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May 9, 2017

Making a New Sketchbook for Venice 2017

I love to make watercolor sketchbooks and I frequently recycle an old book for travel sketchbooks - usually one that costs only $2 on the outside carts at The Strand bookstore in NYC.

I made a travel sketchbook that I loved for our 2012 Venice trip.  The entire process is explained in photographs at this link. 

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2012/01/making_a_watercolor_sketchbook.php

I searched for 6 months for another book to recycle for an upcoming Venice visit and finally settled on this one.  It is a Kate Spade book on "Occasions" and I was able to save two folios about celebrating Anniversaries to incorporate into my new book.  I finally chose it because of the price ($2), size, the condition of the cover, and my approaching vacation deadline.  I think I will always love my "Italian Dreams" Venice sketchbook more, but look forward to using this one too!

The Cover: 

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The End Papers - which make me think of Venice's Carnivale: 

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There are 36 140lb Fabriano Artistico Soft Press pages inside.  This is a Maurice Sendak Illustration I painted from Mickey in the Night Kitchen which I like to have on the title page with my name, address, and contact information in case my sketchbook gets lost.

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I also try to include a few of the folios from the original book I'm recycling.  Here is one part of each of the original Folios that I incorporated into the sketchbook: 

Anniversary Gifts: We've been married so long that our anniversary gift is on the bottom of the other half of this page!

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Wine is Devine:  In anticipation of many lovely afternoons sitting on a canal or in a campo in Venice.

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December 29, 2012

Art Progress 2012 and Art Goals for 2013

Long Term Goals: Develop better drawing and painting skills on paper and with dye-painting and surface design on fabric. I am retired and developing skills in art gives meaning to my days - to play, have fun, be bold, and seek adventure!

My Short Term Art Goals for 2012 were to sketch and paint everyday and to blog twice each week.

Although I missed an occasional daily sketch, I frequently filled several sketchbook pages in one day. I kept one doodle book and multiple sketchbooks, including a chronologic visual journal, and individual sketchbooks for figure drawing and travel.

This year my biggest accomplishments were my travel sketchbooks - one created in Venice and the other during a 2 week trip to Berlin, Dresden, Prague, and Budapest. I was drawing "in the moment" and capturing the essence of our days. Before we went to Venice, I painted 16 of my 2002 photos from Venice for practice. It gave me the confidence that I needed and the practice of creating some of the texture of the buildings in watercolor. I used two 30 inch, accordion folded sheets of watercolor paper for this practice. Each strip could then be made into 2 folios for another cased-in, travel sketchbook when we returned.

And with a rare exception, I continued my twice weekly blog posts and on January 4th will reach the 7th anniversary of my blog.

1. I continued to explore watercolor as my main medium and loved Kate Johnson’s online Strathmore Workshop. I hope that she will develop her online watercolor mini-class or offer her regular watercolor class in 2013.

2. I bought 3 tubes of gouache in primary colors and did lots of color mixing and painting to learn how to add this medium to my paintings.

3. I tried acrylic paints with my friend Teri, learning about many of the possible additives and special techniques (i.e. molding paste, crackle etc). I probably won’t ever LOVE acrylic paints, but it is nice to explore them and play on a regular basis.

4. I sketched at least one Master work from each museum or gallery exhibit I attended to challenge myself, and just maybe improve my drawing and painting skills.

5. I took several other online classes: Self-Portraits with Jane Davies, Ticket to Venice with Mary Ann Moss, and Stencil Magic with Melanie Testa.

6. I made my own watercolor sketchbooks for daily use and recycled old books with watercolor paper for travel. As I was making the one for our Venice trip, I documented the process and posted it to my blog as a tutorial.

7. I really enjoy bookbinding and I’m thrilled with the Christmas Origami Tag artist book and second Remains of the Day book that I made and filled.

8. I met with The Central Park Drawing and Art Meetup Group and my friends Benedicte, Pat, and Teri for art adventures. And I went to the Society of Illustrators and the Battery Park City figure drawing sessions.

 

Goals for 2013: To sketch and paint everyday and to blog twice each week gives my retirement life some structure. But I need to add other new activities for inspiration and excitement. I love learning new techniques and then figuring out how I will use them. So I’m considering:

More classes - perhaps from Center for Book Arts and Society of Scribes as well as online classes

More bookbinding - perhaps exploring a new structure every month to give me some very specific goals.

 

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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June 16, 2012

Venice Sketchbook - Final Part

This will be the last blog post about our recent trip to Venice.  The other 8 sketchbook pages were done at restaurant tables, on airplanes etc., and could have been done anywhere, meaning there is little that would make you think of Venice when you see them.

I love seeing the very elaborate masks in the best Mask Shops.  And I needed to paint one of them in my sketchbook to remember them.  The gray color on the mask and background is Winsor-Newton silver gouache.  I squeeze out a little, let it dry with my watercolor paints in my palette, and rewet it when I want to use it.  I also used gold gouache while we were traveling.

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This was our set of apartment keys for the week.  Our friends who shared the apartment had a similar set.  The apartment owner met us early on our final day, to check us out, and direct us to the Alilaguna boat back to the airport.  I was really sad to leave this apartment in a 16th C. Venetian palazzo.  It really felt like our home for one week.

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I created a grid for for daily notes before we left New York, and filled in the highlights of each day so I could remember our visit.  The Weather, Morning, Afternoon, and Evening notes were usually written right before bed or when I woke up the following morning.  I almost always put a layout like this in my travel sketchbooks before I leave home and include it here just to demonstrate the technique. I'm sure that my writing is not readable.

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June 1, 2012

Venice Sketchbook - Part 4

I am still working on my Venice sketchbook, and decided to upload 3 pages done since I returned home.

We visited Arcobalena, the art supply store that sells pigments.  It is centrally located, and a very quirky place.  Half of the store is a hardware shop, the other half sells pigments - and hand blown glass - and leather aprons - and some art supplies.  We spent lots of time talking to the woman running the shop and learned some of the history.  My friend Sara bought a set of pigments to make pastels when she returned to the US.  And the 4 of us couldn't resist buying a few leather aprons made by the shopkeeper (who is also a glass blower)! 

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I collected a few pieces of ephemera - mainly because they appealed to me graphically - and made one collage page of memories.

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The gondoliers were everywhere!  And there seemed to be many variations on the standard uniform.  I took photos of many of them and created this page of drawings from my photos.

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