Category Archives: ARTIST BOOKS

looking for a quiet place

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I have had an interesting few months since last time I wrote.  I think this is the longest time I have gone without a post since I started blogging in 2006.  Yes there have been life distractions – but more than that, I have sat at the keyboard so many times thinking – I will not go to bed until I post – only to be distracted by the slightest thing.  No, not writer’s block…….I am wanting to break away, break the mold my art has settled in – I am still searching for my voice………..I am want to find something – inside me……  It started in about late October last year when I created that ‘murky’ greeny, collaged junk journal…….which I loathed (& still sits on the shelf where it landed after I photographed it!)………..I parred back and started to create a journal using white, titan buff & burnt umber – with just small amounts of colour on the pages…………and while it is a ‘nice’ journal (BTW – by the end pages – I was in FULL colour again! LOL!) – it is still not authentic…….it’s a mish mash of things I have seen in books, life experiences, You Tube vids, coffee conversations……I spent the two years I was at art school trying to figure out where the dividing line in the sand was between art & craft (so mercilously distained)……..and I think I am kinda getting it……its about contemplation, reflection, gestation, inspiration, time……..so much of what is around at the moment is the same…………. and I was making more of it……….what began as intuitive, use what’s on hand, use ANYTHING art of mixed media, has become formulaic & predictable……..In the world of everyone being published it seemed to me that much of what is around (whilst beautiful & inspiring publications in their own right) are just variations of the same thing.  Gel transfers & stencilled lines & dots & texture paste & stitching & golden paints………..and sooooooooooo many girls faces…………..soooooooooooo many journalling books.   ..I felt like a fraud…..whilst I believe the plethora of resources is equiping & encouraging people that may never have tried in the past – it is also almost creating a ‘style bias’………. I ache for fresh.  I have it.  I just can’t find within me yet…….. so I just stopped.  I didn’t do any art.  My family noticed it first.  I was crabby and not nice.  Too often.  I realized that I can’t separate the creating thing from who I am.  I must art.  Misty expresses it, as ever, with such poetry & elegance…………

So much of what Misty says here resonates with my soul – but I want more.  I spent a disproportionate amount of money to cross the country, thinking a different environment, with different tools & different influences would produced……….um, well………..DIFFERENT art……….alas – NOT.

So, little by little I have been playing – not turning any heads – nothing of any significance…………..dabling, sorting, questioning, writing………hoping………..for fresh.

I am blessed to be surrounded by influences like Seth Apter………who encourages & nutures artists into being………& am honoured to be a part of his blog this week…..you can check it & other entries out here:

I’ll keep you posted………….

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THE CLOCK MOVES ON

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HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERY ONE, I hope you enjoyed my 5 DAYS of GIVEAWAYS – I have been very busy in the studio over the last week completing a “SECRET” project I am submitting for publication……….here’s a little peak at some progress…………

As a new year commences & I have hardly noticed the last one gone, I am reminded how quickly our life flashes by. In the process of my “SECRET” project, I have been reflecting on the book of Ecclessiastes and the Jewish folk tale of King Solomon…..gam zeh ya’avor. This Hebrew phrase, often mistakenly thought to appear in the Bible, means “This too shall pass.” Some surmise that it was derived from Psalms 57:1, but most Jews attribute it to a folkloric parable about King Solomon – here’s the story:

“There was a king who had the most magnificent collection of jewels in the entire world. It was the source of his greatest joy. One night he dreamed that somewhere in the world, a magnificent ring held the power to make a sad person happy, and a joyful person even happier. The dream was so real to him that he decided that he must seek and possess this ring.

“He offered a huge reward to anyone who could find it. After everyone else had given up their search, one of the king’s servants continued to scour the world for the magical ring. Finally, he too was ready to give up, when he stopped in to one last shop. There, the owner said that he, indeed, was in possession of this ring!

“The servant offered to pay whatever price the shopkeeper asked, but the man refused payment saying, ‘No, your king needs this ring. Take it as my gift.’  “The servant rushed to the palace, entered the king’s chamber, and presented the ring to him. Upon opening the box, the king found a plain, unadorned metal ring. Could this truly be the precious, magical ring he had dreamt about? Then he noticed three Hebrew words engraved on the ring. ‘Gam zeh ya-avor – this too shall pass.’

“The king was puzzled. And it took him many years to realize the true magical power of the ring, in time, he came to realise that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust.

