Tuesday, December 19, 2006

On 'The Path to Rome' we went to Firenze.

With this post I open my third rebound travel journal - 'The Path to Rome'. Our first stop in Italy was in Firenze. Why do we call Firenze 'Florence'???
We stayed right in the heart of Florence and Cappelle Medice was right at the end of our street with the Duomo at the other.

I saw Michelangelo's David there. In spite of the number of images I've seen of it in my life, seeing it 'in the flesh' (as it were) was still a complete surprise. He is beautiful and wonderful. (To see my other 'David' sketches, click here.)

Firenze was also the only place we visited where we had to resort to the laundromat. It's amazing how much time it takes up!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

My Provence sketchook on notebookism!

I'm thrilled to say that my 'Perfume from Provence' sketchbook is featured on notebookism! I love the site anyway, but feel really touched to be included again! I was over the moon when my 'Guide France' rebinding was hightlighted back in August. Now I think I'm over the... sun!(?)Thanks Armand!

Monday, December 11, 2006

'Perfume from Provence' - Nice

The main reason we went to Nice was for Matisse! We were only to be there two nights so as soon as we arrived we asked directions to the Matisse museum... only to find out it had closed (only a week before we got there!) for 8 months! But we had a lovely time at the Chagall museum and set of to Vence to see the Matisse chapel the next day.

When we got to Vence we felt lucky to find a small exhibition of his work in the gallery there. We did get to see this - and it was fantastic - but when we asked for directions to the Chapel itself, we were told that it was closed!!! (It was the first day of the new quieter season openings!) We walked around to see it from the road all the same, to find you just can't see anything from the road! It must simply mean I'll have to go back!

We did go to St. Paul de Vence though, to the Fondation Maeght. Now this is a museum to see! Calder, Miro, Arp, Braque, Motherwell, Matisse (yes, there was one or two), Picasso, Ernst, Kandinsky etc etc etc etc etc (three etc's would not fully describe the extent of it...)

So go to Nice - for the art - it is magnificant! Just wait until after July 2007 to make sure you get a big dose of Matisse... and stay tuned here for the story about my big dose of Matisse in Rome...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

'Perfume from Provence' - Rousillon

Rousillon! A small village atop a hill of ochre. The architecture reflects this and is alive with colour. If you want to be able to know just how many different shades, tones and colours ochre can be, you need to go there.

You need to go there anyway! It was my favourite place. It sucked me in, but unfortunately circumstances spat me out. Guess I'll just have to go back...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

'Perfume from Provence' - Gordes

Gordes is an amazing hill top village known for it's 'dry' stone. Everything is made from the stone from the hill it stands on and much of it is assembled without mortar.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

'Perfume from Provence' - Avignon

I love Provence. For much of our time in Provence we used Avignon as our base.

Inside the Palais de Papes, Avignon.

Le Pont du Avignon.

A souvenier of Provence.

You can see more of my Avignon sketches here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Opening 'Guide France' - Part 4

Flipping through more pages from 'Guide France', my Paris sketchbook.

I enjoyed using my rebound book. I loved the paper and the books size and weight.
I found I didn't suffer from 'white page fever' and always felt able to draw paint glue write whatever in the familiar environment of my book.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Opening 'Guide France' - Part 3

The Lourve cafe: sacred site for the desperately weary. From my chair, gazing over my 'cafe', I could see the 'Raft of the Medusa' by Gericault.

I thought I 'knew' what the Tour Eiffel looked like. It took a few preliminary sketches to 'find' what it really does look like. (See them here.)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Opening 'Guide France' - Part 2: Musee Picasso

It was an interesting experience drawing Picasso's paintings, there infront of the great man himself (or so it seemed) and amidst a large ever moving crowd.

I sat on benches in the middle of the rooms or stood when there were none. People came up to look at my drawings, sometimes sitting next to me to sneak peaks at my progress. On top of this I had decided my brush texta-style pens would be the quickest and easiest (and I didn't want a confrontation over using watercolours in the gallery). The brush pens make that texta squeak as you draw, and I was drawing fast so the squeaking was prominent.

