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December 31, 2010

Art Progress - 2010

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1. Maintain an artist journal - doing one page per day minimum - to include illustrated journal pages, travel sketches, skill practice pages, figure drawing, etc.

I did maintain my daily sketching, doing at least one journal page per day with only a rare "missed day." When I’m just too busy or tired to do one, I usually add two sketches the following day. And on sketchcrawl days and on days when I go to figure drawing I have as many as 19 sketches for the day.

2. Publish blog entries twice each week - share EDM challenges and other select pages in order to participate in an online art community.

I posted to my blog twice weekly almost every week and everyday in May - an ongoing project. I love my friendships which began because of my blog and continue to be amazed at how important it is for communication among like-minded people. This year I spent time with two EDM members - in person (Liz and Raena) and met 2 members of my Journal Study Group because of my blog. I stopped doing EDM challenges early this year and haven’t figured out why. It is probably a combination of having enough self-imposed challenges and exercises to do from some of the books I read monthly.

3. Attend Figure Drawing sessions at least 1-2 X /month. Try other tools and techniques during 20 minute poses.

I attended monthly figure drawing sessions at the Society of Illustrators and went twice during several months, especially to make up for their closure during August. The only new tool used was a blending stump - but I did sketch more faces on the figures, so I think I’m progressing.

4. Build More Art Skills: Prepare a schedule for working through my art technique library - resuming Dodson drawing book exercises this month. Copy the Masters in Museum exhibits locally.

At the beginning of the year I selected 12 books to work through monthly during the year - to learn new skills. And I completed every one! I decided to do this because I want to learn on my own, not through art classes and lessons, and it is perfect for me. I didn’t resume the Dodson drawing book. I’m stuck at the point that I need a live model in bright sunlight. However, I continue to work from the Master drawings in the galleries and museums here in NYC. These are the books I read:

January: Betty Edwards: Color: A Course in Mastering the Art of Mixing Colors

February:Cathy Johnson: Watercolor Tips and TechniquesFebruary:Hannah

Hinchman: A Life in HandFebruary:Barbara Steicher: Sketchbooking

March: John Raynes: Drawing and Painting People

April: David Rankin: Fast Sketching Techniques

May: Diana Trout: Journal Spilling

June: Gerald Brommer: Collage Techniques

July: Jeff Mellem Sketching People + ½ Carla Sonheim Drawing Lab

August: Linda Kemp: Watercolor Painting Outside the Lines

September: John Raynes: Figure Drawing Workbook

October: Melanie Tests: Inspired to Quilt

November: Second 1/2 Carla Sonheim Drawing Lab

December: North Light Books Staff: Sketchbook Confidential

5. Continue with Sketchcrawls, Meet-up Central Park Drawing Group, Journal Study Group to sketch NYC.

I have a wonderful group of friends to sketch with - the Central Park Drawing and Meet-Up Group that meets now twice each month (except during the coldest months), and my Journal Study Group. I also spent 3 days with EDM member Liz Steel who was visiting NYC from Australia and spent an afternoon sketching with Liz and Jason Das (Urban Sketcher).

6. Deal with my Internal Critic and Fear of Failure: Develop a strategy to fool my internal critic so I can continue to add to "My Apartment" journal. The journal and project need to be converted from "too precious" to a playful experience using some of the strategies I have copied and saved from my reading.

When EDM member Casey Toussaint was visiting me this summer, we discussed this common problem and challenged each other to do at least one more page in the sketch books that we made during our bookbinding class. I have now completed a total of 2. I have no problem using my other hand bound watercolor sketchbooks or plain watercolor paper or the Strathmore Visual Journals that I received from Rice Freeman Zachary as a "giveaway." There is something about the fact that the above mentioned precious sketchbook was made during my only bookbinding workshop and is as perfect as a sketchbook can be because of the equipment available.

7. PLAY: Try some new art tools - Schmincke watercolor paint triad, dip pens, Pentel pocket brush pen, oil pencils for figure drawing, etc

I have tried lots of new tools this year - Schminke watercolor paints in cool and warm triads, a Pentel pocket brush pen, a ruling pen, dip pens with several types of nibs, several types of paper, including Yupo, Neocolor II watercolor crayons, and Shiva paintstiks. I also learned how to make foam stamps and copied a master painting in stamps and learned how to make and use Thermofax screens. My art buddies challenged me to make a multimedia book using everything I owned - working in layers - and with many images per page and I completed a 16 page journal.

8. Bookbinding - continue to make watercolor journals for myself, trying different sizes and my own dye painted fabric as book cloth.

I learned how to make book cloth from my hand dyed and painted fabrics and made 7 watercolor sketchbooks for my daily journal. In addition, I made several other types of books including a hidden spine and Australian piano hinge book (both inspired by Gwen Diehn) and another recycled book for summer beach paintings.

9. Optional: Add to Theme Projects (London, NYC) - Try to complete some other pages in these 2 journals or just get over the angst of having two unfinished journals and move them to the "completed journals shelf"

I completed 11 pages in my NYC recycled sketchbook this year and I’m almost done with it! Most of my NYC sketches are in my regular daily sketchbook, because that is what I carry with me, so I will not make another NYC sketchbook when this one is done. I’m going to move my London book to the finished stack because I completed 3 fifty page sketchbooks during our many visits to London in 2006-7 and I really don’t enjoy sketching from my photos now that we are home.

