visual Journal from 1933-1945

Recently, Nick and I had an excuse to go to Philadelphia for his Cousin’s wedding. I looked forward to the wedding, it’s always fun to celebrate someones nuptials, seeing his family, and meeting the family members I hadn’t had the opportunity to yet. However, I was most excited to see the city. I have only been up North once, to New York City a few years ago, and I was looking for a reason to go again. Growing up you learn so much about Philadelphia, the Liberty Bell, the important figures that lived there, there is so much history. I couldn’t wait to be able to see everything in person. After spending a few days outside of the city with family, Nick and I packed up and headed to the city for our own mini vacation.

We did all of the typical things, walked around the city, enjoyed the skyscrapers and smaller, historic buildings. Of course we ran up the “Rocky” steps, which I was excited to discover lead up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Of course I had to see the museum. We spent some time wandering through the exhibits, and we saw amazing work from Degas, Monet, Van Gogh, and other well known masters. I excitedly continued through the European section and into Modern Art, which is my favorite. My eyes instantly began absorbing all of the amazing paintings and sculptures, when they drifted over to a small podium with a book inside.

I couldn’t believe it, a visual journal! I had never seen one in a museum before, and it was by an artist I have studied, Joseph Cornell. In the past I have looked at sketchbooks by famous artists in museums, but never an altered book, and especially not one from the 1930’s. I read, and re-read the “about the art” plaque on the wall, and was thrilled to learn he worked in this book for 12 years! My astonishment and excitement for such a long project began to fade when I thought about all of the work he put into this book, to only have a single page displayed. I felt my fingers twitching and aching dying to grace the pages of that book, to flip through, touch every page, and feel the layered images.

When looking through journals I enjoy nothing more than running my fingertips across the pages as I look through the book. Your fingers are as much of an information tool as your eyes. When you look at a work of art, you only see the flattened images. You miss the slight depth created by the layered paper, which is where your fingers come in. They can feel, trace around the edge of cut out inspirations. I LOVE to touch artwork, I am trouble in a museum, my hands are constantly flying up, and slowly falling down as my logic quickly takes control and overrides my urge to touch. I longed to see more of this book, but this was all I got, a tease page. If only I lived in Philadelphia, if only I could stay longer. I would visit the museum daily, and slowly take in the entire book as the curators turned each page, a day, two days, a week at a time, until the exhibit closed, and the book moved to another city to tease another viewer.

This post brings me to a question that has plagued me for awhile, how do you display a visual journal? Is it considered interactive art? Should it be put on a podium, available for people to touch and flip through? In a perfect world this is how I imagine displaying my books, but unfortunately that doesn’t exist. Just from passing my books around a couple times a year for my students to look through, they have already shown signs of wear and tear. I can only imagine what a room full of museum patrons would do if they could flip through one of my books over and over again. How would you display a visual journal while still protecting the artwork?

Joseph Cornell creates amazing assemblages and collages. If you have spare time you should google him and see what you find! I tried in vain to find more images from this book, let me know if you happen to stumble across any! If you find any other amazing visual journal images or visual journal examples from other artist, please send them in.

I hope you enjoyed today’s visual journal digest. There is nothing I like more than seeking out other people’s work to inspire my own. You can learn so much from looking at what other people are doing. If you liked my post share it with others! e-mail, like, tweet, and/or subscribe! Help inspire others!

Visual Journal Page 43: A Botanical Proposal

This visual journal page is very sentimental because it represents the moment when Nick proposed to me. At this point in time Nick and I had been dating around 5 1/2 years. I knew I wanted to marry him, it was just a matter of time and patience.

It happened in January, and I was very surprised. All of the major holidays and milestones in our relationship had already passed, we were about 6 months out from summer, cutting it close to reasonable planning time for a summer wedding, and I had already decided it probably wouldn’t happen anytime soon. Then, all of the sudden, on January 17th I found myself engaged.

A week before, Nick suggested we visit the Atlanta botanical gardens and grab a bite to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, Two Urban Licks. I thought nothing of it, Nick was one of those spur of the moment, always planning something fun type of guy. The day of he slyly suggested I dress a bit nicer, the last time we went to Two Urban Licks we were very under dressed, so again I waved it off as him making a good point. In no time, we were off to wander the paths of the botanical gardens.

We spent an unfortunately dreary afternoon looking at the flowers and going in and out of greenhouses. Luckily, because of the not so great weather we were practically alone in the gardens. After an hour or so we started to wrap up our tour and head to dinner, when we went into the orchid room. It was January, and it was cold, so walking into a nicely 70 something degree room filled with beautiful flowers was a nice change of scenery. As usual I was barely looking where I was walking, because my camera was glued to my face snapping pictures. As we wandered through the room I stopped to snap a picture of a very interesting giant leaf when Nick said “you should take a picture of this”… I turned around and there was Nick on one knee holding a small box with a ring in it.

I was floored… All I could get out was “Are you serious?”, “Are you serious?”, over and over. Nick, thinking I was immediately going to say yes and start jabbering about who knows what, didn’t plan a speech, and wasn’t sure what to do when I didn’t say a whole lot. Eventually he was able to stammer out a “will you marry me?”

I’m not sure if I ever said yes… But he knew what my answer was. I grabbed the ring, put it on my finger, and started jumping up and down. After some hugs and kisses we made our way to the car to go to dinner. I was shocked, so much so it didn’t hit me until halfway to dinner when I started to cry. By the time we pulled up to the restaurant I had pulled myself together and was ready to enjoy the rest of the evening. I was fully composed when all of the sudden I saw my parents, my aunt and uncle, and Nick’s parents, and I lost it again.

Nick had been sneaky again, not only had he planned the proposal, but also an amazing celebratory dinner with our family. We had an wonderful time, and my Mom and I started wedding planning right then and there. After dinner I finally got my phone out to call my friends and siblings to tell them the good news. I tried everyone, and no one picked up. I was slightly disgruntled when we got back to my apartment, but I figured I would talk to them soon enough. We walked upstairs, and as I turned on the light I saw an entire room filled with our closest friends…

Nick had been sneaky again, not only had he planned the proposal, an amazing celebratory dinner, but also an after party with my high school and college friends, and both of our siblings. I couldn’t believe it. We spent the night celebrating, eating cake, and making plans. I couldn’t have asked for a better, more loving and sentimental proposal than that. I’m sure after all that planning Nick was glad I said yes.

To create this visual journal page I used a technique called tape transfer, which gives you a semi transparent affect. To create a tape transfer you have to have an image printed on a laser printer, copied on a photocopier, or a magazine image with a high concentration of ink (National Geographic images work well). Once you have your image carefully place clear packaging tape on top of the image, sticky side down. You then flip the image face down and rub the back with a spoon or scissor handles, which is called burnishing, this ensures the image is stuck to the tape. You then take the image and rinse it under water until the paper starts to peel up. Use your fingers to rub all of the paper off, and the end result should be your original image stuck to the tape without any paper left. Any area that is light or white will be transparent or semi transparent. I layered printed images with tape transfers to create the background, and I used an image of a ring similar to mine from a magazine. To read more about supplies and tape transfers click on the supplies tab at the top of the page.

CHALLENGE: Create a page using tape transfers! To start I recommend using just one transfer in a page until you get the hang of it! If you have any questions please e-mail or comment!

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