In order to survive all these external influences and distractions I had to focus on getting the simple 'facts' of the painting down.

I found I hadn't brought my black brush pen and had to use my .8 and scribble to quickly fill the large black areas. I also didn't have all of the colours I needed.

The only thing I had left was to relax into it, free up, scribble and scrawl as best I could. I remembered - almost seemingly on a cellular level - the old lessons I had 'learned' from Picasso from books back home, the lessons on being free and getting it down regardless. I felt the spirit of Picasso there approved in a humorous way, of my scratching out images in texta right there amidst everything. I think he would have liked it, after all he used anything and everything in creating his art, nothing was 'sacred', not until it was done that is.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Opening 'Guide France'

L'oree du Marais, No 29 rue Francis Bourgeois... I had plat du jour - Timbale ou Pecheur au gratin, salade.

Cafe du Metro, bvde St Germain

Walking, walking, we 'found' the Pantheon and de Mairie du 5th Arrondissement which had a Goya exhibition. I thought "a nice little Goya exhibition would be nice right now" (being somewhat overwhelmed). It was nice, but not little at all and my overwhelment continued unabated. Because there was no way I could look at all the beautiful etchings and engravings I decided to draw ONE...
Se repulen. ("They finish themselves" 1778 - 1779.)

It had been raining all day, the seats were wet, everything wet. While I sat a did this quick watercolour (a) I was asked repeatedly "can I have my photo taken with you?" (b) secretly(?) videoed and (c) an organ grinder came along, handed out song sheets and he and his 'choir' did three stiring French songs...
and I wasn't there all that long!

Pont Neuf.
So many bridges, so little time...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I'm back! (although some bits of me are more back than others...)

...actually quite a lot of me wishes I was

here... (Rousillon)

I've had a wonderful trip and the jetlag is waning now. I'm back at work but my head is still somewhere in Provence, Tuscany, actually I think it's Paris. I've done some sketching in those books and once I get my scanner set up again and my daughters visit is over, I'll be posting some of them here. Thanks for waiting everyone; not much longer now!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

What a fitting 'bon voyage'! Some good friends found this in Hanoi, Vietnam only last week, and brought it back for us as we head off (finally!). Our itinerary goes something like - Paris, Avignon, various places in Provence, Florence, Sienna, various places in Tuscany, Venice and Rome. This will be my last post until November when I hope to have something to show from my sketchbooks. All the best until then!
Quel 'voyage de fève 'convenable ! Quelques bons amis ont trouvé ceci à Hanoï, Vietnam seulement la semaine dernière, et l'ont rapporté pour nous comme nous nous dirigeons au loin (finalement !). Notre itinéraire va quelque chose comme - Paris, Avignon, divers endroits en Provence, Florence, Sienna, divers endroits en Toscane, à Venise et à Rome. Ce sera mon dernier poteau jusqu'à novembre où j'espère avoir quelque chose à montrer de mes sketchbooks. Tout le meilleur jusque-là !
Ché 'viaggio di bon 'adatto! Alcuni buoni amici hanno trovato questo a Hanoi, Vietnam soltanto ultima settimana e lo hanno riportato per noi come dirigiamo fuori (infine!). Il nostro itinerario va qualcosa come - Parigi, Avignon, vari posti in Provenza, Firenze, Sienna, vari posti a in Toscana, Venezia e Roma. Ciò sarà il mio ultimo alberino fino a novembre in cui spero di avere qualcosa da mostrare dai miei sketchbooks. Tutto il la cosa migliore fino ad allora!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Travelling further along the bookbinding tangent...

