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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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“Spontaneous intuitive painting” with Eastern’s Academy of Lifelong Learning 

Audra Gullquist
Participants at Easterm’s Spontaneous Intuitive Painting on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Doudna Fine Arts Center at Eastern Illinois University.

Eastern’s Academy of Lifelong Learning hosted a “No Fear” paper collage class on Thursday in the Doudna Fine Arts Center. The goal of the class was to teach students how to deviate from the typical fears and anxieties that come with creating art.   

Daniel Douglas, Academy coordinator, organized the event, while painter, Jan Von Bokel, led the class.   

Jan Von Bokel summarized the class as, “spontaneous intuitive painting. We try not to have any preconceived ideas before we start to paint from our hearts.” 

The class consisted of four participants that paid a $45 fee to attend. The fee covered the cost for all materials, such as the craft paper, paints and plastic sheet that was used for their backgrounds. Students had the opportunity to create two to four collages during the three-hour event. 

Von Bokel encouraged the class to use several different papers, stencils, textures, brushes and materials to create their unique art. She instructed them to crinkle up their craft paper, give it some texture, paint it and add it to their base.  

Emily Strawn, the Academy’s office manager, stated that the class drew inspiration from one another as they developed their collage.

“We kind of took our own ideas from everybody else, so it was really cool to kind of see what everybody else did and take those ideas and be like ‘I like that. That’s not for me, so I love that you’re doing that and I’m going to do this and then find some other ideas I can bring back to my own,” Strawn said.  

Strawn personally used postcards to create her collage but stated that there is a large variety of mediums and sources that can be used during this process. She also mentioned that the key to making a collage is adding several papers on top of the base to create texture and depth. 

Academy board member, Shelley Crouch, tries to attend as many events the Academy hosts as possible.

“Staying active and doing things that challenge you in different ways keeps you young, or involved or something,” Crouch said.

Von Bokel was an ideal choice to lead the class, due to her extensive history with art. She stated that she has been painting for 70 years.

“I don’t remember not doing it,” she said. “My mom and dad weren’t professional artists or anything but they were creative and they were always painting.” 

Von Bokel spends most of her time teaching art therapy to the developmentally handicapped at Community Support Systems (CSS) in Teutopolis. The department is mainly funded through an annual event they host in which they auction off the students’ art. They managed to gain over $25,000 at this year’s event.  

Bokel and her art can also be found at The Vault Gallery in Tuscola.

“If you’re trying to track me down, we do classes there too,” she said.“It’s a pretty cool place if you haven’t had the chance to go there. It’s an art Co-Op, we are all part owners of it. There’s at least 35 artists now so there’s a nice variety. But we have ongoing classes and we celebrated our 10th anniversary last weekend. It was packed and we were so thankful because through COVID and being closed down and everything. It’s been a struggle to get it back up there again. But it turned out wonderful.” 

 The Academy and Von Bokel hope to work together again soon. Von Bokel mentioned that there has been talk of possibly planning a landscaping art class some time during the spring semester.  


Audra Gullquist can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]


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About the Contributor
Audra Gullquist
Audra Gullquist, Assistant News Editor
Audra Gullquist is a junior journalism major. She previously served as editor-in-chief at The Navigator.

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