Monday, December 19, 2011

Newest Leather Journal

Here's the latest leather journal I made.

It was a big one, with six signatures, three kinds of paper, three different colors.

With three of my painted pocket pages.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Making Business Art Cards

20 Different Business Cards showing My Journals, Notebooks, & Paintings

After meeting my new art friend Jennifer Martin she pulled out one of her business cards. Although I have read about other artists praising MOO cards  I finally got to see the lovely work in person.

But, I decided to make my own version. Using Avery labels purchased some time ago, I finally wanted to try them out. It took a long time to select and insert photos of my work, to match the orientation of the photo to the text on the back, to align photos without showing any white space or bleeding onto its neighbor card (still haven’t perfected that yet). I can see why ordering online would be quicker. But I like the amateur results!

I used Microsoft Word and Avery White Two-Sided Printable Clean Edge Business Cards, #8871. Once you print both sides, they snap so cleanly and feel like heavy cardstock. I’m very impressed with the product and wonder why it took me so long to try these. But, it’s great to be inspired by another artist!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Book Pockets Turn Into Paintings

Arrangement in Red
12" x 18'
acrylic on paper

I've been working on some new paintings I thought would become pockets pages for some journals. Instead, these pieces wanted me to complete and unify them and make them into paintings. Who am I to get in the way of the Muse?

Teal Islands
12" x 18'
acrylic on paper

Sunday, November 6, 2011

FTB Journal #3

The raw material for Full-Tilt Boogie Journal #3, a Keith Smith chain stitch on the spine, came from an antique hardback book I bought at the same time with a vintage photo album (which I have yet to use). I loved the title of the book, “The Romance of Archaeology” and the decorations on the spine (a column) and cover (a vase) and decided to use the theme to explore archaeological places I have visited.

At first, I wanted to use a mixture of papers like FTB Journal #1, as well as some personal photos, but all with an ancient places theme. Scanning old family slides and photos, I began with my earliest adventure with my parents, Pompeii, and finished with last year's Ireland trip. But as I gathered, sorted, tore, and arranged various scrapbook paper, my own paintings, and sections from other books, I changed my mind. After seeing the very jumbled and busy signatures together, I was glad nothing was sewn together yet. In addition, the size of the book made me fold folios that diminished the impact of images from books and calendars.

So, the weathered brown pages in the old book inspired me to use tan colored BFK Rives printmaking paper I had on hand. Finding, scanning, and altering personal photographs, I changed them all to black and white and increased the contrast so the images would be more minimalist.

Trying photo transfers and getting mixed results, I was disappointed. Instead of an interplay between the brown paper and the black photos, too much white paper remained for that sharp contrast. I considered making gel skins but then I read about printing on book pages with Golden digital ground medium (from “The Creative Photographer” by Catherine Anderson). Alas, I did not have the glossy type that allows the background to show. At this point, I almost walked away from the project.

But, wait. Why not print my photos on the book’s original pages and attach them to the individual pages? It might not be highly archival, but since this was in a book and not hanging on a wall, it might be OK, at least for an experiment. Mary Ann Moss is all for experimenting! So, I did.

Before sewing the signatures together—a mix of the tan paper, some cool scrapbook papers, some of my paintings on paper, a few bits from calendars, and my own photos—I arranged where my printed photos would go. When the printed pages were a bit large, I decided to tear them (another suggestion from “The Creative Photographer”) and discovered what a joy the 1929 paper was to rip! It was almost brittle in parts but so very different than modern paper.

The journal is almost complete. I planned the pages, photos, and chronological arrangements to tell the story without words. Perhaps later I’ll add dates and identifying place names, perhaps do some journaling. I also deliberately printed on pages in the original book where my personal photos were from: Rome, the Great Southwest, the British Isles. Turning this into themed journal was a challenge but the problem-solving ended up being fun. And, I really liked the looping sewing down on the spine, too. A very good project.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

FTB Journal #2 Redux – Celtic Steampunk Style

This is my second attempt to make a hidden binding journal from Mary Ann Moss’s Full-Tilt Boogie online class. My first attempt was not entirely successful.

This journal started life as a used book I found in Rockport this summer. I was attracted by the Celtic-like knot work on the cover and the spine. You don’t see such intricate decorations on hardback books much anymore.

After removing the text block, I tore down 90 lb. hot press Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper into signatures to fit inside the book and sewed it together (by itself) over some painted watercolor paper tabs. At the time, it sat perfectly into the spine area.

The book block sewn over tapes before gluing in

Front end papers from my painting

 I needed to completely cover the endpapers (line drawings of the book’s subject) because it would distract from the streamlined Celtic steampunk theme I’d decided to try. Adding two gears and a washer directly over the printer’s initials on the cover, I also wanted to hide the splayed brad inside. Looking through some paintings I had done on watercolor paper, I tried to find any with a steampunk theme. I found a perfect one and decided to use parts of it to become both front and back end papers that would also attach to the first and last pages.
That’s when I ran into the same difficulty I had with the practice version. The painted end paper was 140 lb. watercolor, adding too much thickness to my perfectly-fitting sewn book block. I struggled to get the back end papers to both attach and close. Now I know to not use thicker endpapers!

Yet, it still looks cool despite its imperfections. You can turn the gears on the front cover and the end papers look steampunk.
I might have to make several more of this style of journal to really master it. Maybe thinner end papers or none at all would work better. Although I like being able to recycle old books, especially when there is a great design on the spine, this is not my favorite style of journals to make.