I thought that while I'm going off on a tangent here with all this bookbinding, I'd create a new set on my Flickr site for my 'Bookbinding Journal'. This journal was the second book I ever made and I record the techniques and materials for books I've made and work through ideas for books I intend to make. I don't actually do a lot of bookbinding usually, so the book is filling slowly.
In technical speak the book has one needle coptic binding with white linen thread, 7 signatures of a mix of cartridge and pastel papers, black spine-fatteners (to enable me to glue in lots of stuff without the cover springing open) and red handmade paper cover, with black rice paper on the inside.
You can view the whole set here.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Out there

I've been surprised and very pleased with the response to seeing my rebound Paris sketchbook. Tonight I've been notified that it is featured on http://www.whytraveltofrance.com/ (16th Sept). I was pleased to learn this, mainly because I found out about such an interesting website. I will be reading the posts there before I head off to France shortly. I also discovered 'Guide France'is mentioned on http://bibliophilebullpen.blogspot.com/ (13th Sept). I wasn't contacted by Bibliophilebullpen about their post and I must say I felt a little trepidation when I scrolled down and saw what kind of site it is (old book lovers*). I was afraid of a bashing there for my 'treatment' of old books, but was please to find they have the same idea as me about it - it's better to have a use (in my case, a loving use) for an old book than to see it go to the scrapheap.

This is the title page(s) from my rebound Rome sketchbook. The Path to Rome was the right size for my rebinding project, but not as exciting as Rome and It's Environs which had a plethora of fold-out maps (I love fold out anything, especially maps!) and plans of all the historic buidings and more more more. But unfortunately RAIE was verging on too small, but worse - it had a plastic cover that prevented the pages from opening flat and just wasn't suitable for rebinding. Also the 56 year old pages, thin to begin with, were very fragile. The solution was to add pages from both to my rebound sketchbook. Once again I used hot and cold-pressed watercolour papers and stonehenge drawing paper for the 5 signatures (groups of pages). I added a ribbon page marker, an elastic closer and a velum pocket inside the back cover.

*In reading over this post before pressing the 'publish' button I realised I should change that from "old book lovers" to "lovers of old books"! But I thought it was a nice little pun and I'd leave it as is.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Paris Map featured on Moleskinerie

I'm chuffed to say that my Paris map
has been featured on the wonderfully interesting http://www.moleskinerie.com/ I love this website and have seen some fantastic moleskines on there in the past, so I feel to be included is a great honour. Here's a quick link to the post on this blog that the photo on Moleskinerie comes from http://janallsopp.blogspot.com/2006/09/pages-from-guide-france.html or just scroll down a couple of posts and you'll see it.

And while I'm on the subject, I never posted a link to an article about this same sketchbook on http://www.notebookism.com/2006/08/index.html back on 17 August. Notebookism is a 'sister' (or brother!) site to Moleskinerie, only all notebooks are admired there. Unfortunately at this late stage you have to scroll down quite a way to see my 'Guide France' book in the making. You can also view the same article here on this blog at http://janallsopp.blogspot.com/2006/08/in-search-of-perfect-journal.html

So thanks to all those who showed an interest in my sketchbook making project. I have loved having interested people to share it with!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Happy Birthday Rob!

It's Rob's birthday today. I hope he is having a great one, in a cabin in some National Park somewhere near Mackay. Rob is my brother and we don't see each other often or even talk on the phone much.

But thinking of you these last couple of days, Rob!

I did this blind contour drawing from an old photo of the two of us. After Sunday morning at church, Mum and Dad would often decide to take a photo of us in our good clothes. Of course this meant facing into the blaring summer sun - for the best light! In this photo we are both squinting badly, trying to keep our eyes open in the glare, and our smiles have slipped from fixed to barely there in the time it took for Dad to actually be ready to click the shutter. This drawing does neither of us justice, but I do like blind contours of family from old photos. It's not the first time I've done them like this. I 'feel' more in them than I do in a sketch that doesn't capture a likeness (I think family are the hardest to capture in a drawing!).

So Happy Birthday Rob!

Monday, September 11, 2006

I love paper!

I do, I love paper in all it's forms. I've soooo enjoyed my rebinding experiences largly because I can combine a few different kinds of paper all into one convenient book.

But, Jade at Spectrescope might even love it more... or it looks that way. Jade is a young Australian artist whose work is very exciting. Check her out.

Pages from 'Guide France'

These are pages I've just done in my 'Guide France' rebound sketchbook (see previous posts about rebinding this book). In preparation for our week in Paris, I've drawn maps of the area we will be staying in and added details from walks through the area described in 'Paris Walks' by Sonia, Alison & Rebecca Landes.

