ALBANY — Everyone has “lost” that great thought.

You wake up momentarily in the middle of the night with a terrific idea that you can’t quite remember when your alarm goes off. You see something inspiring in a magazine and clip it, but forget where you placed it. You hear something inspirational, but now you can’t remember exactly how it was said.

You can keep those thoughts at your fingertips with the help of a visual verbal journal, and you can learn how to create and expand one at a pair of Friday evening workshops in April at the Albany Museum of Art. Noelle Petersen, the art teacher at Deerfield-Windsor School, will lead the Visual Verbal Journal Workshops 5:30-7:30 p.m. on April 16 and 23 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.

“There are a great number of ways that these types of journals can be useful,” AMA Director of Education and Public Programming Annie Vanoteghem said. “Artists are known to keep journals of things they have seen, heard or experienced to provide inspiration for future works. Images and words are a powerful combination in helping the mind grasp feelings and thoughts associated with them. You don’t have to be an artist for it to be useful. These journals are beneficial for other vocations as well, or as just a way to keep memories clearer.”

Whether you use words to reinforce images or images to reinforce words, the combination can help you remember and understand concepts. They also document your explorations, which 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 as they encourage you to venture from your comfort zone. Journals can be used for personal enjoyment, but they also preserve memories.

“When you try to remember something you experienced, a journal can be invaluable for reminding you about how you were touched emotionally at the time,” she said. “Especially as we get older, that’s a great connection to our youth and young adult years. It gives you insight into the way your own mind works. Your words and images from years past can teach you something about the way you think and how your own journey through life has progressed.”

Participants can participate in both or either workshop. All you need to bring is your journal.

“We’ll provide many of the materials needed to help our journalists get started,” Vanoteghem said. “We’ll have pencils, pens, markers, colored pencils, charcoal, chalk, watercolors, glue, scissors, magazines, newspaper and construction paper available.”

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

The main thing to remember is that while you will get tips on how to create and maintain your visual verbal journal, it is an intensely personal object and there is no right or wrong way to do it. You also do not have to be an artist to create it or benefit from it.

Visual verbal journals vary widely from person to person, but they have one important common characteristic, Vanoteghem said.

“It will be meaningful to you,” she said. “You will one day find that you are happy that 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 your space at one or both workshops, email Vanoteghem at or call her at (229) 439-8400.

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