Valerie Sjodin 2011
   I just finished this cover of a new visual prayer journal. I tried something new to me: gluing down a magazine image of a painting as part of my cover. The painting is by Frank Benson, an impressionist whose paintings take me to the beach in all its sunny glory. This is my favorite of his. I can relate to the girl looking out for something more. I have three sisters, so when I first saw it years ago, it struck a relational note. 
   This journal is the fourth one of its kind. In the past year I found I use two types of blank books consistently, this type, or a spiral bound blank book without lines. This blank book is from It’s inexpensive, although shipping and handling are a bit spendy so I order in bulk. The cover receives wet media. I usually give it a coat of matte medium or gesso first. The inside pages are not suitable for wet media, but they take any drawing media quite well and have a good weight, somewhere between card stock and copy paper.
   I have this replica of a small medieval book of hours I bought at a used book store. A few pages are shown below. It’s title is: The Master of Mary of Burgundy, A book of Hours. I often find myself looking through it at night before I go to bed. Illuminated manuscripts fascinate and inspire me. For me they express the combination of meaningful, usually spiritual text with intricate and visual expression. This one combines small paintings with decoration, knot work, both realistic and symbolic. It inspired me to venture out to mix doodling with an image of a painting. Now I’m wondering if it would work on pages if I made small copies of my own paintings and then added text, doodling etc. 


book-of-hours-david-the-lionthe above three spreads are from: The Master of Mary of Burgundy, A Book of Hours
top image & text copyright Valerie Sjodin 2011


  1. Thanks so much for posting all of this…

    I, too, love coming across old illuminated texts. I found a book of Psalms that were hand written and illustrated with the local flora and fauna of India, where the missionary who created the book was living. His children found the manuscript and published it after his death…I treasure it…I love your idea of creating personal versions…


  2. I love the cover of your visual journal… so amazingly beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Hugs and many blessings

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