Friday, May 27, 2011

Fiesta San Antonio Travel Journal

I created my travel journal about our April trip to visit friends in San Antonio quite some time ago but only today had the time to scan and photograph the book and its pages. 
This journal is an accordion book in a box, a re-purposed cigar box that's slightly larger than the 7 1/2 inch square book..
 Pieces of ephemera, postcards, maps, and brochures, that didn't make it into the journal are stored in the box along with the book itself.
I used a full sheet of watercolor paper which was painted randomly with bright colors to represent the excitement of Fiesta, and I brushed some thinned down gesso over areas of the paint to bring light into the colors. The reverse side is also painted but not in the same colorway, and will probably be treated as another trip journal someday.
The paper was folded into 7.5" sections to form the book and I strengthened the folds with bookbinders tape on the back.

While we were traveling I kept a journal of observations and sketches in my little Moleskine notebook that I carry with me all the time and didn't work on this until I returned home. I took care to collect ephemera of all kinds that could be used later in this travel journal.
What I look for includes postcards, maps, brochures, coasters, pins, name tags, and tickets.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Repurposing Children's Board Books

Children's board books, the kind with super heavy pages, make great substrates for small paintings.
  1. Tear the book apart, page by page. Leave the tatters on the edges.
  2. Tear strips of cotton fabric, any weight from gauze to heavy duck, whatever you have. The strips should be approximately the size and shape of the boards. It's okay that the edges won't line up. This fabric helps cover the original images and colors and is used to add texture. Skip this step if you want smooth pages.
  3. Use any white glue (Elmer's, Sobo, PVA, etc.) to glue a strip of fabric to each side of each of the pages. Allow to dry.
  4. Optional: Coat all surfaces with acrylic gel medium to seal in any acids.
  5. Apply gesso liberally to all surfaces of the fabric and board. Dry.
  1. For the above book I painted, stamped and stenciled my designs onto 5 prepared book pages, allowing paint to dry between coats.  I set 2 grommets in each page on the inner edges where one page would attach to another, and then used short chains to bind the pages together.
  2. I have used some of the single pages for the substrate for small paintings. Sorry, no pictures available.
  3. Some board books have large holes which can be useful to create a niche by gluing a page with a hole on top of a solid page and then put something into this niche.
  4. Of course one could tell a new story on the painted pages.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Calla Lily - finished

Calla Lily
22 x 30"
acrylic on paper
Here's the completed painting. I like it more every time I come back to have a look.  If you click on the image you'll be able to see some of the detail. I'll put it away and put up another sheet of paper and see what happens.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Portrait of a Calla Lily

Painting again
I've been painting again and it sure feels good. It's been way too long since I felt the need to pick up my brush and move the paint around. What set me off was a bouquet of white calla lilies with their long stems and graceful shape. I very nearly waited too long to start... the blooms had started to turn brown on the tips before I set up at the easel. But since I don't want to worry about realism in my approach to the canvas I didn't let a few dead bits stop me.

The painting isn't finished but here's an early view to show you that I'm actually working.

And you can also see a bit of the area where I've set up my easel. It's a tight fit between a bookcase-turned-paint-storage unit and my flat files-turned-taboret. This isn't a perfect setup, mostly because the light is bad, but I'll play around here for awhile and see if it grows on me. I do like having the easel against the wall instead of in the middle of valuable floor space, and it's positioned so I can easily get a long view from across the room or even out in the hall.

Catalog as Journal
The Anthropologie catalog arrived in my mailbox a couple of days ago. Now mind you, the clothes in that store don't suit my style but whoever designs the catalog appeals to my sensibilities in a big way. The pages are spare with lots of negative space that just cries out for journaling and the beautiful scenes are perfect backdrops for more collage. Maybe Little Jo will go visit India along with Anthropologie.

My plan is to take the catalog apart by removing the staples.  Then I'll sew strips of fabric to the spine of each double page to stablize it, and add more bits of fabric and lace and collage bits here and there with machining. When I've redesigned the pages to suit myself I'll sew the pages back together and into a more sturdy cover, and I'll end up with a new daily journal for the rest of the spring.

My blog buddy Susie LaFond had a similar idea and posted about it on her blog today. Click here to read what she has to say.  I loved her encouraging words, "Go out and find a puddle to play in". Amen!
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