Sunday, March 20, 2016

What I've been up to in and outside the studio over past couple weeks

Even though I haven't posted in a while, I've been busy in the studio! I'm continuing to work on my process and the dark mark concept. I'm in the process of gessoing some more paper in preparation for more drawings and paintings on paper. In addition, after looking at a stack of old paintings that weren't very good and just taking up space, I decided to sand them down and start a new painting over them... something worth looking at and showing. I started with the biggest one figuring it would be a challenge to see if I could continue my dark mark exploration in a larger scale!

Of cource once I got started I decided the orange and yellow just weren't working for me.... these colors just didn't feel right sooooo... I spent 2 days painting that out. The more I looked and contemplated the more a pale blue seemed to call to me. So once the paint dries I will rework the image incorporating the blue into the black, gray and white composition. I'm thinking about picking up a black oil stick to help me capture the black marks I'm looking for... I think that medium will  help me create a more defined mark with stronger edges and directional force.

In addition to painting, I've also been experimenting with alternative bookbinding processes. One day I was looking at an empty match stick box. The more I looked at the box, turning it over in my hand the more I wondered, could I use this structure as a template for an artist book? The result:

It worked perfectly! I still need to draw on the cover, decorate it if you will. Once I had the box structure made I decided to fill it with miniture drawings ... these are all created with liquid graphite (actually the graphite wasn't liquide but rather a tin of solid graphite power) I used a wet paintbrush to apply it to the paper using my photographs of cracks on concrete as my inspiration. There are 8 drawings in total housed in the box.

Since graduate school, I've always been fasinated by the 'artist book' or 'alternative books' as they are often called. So when a couple of bookbinding classes came up at the Art Students League I decided to sign up.  The first one I took was called Paste Paper, Bookbinding and Doodads.  I signed up for this one because it was short (3 hours) and it had bookbinding in the title, plus I was curious to know what Doodads were! Sadly the only thing the instructor covered was 'paste paper' .... although I ended up making some really cool paste paper I would have loved at some point in the 3 hours if she would have at least showed us how the paste paper was used in bookbinding... some kind of coverage of that part of the topic as well as the 'doodads' part would have been nice but alas it was not to be! Boo...

The next workshop I took was a few days later (same instructor so I was a little worried) was on Tunnel books. I was not disappointed with this workshop as I did learn how to make a tunnel book! I wasn't really interested in making a beautiful work of art in this class but rather learning how to make the book and understanding how to design it... I figured once I had that knowledge I could take my time and really develop a concept, spending quality time designing the book (the book artist equivalent of 'process').... loved the result and now I have a great visual reference!

So the way a tunnel book works is like this... first think accordian with an opening in the middle (in this case my openings were circles that got smaller with each page moving back). Some openings are round, others are square depending on what you are doing with the imagery.  Each image is on a different page... the first is the cyclist (a woman), the next is an image of a female artist - the abstract expressionist Joan Mitchell (I think, either her or Helen Frankenthaler) and a section of her studio. The one after that included a cut out of flowers and a dragonfly, then writers from the 1920's sitting at a cafe with koi fish above them. The back panel was a collage image of the Eiffel tower and the boulevard and gardens that lead up to it. Sadly I did not position the images correctly so the viewer can really see the tower! That's Ok though as this was a learning experience so going forward I need to take this into consideration when I'm designing my next book! Happily... I've already got a few ideas floating around in my head!

The same instructor is leading a 4 week class on other types of alternative bookbinding but I'm still taking my hand building sculpture class so I can't sign on for that one... but what I did do was I googled via you tubed all the types of books she had listed that they would cover and I've found 'how to' videos for most of them and I've bookmarked them! I'm still looking for one on the 'Chinese Sewing Book box' but I've been assured by one of my workshop class mates (who also happened to be the Executive Director of the League) that there was a youtube video on it as she has seen it herself... so I will continue to search! I also ordered 3 used books from Amazon on the subject! Did I mention... I love making stuff!

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