The writing is miniscule! I normally have a big bold hand, but this time I didn't want to take up valuable sketching room in my book, so I somehow managed to write like this. I don't know if I'll really be able to read it easily again, but the act of drawing the maps and writing the information has cemented the general ideas in my brain (I hope!).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Have you seen Janey?

If you haven't already, or if you have before but not yet today, visit Janey's Journey and check out her unique drawings. If you love colour and admire the skill it takes to capture a moment in a simple line, an emotion in a swatch of tone, then you'll enjoy your visit. Click here or click the link I've added to my alphabetical list just over there.....

Monday, September 04, 2006

EDM Challenge 29 - Local Architecture

Sketching down at the marina. It was so windy that me and my book were buffeted constantly making detail impossible and fast sketching an absolute necessity. The noise was amazing, the tapping of cables agains masts, ropes creaking and a something that sounded like one of the giant masts must have been hollow and the wind howling across the opening was making that blowing-across-the-open-neck-of-a-bottle sound. (Yes, I have imagination; no I don't know much about boats.) And then the spray kept coming over the breakwall behind me... And then it was time to go home!

This is my local post office. I keep a private box there, post my letters, pick up parcels. It is one of the few buildings in

of any great age. I think it is actually the only surviving brick building from pre 1950's. It is dominated by the high school and it's heavy 70's architecture. And it is opposite a nice pub which I think I will have to draw another day. Maybe when it is hot. I might need refreshment...

And now I find I've actually completed another EDM Challenge unbeknowns to me! Yey!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Out Shopping

MyLocalSketchbook8,9, originally uploaded by Jan and Roly.

My first dip into my 'new' sketchbook - the 'Function of Human Voluntary Muscles' book I rebound with watercolour paper. This is my practise book before my trip. Not a lot of architecture to sketch in Coffs Harbour - traditionally a town of expiry-date-type building. But I want to practise quick sketching of buildings in readiness for the heady-history-filled France etc...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

My Local Sketchbook

Originally uploaded by Jan and Roly.
'The Function of Human Voluntary Muscles' by ND Royle, published by Angus & Roberston Sydney and London in 1938. I rebound the book including new pages of hot and cold-pressed Arches and Waterford watercolour papers and Stonehenge paper. I was able to re-use almost all of the original pages when rebinding, because of how it had been so badly bound when released. The spine had been way too big for the size of the text block. So even with many new sheets added when rebinding, the new textblock was the right size for the old spine. Unfortunately the old spine was in very poor condition because of this and needed reinforcing with a glued on muslin hinge before the new textblock was added. I also added a ribbon place marker and an elastic closer.

I chose this book because of the diagrams that look like 'how-to' move your arms etc. I will use the book for local sketching and probably alter some of the original pages.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Perfume From Provence

Perfume From Provence 6,7
Originally uploaded by Jan and Roly.
I have rebound a 1937 copy of 'Perfume from Provence' by the Honorable Lady Fortescue, illustrated by EH Shephard ('Winnie-the-Pooh' fame) into a sketchbook to take with me on my trip late Sept. I included some of the original pages when I rebound it with hot and cold pressed Arches and Waterford watercolour papers and Stonehenge paper.

This will be my Provence Sketchbook. Check out my Flickr site for more images of this book including the cover and title pages.

I find I am really enjoying all this rebinding of books. I've made handbound books before and really enjoyed it, but I always found I was confounded when it came to the covers. I often felt the cover wasn't quite right for the book in some way, or I felt compelled to put too much work into the cover which somehow added psycological 'weight' to the book I'd rather not had.

Rebinding has solved all that for me. I choose a book I like and whose title or subject suits and away I go. Somehow it feels even more personal than my painted covers. It creates an feeling of attachment that I love.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

In search of the "Perfect" Journal

I've been looking for the perfect book to take on a trip to Europe. Of course I want paper that will let me use ink, watercolour, gouache, and take collage. I don’t want heavy covers, too many pages, spiral binding or too big. I want it be functional AND gorgeous.

