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November 24, 2012

Making New Artists' Books

Our Journal Study Group met at my apartment a week ago and made wonderful little Origami Tag Books.  The method was published by Lenna Andrews Foster in Artitude zine (issue 14 - maybe available on Etsy).  From left to right:  the busy artists are Pat, Teri, and Benedicte.

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Pat made one of these books several years ago and offered to teach us the method.  She made a new one while teaching us, so we were all very busy talking, laughing, cutting, folding, gluing, stamping, and writing.

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I needed to make 3 tags per page for a total of 21.  These were cut from card stock, painted with a variety of metallic paints, and then stamped.

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Here is a photo of my completed book - which measures 3.25 by 3.25 inches.

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These are the origami folded pages - which I stamped with my handmade fun foam stamps and gold metallic ink.  Along the edges I wrote the words from the beginning of "T'was the Night Before Christmas." 

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Each of us gathered materials from our stash, as our goals for the day were to learn the process.  Pat used her old monotypes.  Teri added collages to each page.  Benedicte stamped over every square inch of her pages using a lovely leaf stamp.  At this angle you can see my stamps and just a little of my gold pen writing.

The book can be opened completely and tied in a star shape.  A smaller book, with fewer tags, would make a lovely Christmas tree ornament.

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Here are the 4 finished books.  From left to right:  Pat's, Teri's, Benedicte's, and mine. 

 

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I would love to figure out how to add watercolor paintings to the pages, but I need to experiment with different weight watercolor paper. 

October 6, 2012

Berlin, Prague, and Budapest

We are going to Berlin, Prague, and Budapest this month and I recycled an old $2.00 book to use as my watercolor sketchbook.  I searched for an old book that had some theme that would relate to our trip, but wasn't sure how to connect these places.  At the first used book store, on the first cart, I found a book called Lili Marlene.  It is a wonderful historical book about the song that became the most famous song of World World II.

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The words were written by a young German soldier, while on sentry duty during WWI.  The famous score was written many years later, and the song as we know it was played nightly by the Nazi Radio Belgrade.  The radio station could be heard by both the axis and allied soldiers, and all of them turned on their radios nightly before bed to hear Lale Anderson and then Marlene Dietrich sing Lili Marlene.

I loved reading the book before replacing the page block with watercolor paper.  I used some of the photos and drawings to collage a spread to document my inspiration for selecting this book for my trip.  My method for making recycled books can be seen in this 4 part tutorial.

 

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Several pages were already painted for our trip.  It helps me get into the sketchbook more easily as soon as we arrive at the airport.

A sample of the art supplies and palette that I will bring.  I actually have gold, silver and white Signo pens and 4 Niji waterbrushes in my pencil case. 

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One page that I prepared for a small 2 x 2" highlight drawing for each day.  It is so much fun to see these pages at the end of each of my trips.

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One page from calendar grid that I will complete each day:

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The completed  2x2 drawings and calendar from our trip to Venice can be seen here in my completed Venice Sketchbook blog entries.

September 28, 2012

Fun Day in Art Supply and Second Hand Book Stores

Last week my visitor Kathy and I spent the day searching for books to recycle as watercolor sketchbooks and browsing for art supplies.  It was great fun and very successful.  I taught Kathy how to make a watercolor sketchbook during her visit last year using the tutorial that I prepared for this blog. 

One of the used books she bought has wonderful ink drawings of houseplants, one of which I used to do this painting of the pot and plant. I don't have any green paints on my Winsor-Newton watercolor palette, but have 3 yellows and 3 blues, meaning I can mix 9 different greens.  I plan to systematically mix all 9 and make a card for my sketchbook since I can never remember which I like best.

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We went to Utrecht and Dick Blick and both of us found supplies we couldn't live without.  This is a quick drawing of most of my purchases.  Dick Blick was having a "Madness Sale" and I was delighted to find a Gelliart plate to make monoprints and a set of Lumiere paints for fabric.  I love painting and dying cloth to make book cloth for my watercolor sketchbooks.

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July 2, 2012

Making A Second Venice Sketchbook

I didn't start sketching and painting with watercolors until 2003. 

Before going on our recent vacation to Venice, I painted some iconic Venice sights from my 2002 Venice photos.  I accordion-folded two 6" by 30" strips of watercolor paper and slowly painted 16 images - using both sides of each strip.

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I'm thrilled that I did these pre-trip paintings because while in Venice I was comfortable just doing quick sketches based on our activities.  I've posted many of those travel sketchbook pages on my blog in the last month.  Those sketches, done in the moment, really are my memories of our recent trip. 

This week I decided to make my "pre-paintings" into a small book.  I tore each accordion strip into two folios (4 total) and stitched them together as 4 signatures (16 pages).   The end papers are a commercial Venice printed paper and the cover is black Tex Libris book cloth.  The book is 7 7/8" wide by 6 1/4" high.

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May 11, 2012

Venice 2012

We will be leaving for our Venice vacation within the next few days.  I'm obviously very excited to be returning there to celebrate yet another wedding anniversary with my husband and friends.

I recycled a book called Italian Dreams this winter and posted a tutorial for bookbinding on this blog.  And I did some watercolor paintings from photos from my 2002 trip to Venice to get my brain, eyes, and fingers ready for my travel sketchbook.

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This week I started to put entries into my travel sketchbook.  I love to have pages already done by the time we arrive, making it easier to just continue filling the book.

The first page is a tribute to Mari Le Glatin Keis. Here are the powerful ideas that I took from her book and added to my first page.

The Art of Travel With a Sketchbook

Sketching is not about doing "good" drawings or paintings. It is about being in the moment, about putting aside expectations and judgment and letting the hand record what the eyes see with whatever tool you have available.

It is not the aesthetic. It is only about the experience!

Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to be fully in the moment.

In sketching, there is no expectation, no performance, no good or bad. There is just the pure pleasure of describing life as it is. Trust yourself and play. Behind every page , there is a moment, an emotion. No matter how "good" or realistic your rendering is, a simple line or color will bring you right back in the moment. You will be able to see, hear, feel, and smell....Instead of saying "I like this page," I say, "I loved this day."

Mari Le Glatin Keis

My second page shows pencils, pens, easers and brushes in my pencil case.

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My third page is a sample of the watercolors I will have with me: 

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1.  My small palette of Winsor Newton paints.  This palette is small enough to fit into my small backpack or can stay in the apartment and used there.

2.  My Daler Rowney travel watercolor set which easily fits into a pocket.

3.   My 20 selected watercolor pencils which I can carry in a light, flat zipper pencil case - and use in museums where pens may be prohibited.

I am going to try to post some entries during our trip, but we won't know about the quality of our wifi connection until we arrive. 

 

 

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