Currently I am working on sketchbooks and notebooks for my trip to Sicily and Italy. I always like to take a notebook with me. It helps when I don’t remember what I did the day before yesterday, and I have still to write in my sketchbook. It holds the addresses and phone numbers of hotels, and the times of trains.
I found this piece of Gelli print for the cover. You can see a video of my demonstration of Gelli printing here, and maybe I even made this print while I was demonstrating that day. More also on the Gelli Arts blog. It is full of great ideas.
This notebook is A6 size. It has six signatures sewn into a concertina, then it has bands glued under the endpapers to hold it together. The Gelli cover is two layers, a lemon, and a mesh of onion bag. Colours are Matisse Emerald and Australian Red Violet. Both with Open Medium. The endpapers are Credit Card Papers. There’s another demo video of that (and paste papers).
Now I can start writing in it. I’m looking forward to filling it up on my travels.
A slow festive season for me this year, and not even as much art work done as I would like. But these I DID do. They are about A2 size, and they are meant for cover papers for new sketchbooks. More sketchbooks you say? Yes, I’m going travelling again soon in a little while. Back to Italy again. Via Hong Kong this time.
I will be doing an art workshop in Sicily. As you can see, it is right up my street, with bookmaking printmaking and sketching. It will be wonderful, making art and seeing Sicily with like-minded people. I decided to make some sketchbooks before I go. I will do the same as I did with my last trip and take some prepared collage and acquire the rest. I will take another one unbound (well, ready for stitching) so that I can put prints into it that I make in Sicily.
I wanted to do some cover papers that were different from my paste paper ones. This yellow one was inspired by this blog and the colours of the ceramics of Sicily. I used a stencil and many layers. It took some time. Not only do I have to wait for the paper to dry, but also the stencils and the little foam rollers.
For my second paper I reused the stencils I cut myself for my artists book of Bologna that was acquired by Southern Cross University. I am going to spend a whole week in Bologna this time, and from there I will go to Arezzo for almost a week. There are arches in Arezzo too, the birthplace of Vasari. Though Arezzo doesn’t have the red. The Bologna paper hasn’t scanned so well. It has many layers of different reds, topped by layers of metallics (gold, bronze, copper). It looks pretty good IRL.
Thanks to Mary Ann Moss I watched this wonderful video about book-making at the Penland School. I picked up such a good idea from it; to make a frame the size of the book cover and move it around the paper to choose the best place. I do that visually already, but a frame is a great idea. And I think I need to make some more paste papers after watching this also.
I have a paste paper book by Diane Maurer-Mathieson which is excellent. Amazon doesn’t have it now, but Abebooks does.
When I got back from my trip to Europe, my adult nephew from Brisbane came down to visit. I showed him my travel sketchbook. after a while he said, ‘I would like to do that. But I failed drawing when I was six’. And then he said, ‘But then again, I do technical drawings for my work.’ I said, well, in that case you can do it. Anyone can do it. I showed him Danny Gregory’s book The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be the Artist You Truly Are. I also gave him some paper and a pen. He sketched several times a day for the next few days, and when he wasn’t doing that, he was reading Danny’s book. He got on to amazon.com and ordered it too.
Then I gave him a sketchbook – a bought one – but he expressed the wish to make one like mine. A few weekends later he came down again ‘to go sketching’. The weather forecast wasn’t good, so I went up to the art shop and bought enough Canaletto paper to make two books. Just as well.
So Friday night we talked sketching and painting and he ordered The Art of Perspective: The Ultimate Guide for Artists in Every Medium. I have a review half-written to post on this blog. This book is perspective but so much more. He also ordered The Complete Watercolorist’s Essential Notebook: A treasury of watercolor secrets discovered through decades of painting and experimentation. This is two books in one and has everything you need to know about watercolour, particularly for landscape.
Saturday it poured with rain. I made the blue book above. I really loved this format while I was travelling, and I think I will stick to it for a while. My nephew chose some of my paste paper in burnt sienna and green for his covers, and an old map for the end papers. He had never done this before, but he took to coptic binding like a duck to water. Stitching faster than me, and a beautiful professional result. He has every right to be proud of it.