Back end papers

Monday, September 5, 2011

Healing Hands

Hand and Leaf
acrylic on paper
9" X 12"

The set of artistic tools we are born with—two hands—can be used for well or ill. And from ancient times to the modern era, we can see the results of both.

In my personal history, I have seen the positive power of touch. Both my parents were nurses, dedicated to helping and healing people.

In the last few months, as my Mom recovered from a heart attack and by-pass surgery, I again witnessed the importance of healing hands in the medical field.

Some of these thoughts occurred to me when I worked on my recent painting, “Hand and Leaf.”

Friday, August 12, 2011

Practice FTB Journal #2

Over the 4th of July weekend (yes, well over a month ago!), I got a lot of creative things done. One thing not planned was setting up an Etsy shop...but I did! Currently, I have small blank notebook listed, but will add larger journals soon. I’ve been thinking about this step for years.

A lot of motivation was from my friend Lyn and the attitude of the online class, Full Tilt Boogie. There’s a “Just Do It” spirit that is so infectious from both Mary Ann Moss and her students. It’s very catching.

So, I was a bit behind in the class and felt like catching up. Not using the vintage photo album nor a vintage book, as instructed, I created several roadblocks. Deciding this was just a practice book, I went too far off-road, too, selecting a small, modern, falling apart, 50 cent mark-down square hardback book with a thick spine.

Original Book used

Inside book with text block removed



After cutting away the book block, I knew the cover needed help. When I tested a FedEx-type envelope I had already painted and it fit perfectly, I had a match. Not using my “good” Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper, I cut up some student grade paper in 11” x 15” tablet size. But folding folios with the grain, these papers were so thick and bulky I could only use two folios in each signature for a total of five. I wanted more papers and pockets but it would have been too thick. Adding any collage would have been unworkable. Didn’t have book cloth tape for the spine, so I used silver duck tape.

Note the wonky 1st signature (on left)

My troubles began with gluing in. I struggled with that hard and thick spine; it was impossible to either close the book or open it flat. Even pulling up the glued end papers didn’t help. If the spine had been thin or made of fabric, it probably would have laid down nicely and not pulled so much. Ah, well! Decided to do the Mary Ann Moss thing and go with the imperfections.

Now for the finishing step. Couldn’t use the button and ribbon closure but needed to keep this yawning journal cinched down when not in use. Auditioning a lot of hopefuls, I finally settled on this combination leather strap and turquoise doughnut.

You can learn from anything but especially from your mistakes. So, I learned a lot! Really love this class and fellow classmates—everyone is making such beautiful and unique journals.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Relaxin' in Rockport

After a stressful month of dealing with my Mom’s health problems, we got away for a few days of rest and relaxation at the coast. It’s not Hawaii (where I lived as a child), it’s not Ireland (which I dearly love), but Rockport is very nice. Even in August, it's 10 degrees cooler than our megacity.

We loved the place where we stayed, just a few steps from the water and a marina. Brown pelicans and seagulls live here, too.

At the Rockport Center for the Arts, we saw a new exhibit called “Standing Out” having pieces from five different artists. I loved the variety, the setting, the friendly people here. The building is on Aransas Bay.

Jamie Speck (below) has a lot of 3-D works on both wood and canvas. Her work really appealed to me.

Mary Downing enlarges vintage photos and postcards, prints them on canvas, and then paints chickens around the focal points. Very original and fun. “The Preacher and the Chicks” (below, left) made me laugh.

Speaking of unique, Ed Boyd’s medium is vinyl film—I can’t imagine how long it must take to cut and apply strips to create paintings on frames, surf boards, and boogie boards.

I was energized after seeing this exhibit—been too long since I’ve seen new art!

Monday, August 1, 2011

New Etsy Shop and Treasury Feature

Just last night I listed my very first items in my Etsy shop. Today, one of my notebooks is featured in a fall-themed Etsy Treasury. How cool is that?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Full Tilt Boogie Onward!

I’m having so much fun with the Mary Ann Moss online class and virtual community she’s gathering around her. (See previous post with link.) This new art journal had a face-lift. It started life as a 1889 bound volume of “The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine”. The spine was practically gone, making it perfect for Journal #1 since we just needed the covers. Setting myself the goal to learn and use a sewing machine this summer, I sewed these fabric tapes during a sewing group. Red just happened to be on the machine and I began loving the contrast! So, I wanted to repeat it in the closure.

This library book, and three others, was rescued from destruction many years ago after being withdrawn and set into the trash.

I love book closures. So many sketches in my art notebooks are devoted to book closure ideas—some practical, some not so practical. It might go back to having a diary with a key. The interactive nature fascinated me as a child…and still does. So, I had several ideas and it took me forever to decide on a closure for this first journal. I didn’t sew over it when binding the book together because I made the tapes pretty wide. Plus, I wanted to allow the book room to “grow” with lots of collage, photos, inserts, etc. The red lace is soft and easy to untie and completely remove for journaling, painting, or collaging.

Although I’ve made this type of book before, this one really has a diversity of papers. And I love using special paper ephemera, such as birthday cards as well as travel brochures. The mix is so exciting when you open the art journal and see them compared and contrasted on the page spread. This is going to be a fun book to work in.

One of the many positive things about this online class is the encouragement to use materials you forgot you had. Another is the incredible community of like-minded souls sharing their works as well as tips and techniques. There are good vibes here!