When he was truly sad, he would look at the ring and it would remind him that “this too shall pass,” and he would be consoled. And when he experienced true joy, the ring reminded him that “this too shall pass,” and he learned to hold on and appreciate those precious moments of joy. Soon the king realized that this truly was the most valuable ring in the world. He lost interest in the rest of his collection. All his dazzling jewels and gems paled when compared to the plain ring with the three Hebrew words, ‘gam zeh ya-avor, this too shall pass,’ and he always wore this ring of greatest value with pride on his royal finger.”

Abraham Lincoln made reference to this parable in an 1859 address, and there is a custom among some Jews to wear rings inscribed with the phrase (or its acronym), particularly during or after having coming through a seriously trying period in life. It’s an apt tale for the passing of another year, with the precious blessing of our darling new grandie, Ariel Faith……welcoming a season of emotional sunshine – after a long black winter……..watching the gradual deterioration of my mother-in-law in her twilight years, some changes in our family living arrangements, acknowledging the loss of some of my physical capacities this year & the purging of long held trinkets & treasures & the timely handing on of various significant family pieces in preparation to move from our home of the last 20 years………the good and the bad……..material & immaterial……..this too shall pass…………. It reminds me of the rewards of patience, the fact that no season, despite how good or bad it is, lasts indefinitely and the wonders of the cyclical passage of time.

This amazing montage of 365 days of photo’s sum up the year of 2010 in about 2 minutes – that’s about how fast the clock seems to be spinning for me right now.

GIVEAWAY DAY 4 – GYPSIES, TRAMPS and THIEVES

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I hope you like my new collage sheet….(hi res link – thanks Connie for the idea)..offered for only until 31st December……..after that I will take it down, and it will be replaced with a single image.  I know that I don’t have to remind you it is for personal use, and not to be redistributed or reconfigured in any way, shape or form – but it seems that this disclaimer needs to be added each time……… I’d love to see anything that you create from the collage sheet & appreciate links & kudos too!! LOL!  Tomorrow night is Christmas Eve here – so it’s the big finale………I have made something VERY special for a Christmas Eve giveaway…….

MY CHRISTMAS EVE GIFT GIVEAWAY IS A handmade artist book I created in a repurposed vintage book cover, it is approx 8in tall, 6in wide & 1 inch thick.  It is filled with a paper that will take pen & ink or a light wash…….it should be nice to work in.

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the cryptic clue is………….rsta fo tlmeeehhb…………..it’s a sign!!  I will draw this one late Christmas Eve – Almost Christmas Day here – to give the max amount of people a chance to participate.  It’s been a fun week!

New Journal Pages – Another Perspective

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as promised last week – here’s some of my new & refined journal pages – when you are ‘playing’ with a style different to what you are comfortable, finding the ‘finishing line’ is tricky.  I am really not sure whether a couple of these pages now fall back into my heavier, over coloured work that was beginning to get quite murky………..the very thing I was attempting to make a break from.  I usually create a new journal one of two ways, either I create signatures & work in them & then bind it all together, or I create a blank journal and work through the pages in it.  Each has its benefits and draw backs, however the perfectionist in me struggles to complete a book when I start to dislike one or two of the entries.  It just languishes on the shelf, untouched.

This time I tried a whole new approach, I have torn up a whole stack of pages and am just working on the pages as I go – they are not even a ‘folded page’ (for a signature) – just loose pages.  My intention is to ‘Zutter Bind’ them when the time comes to bring them together.  It is actually quite liberating – ‘cos if I really hate something – I just don’t have to include it.  That makes a big difference to how I approach each page, I don’t feel the anxiety of the ‘blank page’ because I can abandon the composition at anytime.  Sounds VERY precious & non commmital doesn’t it???  I have just found that it’s liberating. 

SIGNATURE – (as far as in relation to Communication Arts / Printing, Lithography & Bookbinding)
Printing a.  a sheet of paper printed with several pages that upon folding will become a section or sections of a book

from the guilt box

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I have something that I am sure NO OTHER ARTIST has in their studio!!   It’s kinda ‘the elephant in the room’ – I know it as my guilt box! My guilt box is something that kinda evolved gradually in the year before I began studying.  For anyone who knows what this means, it was the year of living with a black dog in the year that our business collapsed & we lost two little grandblessings.  A corner started to evolve,  that I avoided, it contained a growing pile of  beginnings of projects had become ‘stuck’ for one reason or another. 

I became paralyze and stopped beginning things, because I didn’t think that I was going to be able to finish them, so it wasn’t worth commencing.  I DO read my own advice to others! LOL!

