Sunday, May 31, 2009

Natural Beauty and Nature Book (Part One)

Gathering slate blue skies bring needed rain.

A visiting Western King bird surveys a field.

Wildflowers, not as numerous as previous years, curve around a walking trail.

Baby barn swallows stretch their beaks for food under the house eaves.

Trees begin shedding their winter barks.

Young mockingbirds squeak and squeal on the back fence, getting flying lessons.

The last of the spring flowers push up and spread before the crushing heat of the summer.

Sunsets glow in ephemeral colors before quickly fading.

All this month of May, I have witnessed the scope and grandeur of Nature. I am inspired, nourished, refreshed, uplifted, and delighted by Her presence around me.

In response, here are some mixed-media Nature samplers I created.

When I began, I listed a range of materials that might be used for the signature “pages” and how (and if!) they could be bound into a book form. Some things worked; some didn't. As a result, pages are made from watercolor paper, felt with a adhesive backing, thin cotton fabric, dark gel pen paper, various types of tulle, handmade paper I made last summer, gelatin prints on various substrates, transparencies, fabric with photo transfers, cotton mesh, vinyl, upholstery fabric, copper mesh, transparent plastic with flower designs, paint sample cards, vellum, scrapbook paper, and photo paper.

Attaching items or backing thin pages, I experimented with brads, hand sewing, staples, copper wire, glue stick, and fabric glue.

When I began, I could not decide whether to put blank surfaces in to use as a journal but settled upon making a sampler. As I drew close to completing the signatures, I also realized more could be done by layering over the existing pages with paint, markers, colored pencils, gel pens, sewing, buttons, metal pieces, natural items, and other embellishments. So even though they have been completed and bound, in a way, these nature books can be expanded.

And isn’t that similar to Mother Nature, who is ever changing?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Experimental Journal

Acrylic gelatin print on canvas
9.75” x 11” album cover

Looking through some of my collage and journal-making books, I felt like doing something quite different. I remembered a blank “Just-the-Pieces” album I’d put together with the gelatin print cover. The pages are sturdy black cardstock, intended to hold photographs. Last year,
Andrea Platt demonstrated some wonderful drawings she did on black paper using colored pencils and gel pens and-–YES!—that’s what I decided to try!

Appropriating part of a magazine cover having a wonderful array of blues and greens, I cut and glued that to the first page and began playing with the colored pencils. It is truly amazing how the black page is so utterly different and how it becomes part of the design.

I used green, blue, and white colored pencils with some gold metallic gel pen highlights. Nothing was precise or planned but the squiggles and lines and blips were mark-making of the highest form of fun! It was very relaxing, too, just doodling in different colors and allowing the strong black background speak for itself.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fire Dancer

Fire Dancer
9" x 12"
acrylic on paper

Back to painting this week, I was trying a technique in Mary Todd Beam’s new book The Creative Edge: Exercises to Celebrate Your Creative Self using pieces of plastic to make rock-like texture. When I tilted this first try, I immediately saw a figure, perhaps a tribal dancer wearing an elaborate animal costume, holding a flaming torch.

Right now, I am of two minds—add some more defining facial features (but I'm not confident or comfortable drawing people!) or leave it as an abstract figure.

What do you think?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

April Fake Journal Ends

The International Fake Journal Month is over and so is Ashling's journal. It has been wonderful thinking about my character's life and sketching in her journal last month.

I will miss hearing about her life in a small town in Ireland, back in 1961.

But, there is some room left unfinished in the little green journal where black pen sketches and longhand written entries graced the slightly-textured buff colored pages. The door is left ajar, in case she has more to share or draw.