24 July 2010

By the Ocean, a circle accordion book

I have had a lot of fun doing a circle accordion book, although at the very end (it figures!) I am running into some unexpected issues, but I'm sure I'll come up with something, right?

To start with, I applied Daler Rowney FW acrylic inks to a 22x30" sheet of Arches 140-lb. watercolor paper using brushes. Towards the end I switched to a stencil brush and was happier with the results. I went a little darker overall than my original intention but managed to lighten it up & unify everything at the end by putting a layer of Silver Moss over all. For the most part, I used pearlescent inks but did use a bit of two regular ones for some contrast and increased interest. They mostly got covered over with the pearlescents but still served their purpose.

I then cut the strips up to make a cover and four strips of internal pages (finished book measures 6" tall by 5-1/2" wide). Took a little bit to work out some lines about how the ocean makes me feel--nothing to change the world but meaningful to me. Practiced my handwriting in a journal and then made moves to put the words in the book.

Here is where I have gone astray a bit! I did the responsible thing and put light pencil guidelines on the paper so my writing would be straight, and then I wrote with a Pigma Callipen, but it is NOT permanent ink. So when I went in to erase my pencil guidelines, the ink is disappearing too! Right now I'm deciding whether to go in and cover up the pencil lines with charcoal pencil, which actually might look pretty nice to ground the words, or go with the erasing effect and have it look like the tide coming in and erasing marks left on the sand.

Later . . .

I tried using a charcoal pencil on some of the scraps of paper and was not taken with the result, plus the thought of having to mess around with a fixative and even then I'd probably get facing pages rubbing onto each other . . . no, I think not. Plan B went into the effect with the eraser, and I LOVE IT! The ink looks better not being so black, but since I did it bottoms up on the words, it really does look like the sand and the sea breeze have been there working their magic on the scribblings. I know that the whole thing would probably be even better if I did add something to ground the words with, but I'm not confident I can do that without messing it up, and right now I like the overall effect of the words floating in the sea. So there.

All I need is some self-adhesive linen hinging tape to attach the pages together. Once that's done, I'll take pictures and post them up.

17 July 2010

Halfway through the Complex Collage Designated Shape lessons

After taking about 3 months to complete a single collage (a funeral, end-of-school activities, and then summer trips have considerably slowed me down), I am finally moving on to the second one in the wonderful & amazing online workshop by Julie Prichard and Chris Cozen called Complex Collage.

This is on an 8x8 gallery-wrapped canvas. First I added the 3 architectural blueprints (from a sheet bought from Finchley Paper Arts) with soft gel gloss medium. I knew that I wanted the background color to be Van Dyck Brown, but I was concerned that it would be too dark. So I have come up with a two-part solution to counteract that: dilute it considerably with Acrylic Glazing Liquid, and also lay down some gold gesso before painting on the Van Dyck Brown. That did such a wonderful job underneath the acrylic inks, and I am hoping for the same results here.

Later . . .

In the middle of the lesson, I added a drawing of a Green Man onto my canvas and then painted it (shown in attached image before painting, obviously). At this point, I'm not too happy with what I've got. Too much opaque paint (the red oxide, I think), and I want the man to be coming out of the shadows, and that is definitely not what is going on--there's no transition between the background and the image. I may have to post it where it is and ask for help.

14 July 2010

Life as Geometry: Shorts Book with Origami Pocket Envelope

Too much fun! While my son had his fencing lesson next door, I sat in an empty classroom and made a little book. Following Alisa Golden's excellent instructions in Expressive Handmade Books, I made a little Shorts Book out of notebook paper and colored a rainbow spiral on it (I could definitely see that making this with double-sided paper would be very attractive indeed).

Then at home this evening while watching the Tour de France (taped from this morning), I quickly wrote a few silly lines about circles and got enough for the four pages of the book. Took just a few minutes to write them in, and then about another five to cut a strip of paper from an oversized art calendar that my aunt Margaret gave me and fold an easy pocket to hold the book. I love it! Ms. Golden's folding instructions and accompanying diagrams never got me lost, and as I am quite spatially challenged, that's a feat worth mentioning.

The book style is preferable to the instant book I did earlier; the page thickness doesn't get in the way. Or perhaps that's because I was using such thin paper? I'll have to double-check that with thicker paper when I do one with more thought.

Running up a quick prototype--as that's what I viewed this as--was extremely useful. It will be a great example to show one's students why one needs guidelines on the paper for writing, it helped me decide which style of writing worked best within the book and with the words chosen, and I realized that I really needed to treat the facing pages as one long spread rather than separate pages (which would be my preference).

09 July 2010

Back from Vacation

Today the kids and I got back into town from a wonderful couple of weeks spent at my parents' place in rural Kansas. It is always a restorative trip for me and the children too. I never do get much time to actually do things of my own, so I have learned not to lug along a whole lot of stuff thinking I'm going to get to play more than at home, but I think the enforced break is a good thing. There is also usually a visit to either the Utrecht store or Creative Coldsnow's Westport location, both in Kansas City. I was quite pleased this visit to find the Golden Van Dyck Brown in fluid acrylics there, which I have been looking for--I know I could order it online, but it's just so much more fun to pick it up in a store and walk out with it.

As I said, I didn't get to play with actual materials much, but I did manage to find some time here and there to do some of the projects in Susan Tuttle's book Digital Expressions; the images with this blog post are a couple of the results. The building is the one-room schoolhouse that my grandfather attended as a boy; it's just down the road from my parents' farm. The other abstract image was lots of fun to play with, and there were no brushes to wash up afterwards!

I did spend some time thinking about what I want to do over the next few months and realized that I don't have any free time if I do everything. One decision I need to make is whether to sell any holiday cards this year. If I do, I need to get cracking on those, get them posted up on my shop site, and fulfill the orders pronto. I also have to decide if I'm really going to offer an after-school book arts class at my son's school in the fall. (I offered it halfway through the spring but it didn't make.) That's going to take some work to pull together as well.

Other projects in my pipeline are doing something with the painted papers I did before leaving on vacation and finishing the Renaissance triptych book that's been lurking for some time now. I also saw something in the latest Cloth Paper Scissors (I think) that I would like to send in an entry for--a book limited to no more than 6x6", if I remember correctly.

I was also contemplating what to do with the 7gypsies printer's tray I got recently (shame to let those Archiver's coupons go to waste, even if I don't know what I'm going to do with something yet), and I thought it might be fun to do some of the ideas from Mixed Media Self-Portraits and do one in each tray. That's a pretty large undertaking--unless I purposely made myself do it in time limitations. Guess it depends on why I decide to do the project--practice doing instead of thinking, or really delve into the self-portrait concept . . .

And on top of all those things, I forgot to mention that I wish to finish the projects in the online Complex Collage class that Julie Prichard & Chris Cozen are offering . . .

Much to think about, and much to do!