"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind". - Henry James

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Books from Scratch!

Last week was class one of a really wonderful bookbinding class I'm taking at the Sharon Arts Center in Sharon, New Hampshire called "Books from Scratch!"

We made amazing, and surprisingly beautiful, paste paper for our covers.  Our teacher, Celeste, mixed up a big batch of Elmer's Paper Mache Art Paste and colored it with globs of acrylic paint and set us to work swirling and layering and smooshing and stamping on sheets of drawing paper.  While our papers dried, we folded stacks of signatures of drawing paper for our books.  

This week we used our amazingly gorgeous paste papers to cover binder's board for the covers.  Using waxed linen thread, we learned how to stitch the signatures, end papers, and covers together.  At first I felt all thumbs and sort of hopeless.  I went off track a few times.  But, miracle of miracles, by the end of class I got it!

Celeste sent us home with more thread and instructions to keep going until all the signatures are sewn in.

Done.  (I only had to backtrack once and pull out some stitches when I realized I had missed a loop or gone through the wrong hole or something).

I was never a big fan of Coptic Stitch books.  But I have to say, these are quite lovely.  And the big appeal for me is they lay flat when open!!!  This is crucial for a sketchbook.  I'd like to make one with hot pressed watercolor paper for the signatures.  It's wonderfully smooth to draw on and you have the option of adding color if you should want.  Yay!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pages in Stages

Following Diana Trout's "Nudges", I worked on a page in my journal that I wasn't all that happy with.  It was a page of prompts from Carla Sonheim's Art of Silliness2 Workshop.  The instructions were to draw five blobs or shapes from your imagination, about the size of a large coin, and turn them into something.

The car, hippo, and bird came out okay.  There were a couple of head drawings that bothered me every time I looked at them.  So I decided to use this page for Diana's collage "Nudge".  Collage isn't my thing, but it was sort of fun to randomly and without much thought (before the inner critic got wind) pull out images  and place them on the pages.  Looking at it now, I see I used predominantly orange.  I added the pink and green later.  I sort of like it.

The next step is to paint loosely over the collage with gesso or white paint and draw or write into the wet paint.  I think I'll sit with it for a while before I try that.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Learning PanPastels

Carla Sonheim, of Drawing Lab For Mixed Media fame, does the most wonderful drawings using PanPastels. (Well, all her drawings are really wonderful, but I was thinking particularly of her drawings using PanPastels).  She graciously shared her method of using them on her blog, Carla Sonheim, Snowball Journals and I felt inspired.  I have a starter set of ten; black, white, yellow, red, blue, green, purple, and some earth tones - ochre, umber, and burnt sienna, I think.

For this drawing I used blue, yellow, and red.

It was sort of fun using my fingers to blend and smudge.  And then I pulled out some highlights with an eraser and added some detail with pencil.  Finally, I sprayed it with matte fixative before scanning.

I think I like PanPastels.