Then later he looked at some more of my books and ordered Danny Gregory’s An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers, and also The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing On Location Around The World. I think you could say he is hooked.
This week we had a paste paper day. It was the first for over two years, and we had to get back in the swing of it. Julia came, and Annie, and we each made some paste at home the night before. It was a first for Julia. Annie and I had done it many times before but neither of us could remember which recipe we used to cook the paste. Both of us used a different recipe and got different results. Julia used a third method.
My aim for the day was to make some good ‘pulled’ paste papers. This is done by putting two wet pieces of paste paper face together and pressing them down with your hands so that the paint transferred from each one to the other. Somehow we had a bit of trouble with getting interesting ones, whereas , beginners’ luck, we used to get wonderful ones in the past. The first pair of papers here are done this way, but the results weren’t the wonderful mossy marks we are used to getting. Maybe the paste was a little thin.
Later in the day, Annie made a great one by using a slightly larger sheet and folding it back on itself, giving the intricate patterns seen in the green-and-red and the blue-and-yellow-and green. These are my papers, made using this method. We were using slightly thicker paste by this time.
The last job of the day for me, late in the day given it is winter, was a final coat of silver on top of many coats on a paper I wasn’t happy with. Looking good. now!
One thing we learnt from the day,was that the papers done on thicker paper seemed to work out the best. It can’t be too thick, because it then can’t be used to cover book boards. Watercolour paper is both too thick and too absorbent. We used a lot of different papers including 110gsm cartridge paper. The very best paper, we got from a paper warehouse that has since closed down and of course we can’t get it any more.
Just before I went to Bali recently, I made two tiny notebooks. One for Broni, one for me. They were for writing down things like phone numbers, exchange rates, things like that. They were so useful that we pretty much filled them up. Well, when you’re working in millions of rupiah, all those zeros take up a lot of space.
We decided that we would need new ones for Europe, and that they would need to be a bit bigger. We will have train times to write down, a few more hotel phone numbers, and besides that, the trip goes on a lot longer. So, these new ones are A6 size, and the structure is a concertina with a signature sewn into each valley fold. They are stitched with pamphlet stitch, and a band of paper has been threaded through the stitching on the spine and glued into the cover to stop the concertina unfolding. The covers and endpapers are made from credit card papers.
We will be off at the end of the month…….Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and Thailand. Send me a message if you want to catch up.
Though I haven’t been sketching much lately, I have been making cards with my Gelli prints. Many of the ones I’ve made previously have been on top of recycled etchings or other types of fine art prints. I made quite a number framed by white and cream (the eco dyed ones for example) so I decided I needed more brights. As it happens, the ones I chose to photograph this time are Gelli printed only.
The first one has been printed with a capsicum (green pepper) and some sewing cotton. It has some glorious colours in there, and of course I don’t have a clue what colours I used. Perhaps some Matisse Primary Red which is quite a blue-red.
The second one is with a commercially available stencil and another layer with some sewing cotton. There is a layer of yellow, some red, then some blue. I’ve noticed that I often use the three primary colours for Gelli printing. This one has some yellow, a warmer red, and some blue. I often use Matisse Southern Ocean Blue. I love that colour.
The third card uses the same colours, but could it be more different? It’s a combination of fruit and vegetable bags from the greengrocer.
Number four with the purple border is just gorgeous ‘in the flesh’. There’s some orange there, some magenta, and a colour that could be Australian Yellow Green. (All these colours are Matisse Flow, used about 50/50 with Matisse Open Medium.) This one is capsicum again, with I think lemons in a pale colour underneath. There are some filmy capsicums in iridescent on top.
The final one is a yellow first layer with sewing cotton, then lemons with green, followed by a stamp with a capsicum in Southern Ocean Blue.
They all have colour coordinated envelopes in brights that contrast with the main colour of the card.