Sunday, April 26, 2009

More Fake Journal Sketches

As the International Fake Journal Month winds down, I've done more drawing and writing in my book, or Ashling has. It has been tremendous fun doing something I didn't know I'd like to do--sketch--and also to be a bit of a novelist inventing this person, her family, and her life.

Keeping a fake journal can allow you to step into another's shoes and view the world through their eyes, something we rarely think about as we go about our daily lives.

The last few sketches I've relied more on my travel photos from Ireland than from other sources. Probably, Ashling wouldn't have been able to visit the length and breath of the island like I did several years ago but doubtless some of the countryside she'd have recognized.

Starting a fake journal, I did not pre-plan whose life I would live for 30 days. But it has reminded me of the struggles we all face, especially women, as fellow human beings sharing the planet regardless of time period, economic position, or national origin.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fake Journal

Since April Fool’s evening, I’ve been keeping an International Fake Journal for the month, suggested and encouraged by Roz Stendahl ( My best creative work usually arrives from not thinking too much so I decided at the last moment to dive into this. Near the end of the day, I looked on my shelf for a blank journal, and got out a Sakura Pigma Micron black pen, brought up a photo I’d take on an Irish beach, and began—gasp!—sketching.

I don’t sketch! Well, I did play around with drawing when I bought the original Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. But I haven’t done much since, except when I sketch an idea in my Art Idea notebook. I don’t really count that as sketching because I’m not looking at anything as a guide to the drawing.

But, as soon as I did the first sketch, I turned the page and wrote the first entry. Slowly, a story unfolded, written by a married Irishwoman. The next day I discovered she had three children. Using either a photo of mine or one from a book, I would sketch an Irish scene. The next time I opened my book, something new would appear from the pen.

So, who is she? Her name is Ashling McDurmut, which means “dream” in Gaelic (perfect since she’s my made up dream person), she’s in her thirties, married to Ryan; their children are Sean Patrick, Ann, and little Kerry. The year is 1961. Frequently, Ashling doesn’t have time to finish a sketch or journal entry. Her husband wants another child but she does not want a large family, even though three isn’t considered large by any means in her time and place.

Choosing a blank book I haven't worked in before—a small Hand artist’s journal (3½" × 5½", portrait orientation) with a green cover (perfect!)--I find the paper is good for sketching but the Micron pens (05 and 02) are very scratchy for writing.

Last week I tested some Sakura Brush pigment pens, something new to me that I really liked, and was tempted to introducing them into the fake journal by suggesting Ashling received a gift of watercolors. But, I decided to keep this fake journal pure with just the black ink pens, which would be in any case heads and tails above anything available in her era.

Although we have little in common, although we are separated by time, culture, distance, and of course, reality, I think we have a connection.

I like Ashling and I’m enjoying my first fake journal.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Nature Books, Artists Books, Fake Journals

Spring Splendor (Red Bud Leaves)
Gelatin Print (acrylic on watercolor paper)
9” x 12”

This print was done last summer and seemed appropriate as I continued making pages for a small (4” x 4”) nature book. Inspired by L.K. Ludwig and her book Mixed Media Journals), D. J. Pettit (, and Judy Wise ( , who all spice up their books with fabulous fabric, sewing, photos, drawings, gelatin prints, 3-D items, and so much more, I’ve decided to make a Sampler Book and see just how many materials I can make “pages” from.

Although I haven’t finished pages nor bound it/they (it might be one very fat book with several signatures or several small books with 1 or 2 signatures), I brought some examples for show-and-tell at the beginning of yesterday’s book sewing class. When I showed our instructor, Linda Draper, various cover possibilities (fabric, canvas, leather, etc.), I got some good feedback. All could work for sewing and she also suggested putting a backing on the fabric, such as fusible webbing, that would make the cover and spine stiffer and easier to sew through.

When I asked Linda how she used the books she made, I was surprised to hear her say she did not use them to journal or do art in; some she gave to friends. That had never occurred to me--making a blank book just to make it. Since I've loved books since I was a child, I have expanded my definition from an object to read to an object of art. I love creating travel books or daily painting books or theme books using commercially-made hardbound sketchbooks or spiral watercolor books. I love altering the covers, using different techniques on the papers, trying some different things with different tools. Collecting several types and sizes of blank books, I’m exploring what I like and don’t like, what mediums work or don’t work on various papers. Although I like the idea of Altered Books, I have found the paper very frustrating to work in (acrylics don’t work very well in them) and have yet to complete a single one I’ve started!

Creating more of my own books, I enjoy learning and exploring the form. Here is a simple accordion book I made my sister almost two years ago called “In Praise of Trees.” It has two Davey board covers. The folded pages are one long section of a watercolor sheet; you can see the deckled edge on the top.

I’m tempted to take another bookmaking class this summer. Linda showed us examples from a basic bookbinding one taught by another instructor—a travel book that looks very much like a large Moleskine with elastic band and pocket (although with a lovely green cover and endpapers!), another with a paper cover with stubs and envelopes, and a photo album that allows for expansion when photos are added. One of the latter two had a wonderful paper cover with a strip of other paper cut and woven through it with signature sewings showing.

Since I love to keep a journal for writing and for art and for everything in between, I began my fake journal this week, jumping in with others inspired by Roz Stendahl's International Fake Journal Month. For now, I’m holding off revealing details or art in the journal, to keep the creative fuels burning. I will say that I’m really surprised at the medium I chose and how this fake persona is being revealed to me each time I open the special little journal. So much fun!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

International Fake Journal Month

Want to get out of your artistic rut? Tired of your old journal? Roz Stendahl is shaking things up by encouraging everyone to keep a fake journal in April. She's even created a special blog to track progress for those wishing to share.

Wanna play?