Summative, Visionary Imagination

Visionary Imagination Summative Entry

Visionary Imagination, as expressed in the work of William Blake, Patrick White and Brett Whiteley has given me a new way of seeing and understanding the world.

This unit has asked me to explore the concept of Visionary Imagination. Entering this unit, I had never previously heard of Visionary Imagination nor did I know what to expect from this unit. I had come across the name of William Blake in passing and knew he was connected to literature in some way or another and I had known of Brett Whiteley to be the wife of Wendy, the creator of Wendy’s Secret Garden in Sydney’s North, yet I had somehow never come across his art. Over the past 12 or so weeks I have had me delve into this concept of the Visionary Imagination head on, not only exploring what this concept is but also teaching me to understand the way it is expressed through the works of others and also how I too can express this concept within my own work.

In each there is one or two key pieces that sticks with me well after the unit is complete. In my last unit, American Literature, this was the work of Allen Ginsberg (specifically ‘Howl’). In this unit it has been William Blake’s ‘Nurses Song’ and Brett Whiteley’s ‘Alchemy’. As with the Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’, a longstanding favourite of mine, both these works are highly visual in the sense that whether they are read or viewed you are able to clearly imagine the visual scene explored within the piece. When studying both versions of Blake’s ‘Nurses Song’ I was able to clearly identify the two contrasting scenes he had created; the setting, the tone and the choice of words used for each. Not only did this create a visual for me, it helped me to understand different perspectives within texts that are both the same and also different and the ways in which these different perspectives can be presented.

Visiting Brett Whiteley’s studio was incredible. While I’m not usually a major fan of studying art, I was absolutely blown away by the sheer magnificence of Whiteley’s ‘Alchemy’. It is one thing to hear an artwork described, but to see the size and detail of the artwork in real person allowed me to understand the level of thought and planning that must have gone into its creation. I have never experienced intertextuality carried out so incredibly successfully within a piece prior to that day and it has really helped me to see how so many different things within our world can be connected and brought together in order to create one big story.

These two pieces I have written about along with the contents of my blog posts and the numerous discussions, readings and group performance work we have carried out so far in this unit have helped me to not only gain a deeper understanding of the concept of the Visionary Imagination, but they have also given me a deeper understanding of the world around me and the ways in which I view this world. I feel as though I am able to view the world in a different light and have improved on my ability to share these newfound understandings and perspectives with the world.

This unit has been an incredible journey and a wonderful end to my unit selections as an English major.

Peer Reviews, Visionary Imagination

Peer Review 4


I was really intrigued by the entry you wrote this week. It made me think back to a time years ago when I too would feel a sudden, odd rush off inspiration sweep over me and I would gather my old art diaries and scavenge for my brothers colouring pencils that were never actually in his schoolbag where they belonged and I would lay on my bed or my floor and draw and colour for hours. This was an odd experience for me as back then I was always a writer and a reader, not an artist of a visual variety. I feel as though you connected this sudden strike of inspiration with what we have learnt about the Visionary imagination really well and your image of your creation made a beautiful finishing touch to your entry. This was one that I have found I cannot fault and I hope this inspiration and imagination continues to strike.



Creative Posts, Visionary Imagination

Blog Post 5

CREATIVE – Imagine the character that lies behind this face:



When I imagine the character that lies behind this face, I think of a male in his middle ages. A man who is sitting down at the table after a long, exhausting day; his mug of tea in front of him has gone cold and he is oblivious to the sound of the wind and thunder outside which seems to represent his mood over the recent months. He is a man who has felt sorrow and heart attack, a man who has loved and lost. A man who has lost a pet, or a close friend, or even just a sense of direction. Despite this, he continues to push on, carrying out his work by day and coming home to sink into a deep state of thought and reflection of what once was. He does not let this sorrow take over entirely, his strength and determination will not let that happen. Instead, he embraces it in order to remind himself of what the world once was and what the world can be.

He sits on his lonesome like this for many hours before he spends the rest of the evening reading his historical books, listening to SBS radio and flicking through the most recent newspaper he still gets delivered to his door. From here he makes his way to a lonely bed and waits for morning to come where he wakes up just to do it all over again.