Not finding exactly what I wanted, I decided to make some myself by 're-purposing' old books.

I collected books of suitable condition, size and subject including a 1969 French language Guide France, a 1947 edition of Perfume from Provence by Lady Fortescue which has illustrations by E.H. Sheppard (of Winnie the Pooh fame) and As for Italy because I liked the title and it’s size. I also want a book to experiment in before I go, so I’m using my strangest find The Function of Voluntary Muscles which I chose because of the illustrations showing how to move your arms and legs!

To transform them I started by cutting the book block from the cover with a craft knife, then separating the signatures buy cutting the threads between them and picking away the old glue and cloth. (A signature is a folded book section.) The final act of destruction was to separate the pages.

I cut slots in the back cover and attached a Moleskine-like elastic closer.

New pages were cut from both Arches and Waterford hot and cold press watercolour papers and Stonehenge paper and combined with some original pages to form the 5 signatures. For Guide France I cut the endpapers from an old atlas.

I re-used the original hole positions and sewed the signatures together with linen thread, forming the new book block, lastly gluing the endpapers on. To make the spine strong I painted its edge with glue, added a strip of muslin cloth, and left it to press under a weight. I then glued the new book block back into the original cover by the endpapers, pressing it for a couple of days while the glue dried and hardened. Finally I added a velum pocket inside the back cover.

All ready for my trip and a bit of practice before I go!

**For more images and annotated images - see my flickr site**
(Having Blogger trouble and can't get them on here!@#%*)

This post and the others like it have been so popular that I now sell my books in my Etsy shop. I search out interesting titles, covers and illustrated books if possible and they make really quirky journals and sketchbooks. If you want to see what I mean check out my Flickr set. If you want to see what I did in my travel journals on Flickr here is Paris, Provence, and Italy.
11 Nov 2008

Friday, August 04, 2006

I'm Addicted!

I'm absolutely addicted to Cute Overload. Have you seen this?!?

EDM Challenges 2, 4, 13, 40 and 52 - all on one page!

Home sick today. Decided to go a grid of quick sketches. Actually did all of the above challenges on one page and while sitting in bed! Not a serious attempt. Just filling in the day.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Breaking my Promise

You may recall (I hope you don't!) that I promised that my previous post about my recent exhibition, would be my final post on the subject. Well, I lied.
Click on this link http://www.hagencartoons.com/coffs_harbour.htm to go to the 'run-down' by cartoonist Christophe Granet of the opening night and the exhibitions. Thanks Christophe!

Both exhibitions are still up in the Bunker Cartoon Gallery. I will be 'taking down' my work on Wednesday afternoon. If you are nearby and can manage to get in there between 10am and 4pm in the next two days, it would be great to have you visit. I'm not sure when Christophe's cartoons 'come down'. I think you will have until the end of August still to see them.

And, what is a post without visuals? So here for the delight of your eyes are photos I took while preparing for the exhibition. Putting 'D' rings on the back of canvases. Yes, I can do maths. Yes, I can measure. But being a highly visual person means that if I don't have to read and remember, I find it a lot easier and more pleasant a process. Enter the Moleskine! In the first photo, I used my Large Sketchbook. I could be sure that if I placed my Moleskine in exactly the same spot on the right hand side, that I would have my 'D' ring in the perfectly matching spot.

In the second photo I had a much smaller canvas, so... enter my 'original' sized Moleskine Sketchbook. Perfect mearsurements again!

I figured that with my two moleskines I have between them four different measurements which should just about cover any possible 'D' ring contingency!

Look what European city I belong in...

Some more blog fun found through Anastasia's interesting blog - a quiz to find where you belong in Europe.

You Belong in London

You belong in London, but you belong in many cities... Hong Kong, San Francisco, Sidney. You fit in almost anywhere.
And London is diverse and international enough to satisfy many of your tastes. From curry to Shakespeare, London (almost) has it all!

I'm not sure if I'm a little disappointed, but I don't know because I haven't yet been to London. I'll reserve judgement until I do. Might be waiting a while...