Category Archives: Artist’s Books

Stamping into Spring!

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I’ve been trying my hand at stamp making by carving the stamping material rubbery stuff called “easy-cut” or “quick-cut” made by Speedball.  Its very simple really just draw something onto the rubbery stuff and then use a small tool to carve out the lines!  Pretty easy!

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This is the actual carved stamp.  I used both types of carving material and this one is the white kind and it is very crumbly as you carve – but the crumbles seem to add a little depth to the stamped picture.

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These are the tools I used.  You can see the different sized blades.  These tools come with a set of blades in the handle, and you just unscrew the plastic cap on the end to take them out.  The fit into the other end which has a chuck that you can inset the blade into.  I didn’t want to keep changing the blades so I got three sets  and I can just leave them set up to go.

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This was my original drawing for the standing bunny – nothing complicated!

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I used the pink material for the duck.  Its much firmer, and doesn’t crumble.  Its very smooth.  The pink is the stamp, the image on the right is the printing of the stamp.  I just spread some Speedball water based print ink on a plastic pallet, put the stamp on it face down, and then lifted the stamp and lay a piece of printing paper over the inked stamp  and pressed it with my fingers.

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A funny little star clown!

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Jack Rabbit.  This one with more lines, some carved background, getting fancier here!

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A very simple sunflower.  I didn’t carve any background lines and I can go back in a cut away the plain space and turn it into just a sunflower stamp by itself, no background or block around it.

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A simple leaf shape which I intend to carve away the space around it to make it just the leaf shape by itself, and then it could be used as a border on a journal page or something like that.

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Journals, Sketchbooks, Workbooks

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Workbooks 2014 007

I’ve been making sketchbooks, or what I call workbooks, from leftover papers I’ve had sitting around for years.  I’m not very good at coptic binding, but I like how this binding method allows the book to lay flat when open.  There is room for improvement in my technique!

I’ve started to play with paint in the first one with the painted cover. The cover is heavy watercolor paper that I happened to have some leftover scraps. It’s about 8×12 inches. That’s as big as I like to go with journals. It has about 64 pages, counting both sides. I’m calling it “Abstractions” because I am just playing around with color and shapes.  I don’t like to use more than about 64 pages  per book – I seem to get overwhelmed artwise when there  too many blank pages!  That’s why its nice to make your own, you can choose size, paper, etc.

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This is the one in the middle – about 6 x 10 inches.  I used brown paper called “bogus rough” and gray tone paper.  It has about 64 pages counting both sides of each page.  The cover is 140# watercolor paper, which I will paint when I decide what I’ll use the journal for.

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This is the one on the right.  Its tall and narrow – due to leftover paper sizes.  You can see how nice and flat they stay open!  It has a cover made from the back of a used purchased sketch pad.

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Here’s what’s happening inside the first book.  I’m using acrylics on gesso coated brown pages.

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I wish acrylics were’nt so shiny, but they’re great for journals because they dry fast.  Sometimes the pages do stick together a little bit.  But for now, I’m just painting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sacred Life of Trees – artist’s book – Illahe Gallery in Ashland

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The Sacred Life of Trees – artist’s book – Illahe Gallery in Ashland

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9×10 inches.  140 # watercolor paper with muslin glued to surface of pages.  Watercolor, acrylic, oil pastel, graphite, collage.

The Sacred Life of Trees an artist’s book I created from an idea I had about how much I love trees, and how much everyone values and loves trees.  It seems, from my research, that trees have been a source of mystery from the beginning of time.  I wanted to do a more in depth study, but was unable to complete the whole thing in time for the Illahe Gallery Invitational Artist’s Book Exhibit in Ashland, Oregon!  So I concentrated on the most loved concepts of sacred trees.

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Double page spread.

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The Tree of Life with a guarding snake, and golden fruit!

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The Apple Tree – worshipped by ancient celtic cultures for the bounty of her fruit.  Some think it was an apple tree that instigated the downfall of man in the Garden of Eden!  Maybe, maybe not.  But she is lovely!

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The quiet little Hazel Tree – also bearing life sustaining nuts.   The hazel was considered by the ancient celts to be a magical tree.  Her wood is used for making dowsing rods to find water.  A hazel wand is very strong – be sure to thank her if you take her branches!

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The Ogham is an ancient celtic alphabet – often referred to as the Celtic Tree Alphabet.  The marks were made vertically on standing stones, many of which, are still standing in Scotland, Ireland, England.  They are read vertically from the bottom up.  I have written the Ogham name for each tree on the right hand bottom side of the drawing.

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The beautiful Willow Tree – known as the Lady of the Moon.

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The Birch Tree – Lady of the Wood.

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The Oak Tree – royalty of all trees.  Very strong, long lived, the king of trees, in this case the queen!

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The sacred Hawthorn Tree – the wand made from a hawthorn twig is truly magical.  The ancient celts believed the tree to have healing qualities, as well.  If a hawthorn self seeded next to a natural spring it was believed that dipping a scrap from a piece of clothing in the water and tying it to the tree would bring good health, and good luck.  Many of these are still honored in this way in the celtic countries and are laden with odd scraps of cloth.  They are known in Scotland as a ‘Clootie Tree’.  A clootie is a scrap of cloth.

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Final page with a verse from Loreena McKennitt.

I apologize for the lack of quality in these photographs.  The finished product really does look better than this.