Creative Posts, Visionary Imagination

Blog Post 4

What Inspired you and/or what did you enjoy most about today’s visit to the Art Gallery of NSW and the Brett Whiteley Studio?

Overall, what I enjoyed most about yesterday’s excursion was being able to immerse myself within the art and gain a deeper understanding behind it all. My absolute favourite piece was definitely Brett Whiteley’s ‘Alchemy‘. I liked this piece instantly upon arrival, but as I listened to Michael speak in detail about the artwork I gained a much deeper understanding than I would have expected from a piece of art. I was truly so amazed by the level of detail and intertexuality that went into the work, especially that of Blake’s “grain of sand”; I would never have expected one to go as far as including an actual grain of sand within the piece.

download (1).jpeg
Brett Whiteley’s ‘Alchemy

At the Art Gallery of NSW I thoroughly enjoyed being able to walk around in a small group while observing and discussing Blake’s work. This allowed me to feel as though I did not have to rush through to allow space for many others to pass through and instead I was able to take my time thinking about each illustration and discussing the works with others.

As a student who has attended the Art Gallery of NSW numerous times before, I am thoroughly surprised by the level of enjoyment I found in the day and plan on once again visiting Brett Whiteley’s studio on a quieter (and slightly cooler) day in order hopefully take in even more than I initially did.

Peer Reviews, Visionary Imagination

Peer Review 3


You have written such a detailed reflection on Brett Whiteley’s ‘Alchemy‘ which would perfectly summarize the artwork for those who have never seen it. I feel as though it’s especially important to focus on the lights, photographs and intertextuality which have all been brought together in order to create this piece as they make the piece unique while also showing the complexity of Whiteley’s creation which helps to take us as viewers on a journey into his art.

I strongly agree with your opinions and interpretations throughout your post and I feel as though the images really help to add the finishing touch to your entry. The only ‘downfall’ I have to comment on is that in comparison to your extensive response regarding Whiteley, your reflection on Blake’s engravings felt as though they were quickly added onto the end of the post in order to reflect on the entire day. I feel as though it may have been more beneficial for you to focus more on the one aspect of the day that you feel as though you gained the most from. I love forward to reading your future entries.



Peer Reviews, Uncategorized, Visionary Imagination

Peer Review 2


I found you creative piece to be highly captivating. Your piece flows beautifully and the level of detail drew me into the story. I felt as though I could see and feel everything you said around me, but I feel as though an image of a burning fire or something else simplistic yet bright with ‘warm’ colours could help to enhance the visionary experience I gained as a reader. I also really liked your ‘dance with the devil’ phrase as this is a quote that is familiar with me which added onto the feelings I took away from your piece. I hope to see more creative pieces written by you in future.



Best Critical, Critical Posts, Visionary Imagination

Blog Post 3

CRITICAL – Take any of the songs that we explored today (Patti Smith and/or The Doors) and discuss how the song embodies a Blakean insight into human experience that is still relevant today.

Patti Smith’s ‘My Blakean Year‘ embodies a clear Blakean insight into human experience. This embodiment is made obvious through the title of her song, a direct link to Blake’s insight which she has related to today’s modern society through titling it about her year.

Throughout this year, Patti explores and learns of William Blake’s insights and in the opening of her song states, “In my Blakean year I was so disposed / Toward a mission yet unclear Advancing pole by pole”. This demonstates that she is embarkin on a journey with no set end goal in sight; the journey of her life. Throughout this journey she encounters numerous experiences which are not all positive, and “The pain of our existence Was not as [I] envisioned”.

Patti states that Blake’s life “was a testament of faith over strife. He suffered poverty humiliation and misunderstanding yet he continued to do his work and maintained a lifelong belief in his vision. He has served as a good example in facing my own difficulties and feeling a certain satisfaction in doing so”. Patti’s song explores this insight into the good and bad of the human experience as she reflects on her suffering and the joy she has found throughout her year. This is seen towards the end of the song where Patti repeats “So throw off your stupid cloak Embrace all that you fear / For joy shall conquer all despair in my Blakean year”. This perspective she holds in which she continues to move on through the joy and the fear and continue to experience life as it is demonstrates a Blakean insight and understanding into the human experience.