Tag Archives: Mixed Media

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.

 

 

 

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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.

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.

Journal Play

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Now that I’ve finished the artist’s book project – I’ve been cleaning up my studio room, and playing with paint and some fire in my daily art journal (which is rarely daily!)  I have a sheet of heavy paper that has strings running through it, and after I finished this profile sketch I decided to cut some holes in a strip of the paper, but the holes were too uniform so I lit a candle and held the hole over the flame for a second to burn the edges – I think it was just what I wanted to happen.  Before I did the sketch I had pasted down a bunch of leftover “aged” paper from the book project.  I love the brown color.  That little face upper left was a paint blob that I had to draw in.

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This was the same background, but I painted indigo blue watercolor over it.  I used the cutout circles from the strip I burned.  I don’t know what kind of paper it is, but I’ve had it forever and now I wish I had more of it, but I’ve no idea what its called.  If anyone knows, please let me know.  Its a natural color, heavy wt, but soft, and there are vertical and horizontal threads running through it.  It burns pretty quickly too!

These pages are 8.5 x 6 inches.  Handmade watercolor paper, about 200 lb.  Made in India.  Its very bumpy so it isn’t very good for drawing, but its very nice for watercolor and gouache.  Paint puddles and runs creating interesting patterns.  I used oil pastel, pencil and some brown and some blue watercolor for the sketches.

Placing Out in America – The Orphan Trains — an Artist’s Book

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I have finally finished my book “Placing Out in America.”  This is the front of the book.  I used a little piece of rusted screen to create the window with the flag showing through it.

This was quite a project for me, and very different from my usual type of art.  Mostly because I was not using any drawings or paintings of my own, but found objects, and old photos.  I collect old photographs mainly based on the expression of the face.  I have a lot of children, they tell such a story with their faces.

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I tried to age all the paper used, including the found objects.  I loved finding this little flag, and tea dyed it and cut off the stars to indicate the year 1854.

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This is what I placed under the flag.  An old piece of  handmade quilt, completely in tatters.  I thought it indicated the longing for comfort and for a home.

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This is what is under the quilt, a notice of distribution, which seemed a cold term to me.  “The distribution of the children …”

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Here I used paste paper I ran through my printer  to print a scanned photograph directly onto the paste paper.  Also a piece from a gelatin print with rows of little houses, and a corrugated cardboard from a light bulb box to fashion a collaged house– found objects!

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These pages look crooked, but they really aren’t.

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I enjoyed manipulating the old photos making them come  to the forefront by how I built the layers of collage beneath. The train is printed directly onto paste paper.  I used a little gel transfer also – but for some reason none of them came out very well so I gave up. That’s a St Christopher medal hanging above the children standing in line.

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I used silhouettes whenever I wanted to fill in with something on the page.  The little tags with numbers represent the numbers the children were given so they could be identified to potential families.

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If you haven’t heard of the Orphan Trains, it is a real part of American history.  The trains ran from 1854 until 1929.  The Children’s Aid Society was formed in 1853 to take some of the homeless children off the streets of New York City.  Unfortunately there were more children than resources available and the idea of shipping these “unwanted” children to rural America and finding families for them was born.  The trains began running in 1854.

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The last page in the book is only a half width page – I liked how the pages on either side looked so I left it half page width.

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The scrap of fabric under the little wallet is a piece of flour sack print.  I liked how the wallet said “Don’t Forget.”  All these small drawers of small things do eventually find a use!

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Outside back of book.  I used a copy of one of my own paintings and cut the figures out.  I thought they looked like they belonged with the rest of the children.