A Hope and a Future

I recently put together a series of scrapbooks for our grown son which are collection of photos, grade cards, assorted memorabilia from school and family vacations, and art work and classwork. In the process I was reminded of the roller-coaster-ride his teenage years had been. By way of processing the mom in me, I created a timeline overview of those roller coast years high school through college graduation. For the background I used eight B&W "proofs" that I had taken of him as his high school senior portraits. I used a light coat of clear gesso on the photographs then tinted each picture with a different color Pan Pastel. I adhered these to a journal page and indicated the ups and downs with the "timeline" chart. The hand colored (with pastels) portrait on the bottom right was my favorite of the portrait series and it indicates the son I knew (and again now know). I cut the portrait into even 1/2-inch strips and adhered them down with spaces between strips to indicate the brokenness of this time in his life.
I initially titled the page "CLIMBING FOOL'S HILL" because my father-in-law calls ages 16-25 climbing fool's hill which was exactly our experience with our son. But I switched the title to A HOPE AND A FUTURE to reflect our prayer and confidence in God throughout this season. The title is based upon the verse of scripture by the prophet Jeremiah in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 29:11). All these years later it was helpful to put the ups and downs into perspective: to name the pain but also to celebrate the triumphs as he gradually climbed the hill and became the responsible young man that we knew he would one-day be. For the top layer I stenciled the Bible verse from Jeremiah 29:11. For some, the tedium of using a stencil is painfully annoying, but it is this tedium and slowness which helps to facilitate reflecting thinking. In other words, it is not just about doing the art but also (and equally important) about the thinking (and feeling) during the art process.This reflection/art process would work equally well to plot a vocational journey, marriage, or grieving process.
Draft out the timeline on scratch paper before putting into the art.
A portion of the timeline of the high school years.
Simple hand coloring with pastels. 

A portion of the timeline of the college years.