My New Visual Journaling Addiction

Since it’s July, and I’m relishing the best perk of working in an educational setting (time off!!), I thought it was suiting to reserve a few days to refocus on my own art making. A couple of weeks ago, I attended the BEST workshop on Visual Journaling. It was led by Chelsey Velilla, an elementary art teacher in Newport News.

The workshop started with a step-by-step guide to repurposing an old thrift store book to use as a visual journal. Then, we were given the directive to write a note to ourselves that featured some type of advice. We wrote this note on an old flashcard (prepped with gesso) and used it to create a flap on our first journal page. Chelsey walked us through various background painting techniques and explained how to create textures with everything from linoleum countertop samples to drywall tape. Finally, we were asked to add a word or phrase that captured the essence of our “advice.” I used Chelsey’s directive as a jumping point to create a loose interpretation of a family album, with one journal page featuring each member of my family (some pictures are below).

I really connected with Chelsey’s techniques and philosophies, and I’m sure it was because she focuses on many of the same principles that I practice in art therapy. Focusing on process not product, ignoring your inner art critic, allow emotional purging, and always take time to care for yourself and create. Not to mention, this medium is absolutely addictive. Chelsey’s workshop lasted 6 hours, and I don’t think any of us were ready to say goodbye when our time was up! That day, I went straight home and rearranged furniture in my little condo to create a tiny “studio” space.

I’ve spoken with Chelsey about doing a workshop with VATA members in the late fall, so keep your eye out for that invite! Check out her blog at

Hope you’re having a wonderful, relaxing summer.



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