"When we all think alike, then no one is thinking."
— Walter Lippman

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fun with Photoshop

Five different images were used to create this 16 layer work in Photoshop.  My inspiration came in the form of an email from my dear friend and kindred spirit, Terry Garrett. Yesterday he sent me several links of artist's work that he thought I might like.  After spending time looking at all the eye-candy,  I was so inspired, I could hardly wait to get started on some work of my own.  This is often how it begins.
The image of my cat Chance was the starting point and the composition grew intuitively from there.
There is still so much to learn about image manipulation in photoshop, but it is always an adventure to see what will happen.  Don't be afraid to experiment.  Go where the muse takes you and above all, have fun with your imagination.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hide and Seek

My offering for this month's art exchange features the sport of Geocaching.
I decided to experiment with an original black and white photo and used a gradient blend of three colors to alter the image.  This is the result.   I hope it reflects the enthusiasm I have for this high tech game of "Hide and Seek."

The original photo for this image was taken near Clear Lake, Iowa at the site of the 1959 plane crash that claimed the life of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, and pilot Roger Peterson.  The "Virtual Cache" at this site called for a photo to be submitted with the cache log.  

There was a strange energy at this place that seemed to come through in the shot.  I made the half mile walk through a cornfield just after sunrise on a cold autumn morning and set up my tripod for the photo.  As the timer went off, there was a rustling in the rows of tall dry corn which caused me to look in that direction.  Crows.  
I stayed for a while looking out over that landscape and could imagine a snowstorm in the early morning hours long ago and the events that happened there.

For more information about Geocaching, click here.
For more information about the Buddy Holly plane crash, click here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Red Leather and Centipedes

I like to recycle good usable materials whenever possible, and frequent trips to thrift shops are part of my routine.  On one visit I found a red leather coat that was probably not going to have a future in fashion.  It was an ugly coat, but the leather was beautiful.    I purchased the coat, took it apart and cut book spines. 
This journal was similar to another one I recently put in my store and I wanted to make it different somehow.   It needed a few red centipedes on the cover.....
As I was taking pictures of the new book, I suddenly had an assistant.  Chance wanted to get a closer look at that red leather spine.  He couldn't believe it was made from an old coat!
Here is the inside of the cover and the back side of the centipede stitches.  I like to leave them exposed.
Consider how you can recycle interesting and useful materials into your artwork.   Visit your local thrift store and imagine the possibilities.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Current Journal

Although most of the books I make go into the hands of others, this is the visual journal I am currently carrying and working in.  
The covers and spine are hand painted canvas.  I chose the dark earthy colors I love, and stitched 2 centipedes in waxed linen across the surface. 
Attached to a page-marker are some items that each have symbolic meaning.  The small face charm represents a playful childlike spirit, the key opens the mind to possibilities, and the metal tag with "Imagine" stamped on it reminds me to look beyond the obvious.
Much of the paper for the inside of this journal was pre-painted before being cut into pages and bound.  I used concentrated inks and put sea-salt on the wet pages to create the interesting textures as they dried.
I find a blank surface intimidating to work on, so I usually paint or alter the pages of a book prior to working in it. 

On the inner cover, you can see the back side of the centipede stitching.  I like the structure of this stitch and chose it as a place to write my name in the book. 

The title page has two important messages:  "Silence your inner critic" and "Take time to wonder."  
The page in view is the result of a drawing exercise called "Picasso Dogs" from the book Drawing Lab by Carla Sonheim.  I had so much fun with this technique that I introduced it to one of my drawing classes. 
Since this journal is in the early stages, I have only completed a few pages.  So many possibilities await!
Remember your childlike playful spirit, open your mind and look beyond the obvious.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Painted Canvas Covers

 One of my students recently gifted me with several rolls of fine artist's canvas.  Within hours a large section of the canvas was on my work table getting painted for book covers.    The painted canvas is adhered to heavy book board, resulting in a very sturdy journal cover.  
This example shows a strap binding with heavy leather.   Signatures are attached with a version of the longstitch binding method.  
With this new supply of canvas, the plans are to make a few more of these and continue to experiment with alternate cover treatments.   It's always an adventure and so much fun to play.
You will find this journal and others in my Etsy Shop.
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