Tag Archives: Handmade Books

Sketchbook Abstractions and ‘Strangelings’

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I continue to move paint around in my sketchbook – now I’m adding drawings on top of the background paintings.  Nothing serious — just moving the paint and charcoal around — if things are out of proportion, good!

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A Strangeling with his red heart on view.  Acrylic, charcoal.

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An angel standing on the sun.  I loved painting this sphere so I did it again on another page.

 

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I’ve been trying these matte acrylics put out by Dick Blick.  I really like them for journal work, but they might be too flat looking for paintings.

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Another little stranger wearing woad! haha.

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The background painting is fun to do.  I did this one by painting one side and laying the top page over it to create a print.  Then I drew in the figure with charcoal.

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This angry looking stranger didn’t warrant filling in with paint.  Just a charcoal drawing.

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This strangeling may be off-putting to some, but he has a pleasant demeanor, really!

I’m thinking summer has arrived in Portland – the cottonwoods are blooming or whatever it is that they do, and the air is allergy inducing!  I’ve been spending my days sewing myself some new summer things to wear.  Haven’t done that in a very long time!  My evenings I’ve spent painting these strangelings, or maybe they are changelings.  They do appear somewhat mysterious.  I haven’t been posting much this last year – life just hasn’t been very creative — but I’m always thinking.  Maybe my dry spell has worked itself out and I will soon be turning out canvases again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Journals, Sketchbooks, Workbooks

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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

Small Things of Wonder

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Moths bumping against the screen on a summer night.  Seeking the light from indoors.  What does it look like to them?  Is it a bright star they are mysteriously drawn to?Moment in Time 002

I’ve been working on another handmade book – a smaller project than the last one.  Was thinking about the little moments in-between the spaces of our lives. The small transitory and easily forgotten things we see in a blink and file away to be remembered or forgotten, but none-the-less, recorded by our brains.

This book is made mostly of recycled materials.  I used recycled paper from cardboard boxes that I soaked in water until I could strip the paper from the corrugated box sides.  Its a really nice heavy brown paper, that takes a lot of water and rubbing and sewing into without buckling or tearing.  I’ve had these small pieces saved in a box for the longest time – but I knew I would find a way to use them eventually!

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Found objects , leaves, stones, twigs, old pieces of darning…whatever seems right at the moment.  I’m sewing the pages together and binding it with cardboard backing.  For the backgrounds I’m using mostly watercolors and oil pastels – my two favorite mediums.  I’ve only completed a few pages which I’m sharing with you today.  I drew the moths on some scrap papers leftover from the last project.  I bought the bunny at a flea market – I think its from an old cuckoo clock.  He has a nice little red bead for an eye.

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The mountains were made from the paint over edges when I made paste papers.  They were the papers laying on the work surface to protect the surface from the paint.  I’d torn a piece from the edge and folded it down so it was the white torn side against the paste paper over brushing and I thought it looked like mountains.  I glued it over the scraps of over brushing, and painted it in blue, purple, and gray. I think it does look like mountains in the background, and strata in the foreground. I outlined the torn edges a little so they would show up more.

I’ve still got more to do – more to color  and layer over the brown base.

New project

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Putting together a new project!  A handmade artist’s book called “Placing Out in America.”  I’m using collage, gelatin monoprint, paste paper, old photographs, gel image transfers, and found objects – oil pastels, acrylic, watercolor.

This is about the seventy-five year history of the largest migration of minor children in the history of the world, and its popularly known as the Orphan Trains.  The history is astounding in our modern age of child protection laws, privacy, and legal adoption.  Children were placed out by the Children’s Aid Society of New York City, and The Foundling Asylum later called the Foundling Hospital of the Sisters of Charity in New York.  There was no legal adoption; anyone who wanted to take a child into their home was interviewed and the child was signed over for a period of a 90 day trial, after 90-days if there were no complaints, the child became their legal property.  Most children were placed hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their New York City homes into the farm country of rural America.

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I am having trouble with the gel image transfers coming away cleanly.  I’ve used this technique before with good results, but this time I am not getting such good results – however, I’ve decided to use them as it seems to work okay with this project.

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Many of the children were immigrants and had survived the trip to America only to have their parents unable to care for them once they arrived.  Poverty, destitution and death left many of the children orphaned.  The Children’s Aid Society rounded up children from the streets of New York City from 1853 through 1929 and placed them out to the rural farmlands in America by train.