This is an altered book that I started a while ago. I’d been using different pages for different techniques, but I’d left this page, with the three cut-out alcoves alone.
I wanted to work with the juxtaposition of teal with that apricot color. I love these two colors together. First I took the blue art paper and used my silk screen of the wings to make wings with interference paint. You can’t see it very well, which is kind of nice, because if it weren’t subtle it might overwhelm it. Then I painted the interior of the little alcoves in the bright yellows and oranges.
After that, I glued the paper on and carefully cut out the squares. It’s not hard, as I can feel the crisp edge of the paper block. Then I had to sift through my stuff and find things that worked. I had the polymer clay face with interference paint on it, and I added mica pigments to the tiles and the polymer clay tablet-tile.
As with many things I do, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but it came out okay. I learned some things. I especially learned that it’s a pain in the butt to photograph altered books. They just don’t like to lay open.
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These are my favorite of the February batch of bottlecaps. I like the watch face because of its complexity, the baby’s arm because it’s creepy, and the bolt over the flower because it works from a composition standpoint.
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It’s funny how sometimes the things that take you the longest are the least impressive. I spent a long time on this book. It had many different steps, from screwing the pages shut, to cutting the insert out. I agonized over every piece to put into the book. Which colors go right? Do I draw something, or do my drawings look too horrible? Will the frame fit? Is this piece good enough to deserve an antique key?
You don’t see the things I decided didn’t work. For example, I was going to frame the drawing, but didn’t like it. I was thinking of adding some small animal teeth from an owl pellet (too gross). I went through lots of papers too, before deciding on what I chose here. I had to doctor the little frame to make it work.
For the cover, I took a piece of printed calico and painted over it with black gesso. I wanted to have creepy tree branches, so I made two silkscreens and printed on them. I’m not happy with the silkscreens. I’ve decided that photo emulsion is the only way to get the fine detail I demand. I printed and embossed the keys with a commercially purchased stamp, and cast the key hole from a mold I made of an antique key hole I bought a few years ago. (Note to other artists: the plaster is too fragile for this purpose)
This project dominated my studio table for several months. I can’t say I’m 100% satisfied with it, but I hope I’m learning techniques which will aid me later.
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This is the last set of pages of my art journal.
I was thinking about whether to work on my last entry in my art journal, or whether to start the collage project, and I ended up doing both.Â
First I started writing out in ink ideas about whatÂ I wanted to try. This was both a way of working through the thought process, and creating a background for the artwork.Â After that, I took two pieces of watercolor paper and started my collages.Â
The two collages proved overwhelming for the pages, so after I trimmed the card shape out of them, I placed the frames on the pages to see how they looked.Â I’d already done the crayon rubbing of the songbird (from the linoblock I cut) and I did a print on tissue paper thinking I’d use it for the other collage.Â I like the way they mirror each other, and I like the way that the background text is just barely visible through the tissue paper.
Lesson learned from the art journal project: Art journals are very difficult to photograph.Â Also, you can’t sew on any of the pages without sacrificing the watercolor paper background, which means you’re either not sewing, or you’re just gluing finished pieces onto a support.Â The journal format also limits materials; you can’t choose anything too thick (poppy seed heads or doll faces) or too sticky (acrylic).Â I’ve found this with altered books too.Â The book form is really neither 3D or 2D, and has the worst of both worlds.Â Of course, with altered books, you get the joy of recycling, so I may deal with the drawbacks and continue my other altered book projects.Â Or maybe not.
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