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September 19, 2014

My Fall FIT Bookbinding Class

I am taking a Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Design and Communication basic bookbinding course.  Except for one 8 hour workshop on how to make a cased-in book, I am essentially a self taught bookbinder, and even studied and made a different structure each month in 2013. 

It is wonderful to have tips, ideas, and new variations from a professional bookbinder and have already made 3 small books for her to teach us basic skills.  Each book was made with copy paper, so they are only 6 X 4.25 inches.  And each has a soft cover - for which I used white Canson 2-ply Smooth Bristol Board.

This book has 10 folios and was made with a 3 hole pamphlet stitch.  After I made the book I used watercolor to paint the paper.


The cover was cut 5 X the width of the book.  The front piece folds back on itself and then wraps around the book with the flap inserting in the double folded front cover.  I love the structure because it makes a very sturdy, inexpensive little notebook. 



The second book is a double pamphlet book, which I've made before and have a tutorial on my blog. 

It was made with a 5 hole pamphlet stitch, and then painted. 



Book #3 is a Flat Back Multiple Signature Book.  We used 50 sheets of copy paper and made 10 signatures.  Learning how to cut all 50 sheets at once is a skill that I will never forget!  We used a herringbone stitching pattern, which I've not seen listed in any of my bookbinding books, and then glued the spine.  

My cover was made with my last strip of the Bristol paper which I made as paste paper - on a whim - because I had a little paste left after making a new batch of paste paper.  And I made a flap just because I felt like it at that moment.



This week I made nineteen 14 X 17" sheets of paste paper to replenish my stash and this was my favorite piece. 


I was reluctant to start making books, even though I love books in all shapes and sizes.  But in 2005 I couldn't find 140 lb watercolor sketchbooks and eased into making them by recycling old orphan books.  

When Moleskine made their watercolor sketchbook, I tried them and really disliked the landscape format.  So I took the 2008 workshop to learn how the professionals made sturdy covers and started making my own cased-in books.  Now feel like an amateur bookbinder which brings me great pleasure.  

For anyone who is interested in seeing the many types of books I've made, scroll down the page - and on the right to the category section of my blog.    

September 16, 2014

Christie's Previews and Exhibits at the Met

Pat, Benedicte, Teri and I went to Christie's Auction Previews for Asia Week on Friday - primarily to see the Contemporary Asian Art.   I am beginning to have several favorite artists and I'm always surprised by the contemporary sculpture.  This time I of course gravitated toward the Elephants - the subject of my winter project several years ago. 



On Sunday I spent an hour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art sketching Tiepolo Caricatures before the exhibit ends.  I discovered that I LOVE Tiepolo drawings - father or son - at several drawing exhibits at the Morgan Library and Museum.  And the five caricatures by Tiepolo the elder did not disappoint.  Here is a composite drawing of 3 of them.  There were many more drawings by Tiepolo the younger - all of Punchinella in a life story arc from birth to burial.  But I didn't attempt one of these detailed drawings.



On my way out of the Museum I saw that the Rockefeller Primitive Art exhibit was almost closing and LOVED this seated male wooden sculpture from Mali - 18th-19th C.  So I tried to capture his wonderful face. 



September 1, 2014

Urban Sketchers New York - Union Square

The Weekday Urban Sketchers in New York met at Union Square last week and I painted on the back side of my accordion watercolor sketchbook  I enjoyed using this book so much that I made another one today!

This is the full spread from Union Square on the back side of the accordion panels.



Here are the individual paintings:


Vegetables and flowers from the Farmer's Market.



A chair, umbrella, and sign from Pavillion - an open restaurant at the north end of Union Square.



The Entrance to the Subway Station and a young woman burning incense and selling crystals and other spiritual items. 



This group will now meet on Thursdays - from 11-3 - at various venues around New York City.  Anyone who is interested in joining the group can follow the Urban Sketchers NY Blog to learn about the weekly site.   



August 26, 2014

Urban Sketchers - NYC Aug 14th

We went to Madison Square Park for my second day with the Urban Sketchers - NYC.  I took the accordion book that I used for my first day with them and completed the first side of the paper with this sketch of the Flatiron Building and my friend Benedicte sketching in front of me.  The accordion book is here: 

This group meets weekly and I just created a new category for drawings done at these events.  My category list in way down under the monthly entries for my blog.



I did a few preparatory sketches, based on Liz Steel's recent demo in Sketchbook School Semester 2 - and overcame my fear of failure sketching this iconic NYC landmark. 



After lunch I searched for another building to draw around Madison Square Park and was drawn to this one because of the multiple rooftop water towers.  These sketches were done with a Tombow marker and then "painted" with clear water in a Niji waterbrush. 


August 22, 2014

A Wonderful Day at MoMA

I had an amazing day at The Museum of Modern Art last Friday.  My art friends were busy, and I hadn't seen the Toulouse-Lautrec or Jasper Johns exhibits, so I packed a lunch and went at 9:30 when these exhibits opened for Members.  The Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit was posters, and many other forms of lithographs from the MoMA collection and I was mesmerized by the lines.  I carefully looked at, and photographed most pieces, and then drew one detail from an early poster because I loved it!  Here is my Englishman at the Moulin Rouge, 1892 - 3 years after the Moulin Rouge opened in Paris.  I sketched with graphite and decided to leave it that way.



The Jasper Johns exhibit was a collection of drawings, prints, and oil paintings from the last 18 months.  Since we saw the exhibit of his work and learned about his printmaker John Lund, I can't get enough information about him.  I'm not someone who easily works in a series.  And he experiments and cuts printing plates, and reworks much of his art.   This series began with a tattered and paint spattered photo of Lucien Freud, sitting on a bed with his head in his hands.  Johns drew the images several times in different media,  manipulated the image by duplication, and then made two series of prints.  I thought the prints were too dark, but couldn't learn enough about his process.  

They also had one of his number series and I love the shape of his numbers, so I made a grid with 9 spaces and made quick sketches only to find I was one box short because I forgot about the zero.  So here is my sketchbook page - to remember the experiences in that gallery.  The nine is just a cut-out that overlays the page and can be lifted.



By then it was lunchtime, so I took my lunch and bought coffee at the Sculpture Garden Café - and enjoyed the beautiful weather and amazing art.  We are going back to Paris for vacation in October and I couldn't resist painting this vintage sculpture from the Paris Metro. 



On Saturday I worked on a challenge from my friend Teri while we were having coffee at our favorite café in Central Park.  Teri sent us digital images of small details from famous paintings - that she received from one of her art groups.  Pat and Benedicte did the first 1-2, but this was my first.  If you look closely you can see the original image that I printed out and collaged on the upper left.  And then I just played with ideas and completed the painting with my composition. 

My Art History consultant Bunny says that it was probably painted by a 19th C Orientalist, but I can't find it online.   So I must wait for Teri to return from a Dude ranch out west to learn her identity.  Any ideas??