10. Keep myself open to new projects and adventures. Be willing to "stretch" whenever the opportunity arises.

I think that this was easy to accomplish, because I was surrounded by such wonderfully creative friends and our Journal Study Group provided amazing inspiration and lots of sharing of specific skills. And as added inspiration, Gwen Diehn became an honorary member and spent full days with us when visiting her family in NYC.

August 29, 2010

Square Watercolor Journals

I never thought that I would LOVE a square watercolor journal, but Roz and Kate both talk about them regularly.  When Fabriano Artistico changed their watercolor paper from "grain long" to "grain short, " I made a square book that is approximately 7.5" square.  It takes 2 sheets (22 x 30") -without any waste - and it JUST fits in my mini-backpack  

I just made my second square journal.  The cover was made with cloth that I dye-painted with Procion MX dyes and fused toThai mulberry paper with Wonder Under.  The paper is FA 140 lb soft press extra white - 6 signatures with two folios per signature. 

FRONT COVER:

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BACK COVER:

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Since the book cloth is so "busy" I used Canson Mi Tientes for the end papers.

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I started making my own watercolor journals because I couldn't find any that I liked.  I took a 1 1/2 day workshop on making cased - in journals and now love making and using the journals.  There is lots of information and photos of many journals in the Bookbinding category on the right.

July 8, 2010

New Watercolor Sketchbooks

Moleskine lost a customer forever, when they ignored requests to make their watercolor journals in a portrait format in addition to a landscape format.  I now make all of my watercolor journal sketchbooks in a 6 X 8" size using 140 lb Fabriano Artistico soft press paper.  Recently I decided to make my own book cloth using fabric that I create with procion MX dyes.  Here is a picture of #5 and 6 in the series.

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The book cloth on the left was created using the pole-wrapped shibori technique.  The book cloth on the right was first dyed with thick procion MX dye - blue to green - and then stamped with one of my newly made fun foam stamps using a darker color dye.  The cotton cloth was then fused with 45 gm Thai mulberry paper using Wonder Under.

The covers of this new series of journal sketchbooks are so "busy" that I used solid color Mi Tientes paper for the end papers.  There are so many colors available that I can always find one that I like.  And the weight of the paper is perfect.

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More Bookbinding:  Our small Journal Study Group made Tag Books at our meeting in June.  I made one previously, based on a Gwen Diehn design, and we used the same method to make these.  The books hold many shipping tags which are  our "Art Trading Card" equivalent.  When we are working together, everyone needs to make enough of the same tags to give to each other.

These are the books we made:

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June 14, 2010

The End of my Mixed Media Journal

I am uploading the last 2 page spread, acknowledgements, and the back cover of my mixed media journal.  It was a great project and I'm already making another one of these 8 X 10" watercolor paper journals, although I'm not sure how often I will work in it. 

Single Page Plus back of Rear Flap: 

Over the past several years, I celebrated my love of coffee while doing Every Day Matter weekly challenges.  It seemed like the perfect topic to use to finish this play project.  The collages were scanned, printed, and cut out from sketchbook pages that show how many ways we have to make coffee at home.  The square stamp is actually 4 small square stamps of different sizes that can be combined using different stamp inks.

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Inside Back Cover and Back Cover Flap:

I wrote myself a long note about the circumstances of this challenge by Melly and Pat, and my process and the fun that I had.  I decided that I definitely needed to acknowledge my muses and used pieces of a photo of the 3 of us on a recent field trip to see Art Quilts at the Morris Museum.

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The Back Cover:

I looked up the 3 Graces and the mytholocial muses and decided that this was a perfect image for my back cover.  I previously did the drawing in the Greek and Roman Galleries at the Met, and scanned, printed, and collaged it to this page.

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This was a fun project, and an interesting watercolor journal to use.  I made it from Teesha Moore's YouTube video of the 16 page journal (really 12 pages plus flaps which are slightly narrower).

June 6, 2010

A New Project

My art buddies brought their sketchbooks to the Met when we went to see the Picasso exhibit and I told them how much I loved their mixed media pages.  Melly said - try it, put more than one thing on a page.  Pat said add layers, many layers.  I had an 8 X 10" journal that I made from Teesha Moore's 16 Page Journal You Tube video several weeks ago so I decided to use it and to accept their challenges.  However, I wanted to make collages from my own sketchbook pages and add at least one new drawing to each page.  

I pulled out all of my random art supplies and played for one week - just letting the pages evolve from printed sketchbook pages.  Here is the front cover, and the first 2 pages.  The collage painting on the cover was from the Poiret Fashion Exhibit at the Met and she reminded me of a muse.  The Picasso page has several of his Barcelona artist caricatures collaged in one of the layers and a Picasso inspired drawing on top.  My Maternite page has several of my pregnant model stamp images which I cut out and added as collages and the drawing of mother and child on top.  Both drawings were done with acrylic ink and a dip pen.

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 The next page is a double spread and will need to be photographed, not scanned, so I will probably add it within the next few days.

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