Participants can learn how to create and expand a visual verbal journal at a pair of Saturday afternoon workshops in January at the Albany Museum of Art.

ALBANY — Ever have a great idea that later escaped? Learn how to keep those thoughts at your fingertips with the help of a visual verbal journal.

Participants can learn how to create and expand a visual verbal journal at a pair of Saturday afternoon workshops in January at the Albany Museum of Art. Noelle Petersen, art teacher at Deerfield-Windsor School, will lead the Visual Verbal Journal Workshops 2-4 p.m. on Jan 23 and 30 at the museum, located at 311 Meadowlark Drive.

Visual verbal journals focus on methods of saving information, with drawings, sketches, photos, collages or other visual artwork augmented by words, which also become part of the art. The words describe or explain the art, becoming graphic devices.

“It’s a powerful tool for any number of uses,” AMA Director of Education and Public Programming Director Annie Vanoteghem said. “Artists keep journals like this for ideas for future works, but they translate into many other areas as well.”

Reinforcing images with words — or reinforcing words with images — can help participants remember and understand concepts. They can document explorations and can be invaluable in research projects.

“The visual and verbal cues on a page complement one another and can provide inspiration for later,” Vanotegehm said.

They are ideal opportunities to experiment with new media and techniques, allowing participants to venture from their comfort zone. And a journal can be an activity for just play and enjoyment. They also serve to preserve memories.

“They can be valuable for later reflection on something you saw, heard or felt,” she said. “They are a way for you to think about the way you think. You can learn a lot about yourself from your journal.”

Participants can participate in both or either workshop. All that is needed is a journal.

“We’ll provide many of the materials needed to create these,” Vanoteghem said. “We’ll have pencils, pens, markers, color pencils, charcoal, chalk and watercolors available. We’ll also have glue, scissors, magazines, newspaper and construction paper.”

But those who participate are welcome to bring items that they might want to use as well, such as photographs, magazines and gel pens.

“There are really no rules as to what you can use to create these journals,” Vanoteghem said. “You also do not have to be a skilled artist. You’re creating your journal for you.”

While visual verbal journals are quite different from person to person, she said, they all have one important common characteristic.

“It will be meaningful to you,” Vanoteghem said. “At some point, you will be glad you have it.”

Each workshop will be limited to 10 participants because of current health guidelines. The cost per session is $15 for AMA members and $20 for non-members.

To reserve space at one or both workshops, email Vanoteghem at or call her at (229) 439-8400.

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