The following year, (2009) I began studying art full time as a kind of therapy to ‘jolt’ me out of the ‘dog kennel’…………..but still the pile in the corner remained, and expanded.  It kinda happened as projects for leisure ongoingly took a back seat to the need to endlessly ‘produce’ artwork for one timeline after another for college, on subjects that I really didn’t have a great deal of interest in, but was obliged to complete & go through the process.  Works in Progress (WIP’s) were frequently packed up to ‘clear the decks’ for the current ‘SCHOOL’ project & WIP’s soon became Projects of Waiting (POW’s – waiting for inspirations, supplies, time, help!!) gradually slipped into the Unfinished Objects (UFO’s) & and then, as inspiration & momentum was lost along the way, gradually joined a growing list of things on my ‘guilt list’. 

GUILTY because
– I had bought/hunted out supplies especially for this project & now it was languishing, I have wasted time & money
– It is outside the expected time line (postage date, agreed timeline)
– I can’t think of an idea that doesn’t seem to lame to even begin to complete the task of completing
– The work I have already done isn’t what I want it to look like & I don’t know how to make it better
– I have completed/are doing other things instead of the thing I ‘SHOULD’ be doing/completing

OK!!!! IS THIS SOUNDING LIKE A PSYCH CONSULT?  AM i ALONE HERE????  Does YOUR studio have a ‘box of guilt’ in a corner or a drawer???? or do you all just begin & complete projects in one hit, and THEN move on to the next thing???  As we will be moving house soon, and I am going to have to literally pack up EVERYTHING and PAY to have it stored………..it will cost me money to retain these projects.  I MUST MAKE  A DECISION & I am a shocker when I don’t know what to do – I do nothing – it has been both my personal & professional undoing – but it is painfully true!  SO – here’s my plan – one month at a time – on the first of the month (I HAVE EXCUSED DECEMBER for pending Christmas projects) I am going to get something out of my guilt box or my pile of UFO’s.  I am going to give myself the whole month to ‘deal’ with them – ie make progress, send it back, complete it, decide how I am going to move forward……….at the end of the month – if it is still in the same state as the start of the month – it will be taken apart as ‘salvage’ – cut up, torn up, supplies separated, etc.  THAT’s my plan anyways!  SO the pictures you see here are October’s contribution.  I have had this journal (GULP) for about 18 months – sitting in my drawer, with the page below semi painted.  I wasn’t happy with my ‘Lady of the Lake’, I wanted her to be regal & kind of stately, without being pouty – I have painted & painted this mouth about TWENTY-SEVEN times!! LOL!!!  She still seems pouty to me!  Anyways, it’s done  & I had a delightful couple of late nights painting the ‘midsummer night’ pages at the top as penance (do an extra spread) before the darling little book goes home to it’s rightful owner.

THESE ARE THE BOOKS INFLUENCING MY ART THIS WEEK

also the article in CLOTH PAPER SCISSORS
Dec issue article ‘Artist Heal Thyself’ by Lorretta Bendetto Marvel

More from ‘A Different Perspective’

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Thank you for the kind, & encouraging comments & private emails in reference to my last post – saying my art wasn’t very good – it really sounded like a pitty party & I am sorry if I lost you there – it wasn’t my intention – the story is that I am on a cusp of my art moving from altered art to original art (printing, painting & drawing) – but my ‘original art’ is not of a good enough standard at the moment to stand alone – then I try to blend a little original art and the ‘muddy’ colourful altered style that I tend to lean toward – & that’s were the self loathing kicks in!  I usually don’t like the result.  It actually gets back to what I talked about here  Perception & Reality are not always aligned.  Anyways – moving forward……….

Here’s a couple more pages from my recent art efforts for my new ‘simple look’ journal……’A different Perspective’  Some of them are still works in progress, however I am not sure whether that’s me trying to complicate them or whether they truely need more – so I am just sitting with them as is.  UNUSUALLY – not many photographs this week, not much happening that has captured my attention………except to say I love the late afternoon sun in my new west facing studio room.  It bathes me in orange & watermelon pink & I love it.  I imagine it as glory!

post script …………. this little ‘vessel’ has slipped out of the slide show & I can’t put it back – so it stands alone at the moment.

