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Showing posts from November, 2017

Inspired by Matisse

For more than ten years, off an on, I have taught a class called Journal and Sketchbook. The class alternates between writing and visual-art activities in order to heighten a writer's "seeing in the mind" and sense of story-telling. I co-taught it with Patty McNair until recently, when I have taught it solo, to small classes of between three and eight people. Even during a one-day class, there is a noticeable difference in people's writing by the end of the day: more sensory detail, more sense of scene, more fully told moments.

In the most recent session of teaching this class, I have increased the level of visual art stuff. Each week, I took as inspiration a book by an artist that combines text and image. So we had Frida Kahlo week (using her Diary as inspiration), Paul Gauguin week (Noa-Noa), and then Matisse week (Jazz).

First, I read a piece by writer Maija Rothenberg that uses the format of an alphabetized list to tell the story of a life:


Stage 2: invite the p…

The Brant Hardware and Implement Company, by Jeanne Locke Johnson

I taught a day long journal and sketchbook class recently, at the Interlochen College of Creative Arts in northern Michigan. One of the activities was called Writing in Place, devised by my writerwife Patricia Ann McNair. A participant in the class, Jeanne, wrote the piece I'm reprinting below. As soon as she began reading it back in the class, I knew straight away I was hearing a really good piece of writing. The image was also by Jeanne, made in the collage class the day before the journal and sketchbook class.



I

I remember going to the Hardware after school. The bus dropped us off at the house. If I was feeling the need to make money, or Dad needed work done, I walked to the store. If Mom or Dad were in sight, I checked in while clocking in on the old time clock punch card. Usually, I needed to dust displays or clean the bathrooms, or wash windows. My favorite was filling the old pop machine. I had to get the keys, check inventory for flavors, empty the change bucket, clean the…

Original and Imitation (Inc. Tips for Good Collage)

Teaching a class in Mixed Media Collage last weekend, I used the digital projector in the room to show some examples of collage going back to the Cubists. Here is one by Georges Braque from about 1913:


One of the participants was inspired to produce this:


That is really pretty good! She tried out the pencil shading at the right and left, though not the quotations of parts of instruments that Braque drew. But the choice of papers, the cutting, and the placement, are all excellent.

The day also produced these collages from different participants (all are 10" x 15"):




Some tips that I've found useful for making collages:
Use acrylic matte medium to glue down magazine pages and newspaper, thin decorative papers, etc.Use acrylic gel medium  to glue down thicker materials such as fabric, and to embed three dimensional materials such as buttons.When everything is dry, coat the collage front and back with acrylic matter medium. This seals the front, and counteracts any warping th…