Dave and I successfully rocked another season of NCCAT (North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching). It was an awesome week with 20 teachers from all over the state of North Carolina. Some were already familiar with the visual journal, and some were not. All participants gelled very quickly with each other and with the journal.

A real highlight of the week was the chance to meet author Patti Digh. A year ago, Dave and I were introduced to her book Life is a Verb, and we had the chance to hear her read passages from her book. The premise of the book is simple: If you had 37 days to live, how would you be living those 37 days, and why are you not living that way now? Life is a Verb is full of stories, advice, and activities to lead a richer life. We were honored to have her stop by our seminar room and check out what we were doing. She even included us on her blog. Thanks for the shout out. I highly recommend Patti's book if you are looking to live a higher quality life.

Part of the art bomb that was dropped during the week.

A journal spread by Amy, a.k.a. A-Shon.

A sparkling spider web on a bronze statue outside of NCCAT on the last day.

The week ended on an even higher note, I found out today, that I passed my National Boards.

Pages and NCCAT

I wanted to share a few more pages from journal #11. The above two-page spread uses watercolor pencil, ink, collage, solvent transfer, and acrylic paint. The page below contains a rectangular window in the center that shows the previous page. The rest of the page is simply black ink using one of my favorite pens - the uniball Vision. Sometimes it is simply fun to use a single medium on a page.

Dave and I are gearing up to teach at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT). It has to be one of our favorite places as we spend a week teaching 24 participants about the visual journal. It is always a lot of work, but very rewarding. Amazing things happen there. We are grateful to the center for having us back for the fifth time and to those who keep signing up to attend.

Natural Conflict

This is a new piece that I created over the last week. I first cut a piece of Aquarelle Multimedia paper to 11"x14" - the same size as one of my journal pages. Then I began layering various colors and shapes using Prismacolor watercolor pencil. I allowed the paper to dry in between layers, and after the last layer of watercolor pencil, I began developing the image further with regular Prismacolor pencil. The image above shows the piece in process after all the watercolor pencil had been applied, and just as I began using colored pencil. The image below shows the completed piece. This piece is part of my excavation series, and I wanted to experiment with a new idea by combining the organic froms with the geometric.

JFJ at the NCAEA

This past weekend, Dave an I traveled to Winston-Salem, NC for the NCAEA annual professional conference where we reconnected with many old friends and met a few new ones. The conferences are always so invigorating, and they always remind me of the powerful thing that the visual journal truly is. I am continually awed by the passion, the support, and the excitement that the journal elicits from so many out there. We were very honored to even have the Executive Director of the National Art Education Association, Deborah Reeve sit in on two of our presentations. I think it speaks to the power of connecting with others.

Dave and I will keep advocating for the place of the visual journal as a personal, educational, and professional tool, for we feel that the journal is a revolutionary and life-changing form. We are grateful to all those who came out to one of our presentations or workshops, who shared their stories, and who supported us in anyway over the weekend. As long as we see the need, we will continue to put ourselves and our journals out there.

Next up for the Journal Fodder Junkies is a trip to Cullowhee, NC to the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) in order to teach our fifth seminar. Seems like yesterday that I was blogging about our last trip there, but it's been over 9 months. We are looking forward to another great group.

And just so everyone knows, Dave and I are available to come to schools, studios, and art centers to present workshops on the visual journal. Contact us to see if we can work out details.

Thanks again to everyone and their support.

JFJ in the News

The above photo shows pages of student visual journals. The photo is by Dennis Grundman of The Northern Virginia Daily.

I was recently interviewed for an article in one of the local papers here in Northern Virginia - The Northern Virginia Daily. The article talks about students using visual journals at James Wood High School in Winchester, VA. Dave and I have done a couple of workshops there over the last few years - one for teachers and one for students. A big thank you goes out to Stephanie Woshner and Vikki Pitcock for organizing those workshops and encouraging their students.

Click here to read the story.

I Am...

School is in full swing now, and I am finding it difficult to eek out a little time to scan and update the blog, the Flickr site, and the Facebook page. But I was able to scan a few pages from Journal #11 yesterday, so I have somethings to share. The above page is the first page in the journal that I retired last year (I am currently in volume 12). As is my tradition, I started this journal with an "I am..." page. This page was started with an activity that Dave likes to use when teaching students, teachers, and workshop participants about combining words and images. He titled it the Challenge of Beauty, and it is an adaptation of Angeles Arrien's preferential shapes test from her book Signs of Life: The Five Universal Shapes and How to Use Them. I like using this "I am..." concept as an introduction to a new journal.

In other news, Dave and I will be at the NCAEA Professional Development Conference in Winston-Salem, NC next week, and we hope to see some of you there.

Starting a Revolution

Starting a revolution is a lot of work and takes up a lot of time. Dave and I have been busy reviewing and editing the manuscript trying to get it ready for publication. Also school has started for both of us, Dave at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC and me at Stone Bridge High School, In Ashburn, VA. But we are both committed to this visual journal revolution knowing how valuable a tool it is for life.

A couple events are coming up for us in the next couple of months. We will be presenting various presentations and workshops at the North Carolina Art Education Association (NCAEA) Professional Development Conference coming up in October, and we will be leading our fifth Renewal Seminar coming up at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) in November. Incidentally, the above journal page was created at a past NCAEA Conference.

Busy. Busy. Busy.


This is a drawing that I made a few years ago, and just wanted to post something new. It is interesting to compare this to the Excavation Painting.

In other news, Dave and I are working on a review copy of the book making changes and clarifying words, phrases, and passages. Our editor reviewed the text, brought up suggestions, questions, and areas of concern. It's always good to have fresh eyes look at your writing because what sounds good to you - the one who knows the subject inside and out - might be completely perplexing to someone just coming to the subject. So, the process is moving along, and it looks like the book will be out next May. It was quite a surprise to find our book listed on already. So you can pre-order the book there. There's no image of the cover yet, but that will be released closer to the publishing date. Click here to go to Amazon.

Journal Page

Page 2 in my current journal. It's been done for a while, but I haven't gotten around to posting it. There's no real theme or underlying concept. It's an accumulation of marks, media, fodder, and memories.

The Journal Fodder Junkies are now on Facebook. I'll be posting more updates there - such as upcoming events. Fans will be able to post images as well as messages. So, stop by and become a fan if you're on Facebook. If you're not, what are you waiting for. There's not a lot yet, but I just set it up over the weekend. Click the link to the right.