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Artists dig into their personal journey

On Monday night, watercolor paints, sketchpads, construction paper, and other art supplies were spread out on work tables in The Powerhouse. People were intently using these materials as light orchestral music floated through the space creating a soothing atmosphere.

At first glance, it was a bit unclear as to what was going on, but soon after, it all began to make sense.

This is the Image Journaling class and those in attendance were delving deep into their past and personal journeys for inspiration to create a multimedia book that combines writing with artwork and ultimately represents themselves.

Running weekly from Sept. 19 to Oct. 10 through the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, the class ends with every attendee walking away with their own meaningful piece of art to have as a keepsake.

The class, which is subtitled “Creative Renewal and the Inward Journey,” is taught by Constance Pierce, a longtime artist and art educator who has lived in Oxford for three years. She has been image-journaling for nearly 20.

Pierce finds that the process has calming qualities.

“There is something deeply, emotionally nourishing about creating, enhancing, sequencing and even recycling watercolors, monoprints, collages and sketches — as well as left-over scraps,” Pierce said. “Just allowing your mind to marinate in the colors, shapes and marks you are making is therapeutic.”

Pierce says that this form of journaling can be a healthy practice for the spirit.

“Responding with an open heart to the synchronistic and the unexpected, also offers a renewing effect to the soul,” she said. “The Image Journaling process can assist in navigating difficult life transitions, visualizing memoir and honoring the gift of self-care after an illness or personal loss.”

Pierce isn’t an Oxford native, but grew fond of the town during the ‘90s when she made frequent drives up while serving as a Visiting Artist at Millsaps College. She notes how her class sizes have grown since she first arrived. Aside from Image Journaling, she also teaches classes in sketchbook-keeping, figure drawing and watercolors at The Powerhouse.

“Oxford is a perfect setting for Image Journaling and my classes have grown ever since I arrived here three years ago. It doesn’t take long to fall in love with such a beautiful place,” Pierce said.

Her class on Monday night agreed and lauded Pierce along with the process of Image Journaling as a whole.

“She’s incredible,” Oxfordian and class member Susan Phillips said regarding Pierce, “we’re lucky to have h