A Different Perspective

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another month has flown by and our souls are starting to dry a little from a very wet winter (which of course we are thankful for!)  Life has gotten in the way of art this last month & I have been trying to find my artistic voice within constraints of limited space, limited supplies & limited time.  They all suck – but it’s just a season & that’s how life goes sometimes in families.  I wanted to create myself a new journal to work in & to be able to at least be doing a little something, & so I started out with to book board covers cut to A4 size & punched that & 20 pages of water colour paper for zutter binding.  These covers were subsequently collaged, layered, painted, glazed & rubbed on but when it was finished I hated it.  Although I recognize that I lean toward the ‘murky’ (clear colours look so insipid to me) I have just lost the plot here, & it’s so MURKY it’s just a green blob – had I just painted it in a mottled effect over some newspaper, I don’t think it would have looked any worse!  LOL!! the saving grace is the gorgeous vintage flower buttons that are on the cover.  They are a treasure & although you can’t tell in the picture, they are really finely detailed.  So I had a week or so mopping, dissatisfied, but not really knowing where to head next………….I am seeing amazing colour all around me as Spring transforms all of my senses.

Baby birds are everywhere & our garden is filled with gorgeous crimson rosellas & king parrots feeding on the seed we leave out for them daily.  As I type this, I can hear the chortling bell like sound of their call to a garden with a generous bounty.

spring light has saturated the dark corners of winter & the days are stretching out into early evening…….the canvas spread before us from our front verandah every night is jaw dropping and a photograph is a poor substitute – but here’s a glimpse

and of course the gardens are resplendant with a riot of colour which our grandblessings are just lovin’…………despite all of this, (I, the COLOUR guru!!! – note the irony,) have felt that I need to parr back & simplify a little.   I have shelved my ‘green lump’ book (the one with totally gorgeous vintage buttons wasted on it!! LOL!) & though I know that will come into it’s own at this point (I have a use in mind, but at the moment, I don’t love it enough to open it, or to want to work in it & when I am already time challenged) – an uninspiring surface to begin with is not going to help progress.

I  have been encouraged in one of my online art groups to contemplate “Sprezzatura”  or  deliberate carelessness.  Wikipedia defines it as: “a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.” Vasari, Raphael and Leonardo were exponents. Picasso’s drawings are a good example- simple expressive lines with little or no attention to anatomy

Being such a perfectionist, I struggle here & I have found recently that perfectionism like a ball & chain, because my art is not that good – and my ‘artly vision’ for my piece is that it have a realism impact- and then when my skill deficit kicks in & the piece is mid process, it’s not what I had in mind at all.  Robert Genn (from The Painter’s Keys) has suggested:

  • Put speed into your strokes by lengthening them.
  • Leave parts unfinished- let the viewer complete for you.
  • Put the mark “near,” not “on” the place it should be.
  • & THE HARDEST ADVICE – Just for a while, don’t take yourself so seriously!!
  • Make notes of incomplete thoughts, fragments, figments
  • Let ideas freely associate and take you where they will
  • then, revisit your thoughts and ask, “What could be?”
  • then – Liberate yourself by consciously omitting the word, “I.”.. &.Circle, highlight and re-illustrate ideas in progress

Some other thoughts he has are:

  • Choose your brush, then take a bigger one.
  • Think of your brush as part of your voice.
  • Fight the common tendancy to tighten up.
  • Try working with ‘idea,’ not style.
  • Don’t fret the Freudian slips.
  • Be esuberante (exuberant).
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Sing Italian arias…….not that I sing them – but I often play THIS in my studio

A sweet & dear friend who has seen my recent state, gifted me a gorgeous journal book by Sabina Ward Harrison – The True & the Questions.  The perfectionist in me prevents me from actually writing in it! LOL! but it is provoking & influencing me right now, especially to work with ink again, which has been set aside for for a while.

SO – here’s the new journey – I HAVE parred back, AND AGAIN, parred back – for the moment I am working with a palette of Titanium White, Titian Buff & Burnt Umber, with little splashes of colour, that I am then wiping back & ‘whiting’ over to lessen their impact.  I am also working with stamping & alcohol inks for highlights & text.  Here’s the results so far…………I have titled this new art journal..”A Different Perspective’…………. as it began life by me finding a broken magnifying glass in an antiques junk shed……….

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A little birdie told me

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I have been working at trying to bring together lots of elements of a LONG over due special project the last few weeks.  It’s a unique handmade coptic bound book that brings together old, new, plain & printed.  Both disgarded scraps & treasures.

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  I have made lots of add ins & pocket fillings, that make it intriguing to look through.  The slide show is just a snippet of how many shots I have taken – there are 10 signatures (group of pages) each with 10 pages so there is a lot to see.  If you’d like to see some more – check out the flickr album for this project.

