Sunday, December 28, 2008

Almost Time

With a new calendar year approaching, my fancy turns to calendars. I love to buy them, I love to make them. After hot summer months I begin thinking about them in the fall, wondering what kind to make. This year, I am way behind.

Here’s the last month of my recycled art calendar (profiled here ( Its pages of hot press watercolor held up pretty good. Yes, that’s a rubber band holding the previous months together--the nail hole did get overwhelmed by all the collage and the thickness of 8 folded pages and, of course, 12 months on the job!

In addition to the one mentioned above, I also created my first 2008 CD calendars. You flip a thicker CD holder and it becomes the calendar holder. I matched 12 of my photos with moon-phase months. It’s a neat design idea but a crazy size. For printing, I could only fit 2 months on regular size paper.

The easiest ones I’ve made are printed out on white card stock. It’s thick enough to be sturdy and not too thick to fold and hang on a wall.

This year ought to be easier since I now have Microsoft Publisher where before I used a really, really old program called Print Shop. I had to figure out how to lay it out for printing on both sides. And, I just can’t use ordinary pre-made calendar software programs provide, either. Oh, no, I have to fiddle around and change elements and put my own art or photos in it and alter or abandon their color scheme. But, it all seems worth it when you can look at it 365 days and really enjoy your little handmade work.

How about you? What are your ideas? Have you ever made your own calendar?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Quest for the Perfect Little Notebook

With a nice, long holiday approaching, I have been gearing up to make a little notebook. I must have a dozen books about book binding and book making crowding my shelves. Since I’ve long loved books, the fact I could make one myself has long appealed to me.

For a few years, I’ve used little notebooks to jot art ideas down. You know the kind—cheapies from grocery or office supply stores. I disliked their lined and bleed-through pages and their flimsy construction. But I love their size! So small, so slim, so easy to slip into a pocket and make notes; no big, bulky, beautiful book. I tried finding 3 ¼” x 4 ½” sketchbooks through online art supply companies and even Etsy. If it came close to the right size, it was too thick.

So, last week, after looking through all my books, checking one out at the library, and reading numerous art blogs and web instructions, I realized I’d have to make exactly what I wanted. After thinking about it most the weekend, I finally took action and conducted an experiment. Do you do that, too—think way too much about a problem? But, have you found you can let yourself off the hook when you declare you’ll just play around or make a model or do an experiment? Your Perfectionist slinks away and the Muses clap their hands in joy, coming to your side to assist.

There are two kinds of notebooks I’ve used: 1) a mass of signatures all folded together and sewed down the middle into a substantial cover, taped on the outside spine and 2) cut single pages, not signatures, glued at the spine with tape and a not-so-thick cover. The later is much more fragile and pages can be easily torn out, like a note pad.

So, I took the best elements of each design, folding signatures together, adding a 65 lb. cardstock cover, punching holes through pages and cover every ½”, sewing the pages and cover together, tying the tails outside with tape, trimming excess paper and cover (I made it larger than final size so everything would line up), and creating a cover from a gelatin print I did on velum. I didn’t add end papers, but could have.

I’m pleased my “experiment” turned out so well—I absolutely love my little notebook! Encouraged with such stunning results, I have enrolled in a four-session bookbinding class beginning in January.

Next up? The Quest for the Perfect Art Journal.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Holidays

At this time of year
While we await the return of the light
I wish you a very happy winter holiday season!

acrylic gelatin print
9" x 12"

Playing with Initial Images

Having read books and blogs from artists who do wonderful journals, I looked at my daily brayer paintings with new eyes and decided to take an initial image and extend it. Here is the original which I think came out too dark.

Ginkgo Leaves in December

acrylic on paper

7 1/2" x 8"

After scanning, printing, and gluing it in a journal page, I used some metallic gel pens in gold, copper and red to outline the faint yellow leaves, drew some veins, emphasize some wiggles and marks, trying to bring shapes to the surface.

I wonder, did it became too shimmery and unnatural with the introduction of metalic pens? Tilting the journal, the altered version looks like I used interference paints. It was fun altering my own image, knowing I could continue changing it with another print-out!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Leafing Around

Three Nestled Leaves, Afire
acrylic on paper
9" x 7"

The last few weeks I returned making some leaf brayer paintings. Collecting fresh leaves downed by a recent storm, I remembered how much I enjoyed using them in my art.

Red Oak, Green Oak
acrylic on paper
8" x 9"

I tried some different things: nestling three leaves of different sizes together,
Nestled Leaves
acrylic on paper
8.75" x 7"
using different, contrasting leaves,
I Heart Leaves
acylic on paper
8" x 7"
and playing with design.
acrylic on paper
9" x 12"
Some themes continue to resurface, including brayer ghost-images.

The Leaf Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree
acrylic on paper
9" x 12"

Another return is to the church where my husband and I were once very active. There is a new minister who has “re-energized the church,” in the words of a friend and former member. This is the one place where I felt I belonged and both David and I got those same feelings again these last two Sundays.

Contrasting Views
acrylic on paper
9" x 12"

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Day of Sharing Song

Wild Irish Coast

L. K. Ludwig has inspired art bloggers to post a song today that moved them. I love music so much, it was hard to narrow it down. But here is an old favorite, an early music video that first enthralled me when it aired—I love the sun, the snow, the horses, the white flag, the earnestness.

New Year’s Day
To see what other's have chosen, go to L. K. Ludwig's site: