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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. 

 

 

April 24, 2012

Win a Copy of Gwen Diehn's Book or One of Her Butter Sketchbooks

Lark Crafts is doing a giveaway of a copy of Gwen Diehn's new book - The Complete Decorated journal: A Compendium of Journaling Techniques.  This is a new bind- up/re-editioning of Decorated Page and Decorated Journal. In addition to the two original books, there are 13 artist profiles and other new content.  Decorated Page and Decorated Journal were my bibles as I started my first sketchbooks.

Go to the link below to get the details, and YOU may be the lucky winner!  They're also giving away a little butter box journal that Gwen is making for them. The picture below is from a book published in Spain (Use a Book  by Elisa Pellicani: Barcelona: Consulta Libri Progetti, 2011) that the butter box book appeared in a few months ago.  Gwen made this particular butter box book from a cookie box, but it's the same design, size, etc.

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SO if you'd like to win either of these books, go to the link below and do what they tell you to do!

http://www.larkcrafts.com/uncategorized/gwen-diehns-butter-box-journal-giveaway/#.T5cx4cQpG24.blogger
Gwen Diehn's Butter Box Journal Giveaway « Lark Crafts Lark Crafts

April 3, 2012

The End of the Old, the Beginning of the New

I finished my last sketchbook with two pages of heads drawn during classes at Columbia University.  The first page was done on a paper napkin with a ball point pen while we discussed Chekhov short stories.  The second page of sketches are of Professor de Bary, a very elderly Emeritus Professor of Chinese Studies - who is incredibly sharp.  I loved the opportunity to draw him while he appeared to be asleep, but he remembered more of the panel discussion comments than I did when he lifted up his head.

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I barely finished making my new watercolor sketchbook in time to continue with my daily sketches.  The bookcloth was made with soy wax and a potato masher as resist and thickened Procion MX dyes.  The sketchbook is a 6 signature book with Fabriano Artistico Soft Press 140 lb paper and Canson Mi Tientes end papers.

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The first page is a drawing of my watercolor palettes.  I have fun starting some of the sketchbooks with my paint palette even though I add and/or change paints infrequently.

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March 18, 2012

Gwen Diehn's New Book

I was thrilled to receive my advance copy of Gwen Diehn's new book, The Complete Decorated Journal.

In 2003, I bought The Decorated Page and fell in love!  I always wanted to keep a travel sketchbook and she introduced me to the concept of an "illustrated journal."  I then bought The Decorated Journal when it was published, and over the last 6 years reread both of them several times, and filled over 50 sketchbooks. 

Gwen was asked to combine the books and add new bonus material, including 13 Artist Profiles, and I was thrilled when she asked me to be in one of the profiles.  We started a conversation several years ago through the Everyday Matters Message Board and I now sketch with her several times each year when she visits NYC.   My inclusion in her book is so meaningful to me, because without her books, I might never have walked this pathway. 

I'm including scans of the front and back cover, and my Artist Profile as an early peek.  I'm not aware of any other book that provides so much information, inspiration, and color photos of many artists' journal pages.  And there is a wonderful section at the end about bookbinding and making your own journals - from the simple to the more complex.

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Thank you Gwen. 

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