 

 

 

On My Work Table

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I have been creating patterns on fabric with rust.  I mostly used steel wool in a half and half solution of apple cider vinegar and water.  Before the steel wool fully rusted I dipped the linen into the solution and got the lovely soft gray color.  Then I lay a piece of the steel wool on it to create the subtle color change.  After the steel wool rusted I took out pieces of it and lay it on the wet muslin after a few hours the patterns shown are the result! I’m using the rusted pieces of muslin and linen for the pages of a handmade book.  Gluing them down to folded heavy watercolor paper to create signatures for a handmade book.  I intend to incorporate the rust patterns into the pages, although that didn’t happen below.

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This is one of the pages I’ve created for my book, I’m calling it “The Sacred Life of Trees.”  Using watercolor, oil pastel, pen and ink for 12 original drawings depicting the spirit that humans have given to trees through folklore, religion, and daily life.  The letter “A” is painted in bright gold paint.  I like the kind of medieval look of the gold paint – kind of like an illustrated manuscript. This is my first page so I may discard and have a “do-over.” haha

I’m creating the book for the book arts exhibit at the Illahe Gallery in Ashland, Oregon in April for their Fifth Annual Artist Books Invitational and Printmakers; Also, the “Community Press” work by community members. First Friday Art Walk April 4, 5:00 to 8:00 PM

Sketchbook Pages

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I have been working sporadically in a thin sketch book – hoping it wouldn’t be so daunting to fill up the pages.  I seem to have lost momentum this year, and have very little to show for myself for 2013.  I can’t say specifically what the problem is, because I honestly don’t know.  Whatever it is, I hope is works itself out soon and I will emerge with a more clear idea of what I want to say in my art.  For now I jump all around and and envy everyone else for their ability to concentrate, to produce, and to know what they want!  Watercolor, charcoal, graphite.

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The summer Crow Wars seemed to have calmed down a little with the beginning of autumn.  They fought like crazy all summer, often leaving small caches of feathers beneath my deck.  The sparrows fought with them, the jays fought with them, and the crows fought with vocal curses at one another all through the sky- blue days of summer. Watercolor and graphite.

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I don’t know what this is about – just some sadness that came over me one evening and stayed around until I sketched this out. Charcoal and watercolor.

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The Fawn’s Child.  Pastel, oil pastel, graphite.  Sometime I try to imagine what it would be like to live outside all the time.  To know the darkness as well as I know the circles of cast light in my house.  To know time through the seasons of the earth.  It seems so magical, so impossible with all our contrived conveniences and measured time.  But still, I can imagine a great unknown forest with creatures defined by that space.

Journeys,Unknown

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I have finally finished my little handmade recycled book.  I’ve called it “Journeys, Unknown.”  I used a cardboard box for most of the structure of this book.  I cut the box into smaller pieces and soaked those pieces in water and removed the brown paper layers and smoothed them out to dry.  Once dry, they were very nice flat heavy weight pieces of paper.  I saved them in a drawer for about a year, and then had an idea of how to use them!   I’ve used scraps of paper left over from other projects, found objects, leaves, twigs, stones, fabric, and broken crockery.

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This is the cover.  I made it from a piece of cardboard I cut from a box.  The little broken ceramic leaf was a small dish my daughter saved for me after one of her dogs swept it from a table and it broke.  She knew, as she said, that I would find a use for it!

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The back of the front cover.  A mushroom print I made on an old book page a few years ago one hot summer when I lived in Bend.  Another daughter and I went to the grocery and bought some large mushrooms and put them on pieces of paper, caps down, and left them for a few days.  This was the resulting print!  My computer is not processing the colors correctly, but you get the idea!

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Page 1 – I shared this previously.  A little carved rabbit, probably from some cuckoo clock I think.

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Page 2.

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Page 3 A.  A leaf I saved from my garden several summer’s ago.  I save them in a big book of Shakespeare.  This one was so thin, I tore it a little when I stuck it down.

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Page 3 B.  A couple of poplar leaves from Shakespeare.  Page 4.  A Gelatin print I did using a fossil saved from Fogarty Creek beach in Oregon.

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Page 5.  My favorite place.  The sea.  “…the sea whispers a cradlesong”

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Overlay leaf for page 6A.  I bought these years ago at some dollar store.  They were intended to us as a liner on plates for placing cheese upon.  They don’t glue down very well, and they don’t take printing on – so I glued the edges into a folded piece of brown paper and will sew them through the brown paper when I bind the book.

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Page 6 A.  A skeleton leaf my daughter sent me when I lived in Bend.  My daughters are always saving small things for me to use in my art.  The leaf is so delicate its like a fragment of lace.

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Pages 6 B Water over stones.

Page 7.  Recycled pieces of fabric, buttons and paper.  Darning is so beautiful to me in it’s utilitarian form , practical; but as art as well. “Darning our lives together with thread pilfered from our dreams…”

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Page 8.  Some scraps from leftover painted paper edges, torn into mountains, sky and foreground.

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Page 9.  Moths knocking against the screen on a summer night. “The moths have come calling, leaving their silver at the door.”

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Page 10 and page 11. “And the moth-hour went from the fields…” w b yeats.

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Page 12.  Seed pods and birds traveling on their unknown journeys.

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Another leaf overlay covers page 13.

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Page 13 and page 14 A.

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Page 14 B.

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Page 14 C .

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Page 15.  A copy of an old sketch I did and printed onto a piece of bright green vellum.

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Page 16.  These small journeys we travel without knowing where they may lead us; these journeys that connect us to one another, and to the greater mystery of nature.