Pairing habits


5-minute collage Monday–Try Using Calendar Images

It feels sometimes like we/I spend too much time setting goals and figuring out what we want to achieve. I think it is an obsession with our society and I think I think about it too much. I often wish I could live a simpler life without all the modern day distractions. A few days ago I read an article in the paper version of The Globe and Mail about there being a movement towards living a minimalist life unemcumbered by “conventional trappings of success,” aka the American dream–I think you can also call it the Canadian dream. As the article by Michael Posner reveals, this yearning for a simpler life has already manifested itself in the past from the Greek Epicureans to the counterculture communes of the 60s. Every once in a while movements repeat themselves.

What would a simpler life look like for me? I imagine it would take place around Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. There would be sun, water, volcanoes, meaningful work and meaningful interaction with the local population, art, and a simple abode (all this with my partner of course).


5-minute collage Tuesday–Try pink

This yearning to be in Guatemala emerges when I let it. Like right now, I am taking an online workshop with Lisa Sonora Beam. The workshop is called Creative + Practice. It’s not about making art, it’s about creating tools to map your path, but in a very visual way. I know what I just said above about goal setting, but life is full of contradictions. So far it feels like this course will help me get to where I want to be with less struggle. Where I want to be, I’m realizing, could just be a healthier state of mind. Anyways…I am learning to build habits that allow me to give proper thought and time to thinking about ‘where I want to go.’ For example, we do 2-minute timed writings where we respond to a prompt given to us by Lisa. Each week there’s a new prompt and you respond to the same prompt every day of that week. What happened serendipitously is that I decided to also do 5-minute collages as suggested by Randel Plowman in his book The Collage Workbook. Now, the 2-minute writings had to be paired with a current habit in my life so as to make it easier to make the new habit  happen. I do my quick writings after I get up in the morning–after I’ve had my coffee in bed. I then thought why not try the 5-minute collages for a week and pair them with the quick writing? And it worked, I did 5-minute collages every day this past week. Once it was built into another habit (the quick writing) it became only natural to do the quick collages next.

Get up + 2-minute writing + 5-minute collage

I see possibilities for small but significant successes.

The 5-minute collages have been an interesting experience of accidental discovery. I enjoyed trusting my intuition and seeing topics emerge. I got a few ideas on how to refine the exercise. Anyways, this is what emerged:


5-minute collage Wednesday–Try big text


5-minute collage Thursday–Try Green


5-minute collage Friday–Try newspaper headlines


5-minute collage Saturday–Try Colour and Fabric

5-minute collage Sunday

5-minute collage Sunday–Try Pattern

Comments are now closed for this article

  • Hi Laura – So glad you share this post about your work in Creative + Practice. Love how you also incorporated the 5-min. collage with it.

    I have that same pack of decorative paper, that you are using bits of in the lower right image. I loaded my suitcase with pretty paper when I visited the US last year.

    Question: do you have scraps of paper set aside for collaging, or do you include hunting for scraps and tearing those up in the 5 minutes? I’m always curious how people work. I’m not fast at all when it comes to collage, so I’d like to try this myself.

    Ah…Lago Atitlan. I was just thinking of a visit I made there back in 2004. There was a lady from El Salvador who had relocated there and had a little lakeside puesto with a few tables and umbrellas where she sold Pupusas. The name of the town is escaping me at the moment. It was the popular town that is a launch place for other villages.

  • Laura

    Hi Lisa, before I start a 5-minute collage I’ll look through what I have and pull out a few things that I think I’d like to work with at that seating. Then I start the timer. I do specific tearing during the five minutes. I do find myself working fast. I don’t always end up using everything nor do I end up using it the way I thought I would, so at the end it’s always a surprise.

    Yes I know which place you are referring to…it’s Panajachel!

    • Panahachel! Of course!

      Another collage question: how big is your notebook or paper size?

      Looking forward to seeing more in your portfolio section. 🙂

  • Laura

    Well, my sketchbook is big (11 by 14″) so I draw two 6″ squares on one page. I think I’ll experiment with a rectangular size next. I did some mail art on recipe cards and found it to be a nice format. I especially liked the tab that the cards had. I showed those in instagram and facebook but I’ll put them together in a post soon.

    Yikes, portfolio is down due to WordPress upgrade. Hopefully a hot fix will come soon.

  • These are beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve also been thinking about the simpler life. Since I deleted my facebook a while ago, I now long for a time with less technology and tethering to other people.

    • Laura

      Thanks for stopping by! Deleting your Facebook account is a big step! Seems silly to say that really but I haven’t done that yet just because I’m afraid I’d be missing on a marketing opportunity for my work. Essentially though, it is a lot of noise and time lost.

  • frannie

    This is FABULOUS !! Thanks for sharing. Frannie

  • Beka


    I am loving this idea of 5-minute collages alongside your quick write – came to you from Lisa’s class which I am doing in the present round. I think it may help me push out of my resistance to her other suggestions for adding visuals to my sketchbook so am going to experiment 🙂

    Have you heard of Tammy at Daisy Yellow’s Index-Card-A-Day challenge? I am thinking this process would be a great blending of the two – at least the format idea. I am not sure the prompts would marry so well with the idea of creative practice being that that is coming from ourselves unconsciously/intuitively.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing your idea – it has helped 🙂

    • Laura

      Hi Beka, that’s nice to hear! The way I do art journaling keeps on evolving. I am revisiting this post to reply to your comment and the nice thing is that by re-visiting this I find I need to get back to doing 5 minute collages. There is a nice simplicity to the 5 minute spontaneity–not too much overthinking. Good luck on your journey!