In January 1991 I returned to college to finish my undergraduate degree after a 20-year hiatus. In my program at Lesley College, the last two semesters had to be devoted to a highly structured, single major work. After much brainstorming with my adviser, I decided to create a ‘Painted Journal’ where I would combine my interest in graphic art and creative writing with my passion for women’s history, and the handwritten journals that began as women’s diaries and are now preserved as valuable historical documents.
I decided to buy a special book in which to create the illustrations: a brand new 9”x 12” Aquabee SuperDeluxe No.808 Sketchbook. It reeked of potential. I choked, of course.
“November 11, 1991
I have been battling my fear of this pristine ‘Painted Journal’—and now am learning what I have been trying to teach myself—that drawing and painting can stop time. That my end product, the artwork, will be an intimate friend because we have evolved together this last hour or two…
This is the porch of the Alexandria Town Hall. I played on these steps, these railings, when I was four years old. I had my wedding reception here when I was only nineteen. And today I cried buckets of memories, bittersweet, when I returned (at 39) to stand here again. To confirm that I do have roots, no matter how obscured and gnarled. Every pencil line, every brushstroke, every deep shaky breath brought me closer to home…”