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2017 Journaling from the Heart

Students will start filling their own handmade art journal.
The cover design is entirely up to you.
Here's Jessica in action at a previous Alcona Arts Retreat.
This is a sample from one of Jessica's own journals.
Here's another page Jessica created.
This one occupies just one page instead of the two-page spreads of the previous examples.
Finally, this is the first of a themed pair.
And this is the second.

with Jessica Kovan

In this workshop​,​ you will play, learn, and ​create a gorgeous art journal that you have made yourself.  At the same time, you will gain insight into the world of art journaling — a NO RULES explorative and playful creative practice.  

​A handmade art journal is ​made from recycled items of a student's life​ and provides a working surface that is not blank​ — hence doing away with those scary white page​s​!​ No two journals will ​​be the same. When completed, your art journal will look just like a hardcover book, with a spine and you will already have started working inside it! ​

We will experiment with different art making techniques and learn to create hidden elements in ​our journals. This will be a fun, technique-focused workshop. ​We will use ​our ​handmade ​art journals to learn techniques that can be applied in your art elsewhere. ​​An art journal ​is ​a place to tell your personal story, capture emotions, and learn and experiment. Using color, texture, line, pattern, marks, collage, images, layers and words, it is a powerful and joyful tool for ​creating personal art. Come prepared to play and learn ... and walk away with a ​toolbox of new techniques and a ​gorgeous new art journal that you made yourself!​

A student from a previous art journaling class reports: ​ "I gained confidence and courage to experiment. I gained knowledge of different processes and approaches, and a new belief that my work is ''good enough'' and it doesn't have to be perfect or sell or even be seen as long as I DO it. Some of the barriers that used to keep me from making art were destroyed: time, tools, place to work. It doesn't take long, anything can be a tool, and the dining room table is a fine place to make a mess with art!"

Jessica herself writes on her blog: "Give yourself a jumpstart in creating. Practice something new in your art journal before using the technique on canvas. Have fun. Breathe. ...

"What is art journaling from my viewpoint? I think of it as 'raw art.' You create from inside yourself, using whatever medium you want, and then turn the page. Don’t fuss. Don’t worry. Don’t belabor. ... And don’t show it to anyone if you don’t want. It is yours, all yours.

"In (a recent) announcement for an upcoming art journaling class, I wrote 'there is no right or wrong way' to art journal. A prospective student asked: 'But what if I fail?' ...  

My response, 'I am not even sure what failure would mean. If you don't finish - well, be it. If you decide you don't like it, then stop. You’ve learned something about yourself.  It is all up to you and all about you.'  

"Create imperfectly. Maybe that's the goal. And it is certainly not failure. That’s art. Color outside the lines. Don’t even have lines. Don’t use color. Just create because you love to create. Breathe. Relax. Play. And turn the page."

After earning a PhD in adult education from Michigan State University, Jessica has worked as both an artist and an educator. Her paintings build on her strong ties to nature, sports, social commentary and a sense of community.    

“My art is deeply influenced by a strong desire to connect my head with my heart, and my passions with action. Through my work I try to communicate the power of relationships at all different levels. I love working in mixed media because of the meanings that can evolve out of the layering as well as the richness of color, patterns and texture that help to tell a story.” 

Jessica, who lives in Okemos, regularly teaches collage in the Lansing area. She is a signature member of the International Society of Experimental Artists and the International Society of Acrylic Painters. She won the Golden Artists' Color Award in the 2014 Michigan Water Color Society show. Jessica exhibits her work in galleries in Lansing, Charlevoix and West Bloomfield.

Learn more about Jessica and her work at her website,

All levels of experience. This class is filled. You may sign up on the waiting list.

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