Alice Wonders

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 He’s my new take on the Japanese accordion fold out book, begun on my art date on my recent trip with the VERY lovely mARTina. Fashioned into a vintage book cover with ‘topiary’ art nouveau styled rose bushes on a red cover, it was begging to become an Alice project.
As you may be aware, I have been part of several Japanese Fold Moleskine exchanges over the last few months and there are two things that I find somewhat limiting. Firstly the size – there is the size there is – and that’s all! (about 6 x 4in) AND the paper is NOT really an artist paper – & ESPECIALLY NOT for mixed media – so it protests & falls limp anytime you even suggest a wet medium to it! BUT, I have to say, I am getting a little hooked on the ‘continuum’ effect of the folds of the paper & so wanted have a go at creating one of my own, and then the chance to put it in a vintage cover sealled the deal!
I have used molding paste to fill in the original title, then alcohol inks & stamping re-inkers to colour it back up –  – I will probably end up making a metal name plate for it and cover it over, as it’s a bit ordinary looking in the flesh . As the original book was quite thick, it meant I have had to make my accordian quite long – so I might be working in it for 10 years – but I have loved Alice all my life and there will always be something to add to it. OF COURSE – a new project would never be complete without a new TOOL to buy (thx AGAIN M!) I have a VERY well stocked studio, although I have managed to some of the more recent ‘must haves’ and try to be selective with my purchases as to whether I will actually get good use out of it (after buying a TOTALLY useless gimmick wide stapler that doesn’t pierce ANYTHING!)…….Having said all that – mARTina introducted (Princess 4’s word) me to a ‘scoring board’ Now all you card makers out there would know about these and already probably have one – but as an altered artist and book artist – I hadn’t heard of it! I scoured far and wide (which was an expensive exercise in itself because I ‘had’ to make purchases all along the way! LOL!) and eventually found my new best friend…………the Martha Stewart Scoring BoardMartha Stewart Scoring Board. mARTina had the ScorePal one, however due to the line spacing, she recommended the MS one – and mARTina – it is MUCH better for book making – I guess for card making it wouldn’t be so much of an issue, but page size has to match the cover when repurposing vintage books – so the 1/8th inch spacing on the MS one is great. Sue has done a comparision of the two if you’d like to read it here. Keeping in mind that IF you are a US reader, the prices may matter – for us Aussies – we pay top dollar regardless of the brand! SO just get the best tool! LOL! The MS one also has a nifty envelope folder that tucks in to the back of the board and the bone folder that comes with it is finer – so your ‘score lines’ are also finer.

(OH – and if you are still reading this on TYPEPAD – please change your link to www.thecolourguru.wordpress.com WORDPRESS have this great feature where you can instantly create a slide show in your post from photos you upload, without having to use a third party tool (slide, piccasa, etc) – SO there are more pics of the book before, during & after on THERE!

old is new again

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WOW – only a week in as a FB newbie & I love it!  Have touched base with heaps of old friends and have even managed a 'catch-up' coffee & a dinner date for this week.  Facebook's not my only 'uncovery' of IMG_0592the week – I have also managed to discover iPhonography (like I need ONE more distraction from my iPhone…………..my hubbie just groans & mummbles something inaudible as I display to him my latest iPhone discovery………….warble, warble, fandangled……warble………)…. I am not going to go on about that here, I have done a post about that on my journalling blog if you'd like to look – it is pretty amazing what can be done with 2mg camera + iPhone apps = fascinating results………here's a peak of one of them

What I have been concerntrating on (art wise) is finishing off to very special gifts (!gulp!!! - they are actually a CHRISTMAS present! - we have this understanding see – by recieving late gifts, the celebration lasts longer!)…… these friends are adopted 'family' & we have an understanding about these things! – don't we guys????  we still do – yeah???? LOL!) - I just can't seem to finish it I think I'm done – but then I want to add more - I leave it a day or overnight, and then hate it when I come back to it.  I swear I procrastinate in a way now over my art in a way I NEVER did before art school – here's a clue for budding artists – DON'T go!  ANYWAYS, enough of my cynicsm (sp?) - I have been on the computer all evening – still haven't bought it to a conclusion – and it's time for bed.  TOMORROW i WILL do better! (ummmm……if I don't open my Facebook page! [sheepish grin]

 Here's a sneak peak of a little – as it isn't sent yet – I won't show too much – but just a little eye candy! IMG_1511_resize
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I have been exploring the concept of Wabi-Sabi with this project and I have to say that I have a nurtured & growing appreciation for it.  I'll explain more about this later when I finally post it.  Finishing this off has kept me quite busy as there is a lot of work involved – but it's a labour of love for special friends and so I want it to be unique!

AND to finish off on a great note!  An absolutely intriguing YouTube video of an altered book form.  It's not new – it's another of my uncoveries of the week!