Friday, December 12, 2008

Tonight tonight tonight I...

Just back from an exhibition opening. I entered 3 works into the selected (juried) exhibition and was happy with all three getting in. You've seen them here before, but as they are going out into the big wide world I thought I show you again. I put in 'The White Glove'...
...and 'Helping Hand'.
I didn't put the third one in this group because I wanted to put this one in 'Vessels'.

I sold all three!!! And then when I was talking to the couple who bought the first two I mentioned that there was a third painting. They bought it too!!!
I sold 4 paintings and I only exhibited 3! Now that is a new experience for me and one I will happily repeat!

Distortion towards abstraction

I like this photo of Larry Poons.
I chose it for my 'warping the grid' portrait. He got grid lines drawn on him. Then I used the painting in the background as inspiration for how to warp the lines for my pencil drawing below.
Yes, not only pencil. I forgot which exercise was which and began with charcoal. I rubbed most of it off and continued with pencil. Size 500mm x 700mm. I will crop the height to 600mm at some point I think. Well that was the intention. The grid began and ended 5omm from the top and bottom. But I quite like the voids and how the drawing encroaches into them. Now I've got to warp-the-grid again by drawing a straight grid on this drawing and warping it on the new one. Can you tell the next exercise will be abstraction?

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Recently I found a link on someone's blog and had my interest sparked enough to click on it. It led me to my first ever ebook purchase. I've always had an ambivalence about ebooks. I mean if they were any good they'd be published as a proper book, wouldn't they? Well this book has led me to rethinking that little piece of logic! It is a true gem.

Written by Nick Cernis, Todoodlist is what it claims - a way to make life simple again. In fact, so simple you will slap your own forehead and say 'duh!' when you read it. Well, at least that is what I did. Nick has created the perfect way to write and use a 'to do' list.

Easy to create and most importantly I believe, easy to refer back to. My problem was always that I had to get my to do list out, read through it to find what it was I'd done so I could cross it off, read through it again to choose what to do next and then repeat this process once that was done. Too much time retracing steps there for me to embrace the idea longer than a day or two. With Todoodlist I can just look at my list and see what's done and the next action in a split second.

And I don't have to rewrite it every day. I found with traditional 'to do' lists that once I'd crossed a few things off the list the power of the list was diluted purely because I had to look even harder to discern that there was still that one little thing to do squashed in a long list of checked off items. I often missed it and thought I was done. Or I had to find the time to rewrite my list every day. Let me just say I am not that type of girl!

I'm not the only one who thinks this is the best way to get things done either. I showed the technique to my daughter, who is a 'to do' list junky already, and she was blown away with the simplicity of it and has used it every day since with glee. She even reminds me to todoodlist if she thinks I've forgotten!

It is changing my disorganised and frequently chaotic life into something I have a handle of. Dare I say it? It is giving me more spare time! And that's just the first part of the book. I'm now going on to the Sudoku calendar!!! I think I'm going to get a little zealous about all this.

Click here to view more details of Todoodlist. I really think we are going to need a Flickr group for this!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Reflected Self Portrait

Three posts in one day is a bit much, I know, but I've been really busy lately!

One thing about studying online as I am is that there are no breaks. You finish a unit on Friday and begin your next one on Monday. If you want a break you have to take the whole study period off. Well, as I've had so many off in the last year I'm keen to catch up a bit, so here I am at the beginning of a drawing unit having just finished a painting one.

The first exercise was to do a self portrait reflected in something round and mirror-like. I chose our slightly egg-shaped stainless steel wine cooler. We could use black and white paint or textas. As the image had to be A1 I opted for paint. My drawing is actually bigger than A1 as I had some really strong paper 100cm x 70cm.
Ha! It makes me laugh every time I look at it! I really enjoyed doing this. I find the distortions in the final image fascinating. I love the way it slims me down and stretches me at the bottom so for a moment I could forget about how much weight I need to lose. The exceptionally long pinky finger is a bit of a give away though. The rest of the distortions I find deeply disturbing, so be careful what you say in the comments please!
This is how I worked, with the cooler propped up so I could see myself without moving or having to hold it. The exercise did call for me to hold it, but I thought this worked just as well.
And this is me trying to look like I did while I was painting, while I am taking the photo. Not overly successful, but you get the idea.

Christmas 2007

Today I've probably been doing much the same as you - writing out Christmas cards. I keep all the cards I received last year and get them out to see who to send cards to this year. It saves keeping a list. Then I recycle them and await the fun of receiving this years cards.
But today, inspired by a photo in Alisa Golden's Unique Handmade Books, I bound them all together into a little book.
There are some gorgeous handmade cards by some little people I used to work with at school in there as well as a couple from dear friends and relatives who are no longer here this Christmas. I think that was what really made me want to make the book.
I haven't actually done any binding using this method before. There are lots of mistakes and it's a bit dodgy in places, but I love it!

Moleskine Exchanges Update

Well, I must say being in three different Moleskine Exchanges does keep me busy. Recently the stack of molys on my desk was disturbingly high so I got stuck into them.
I did these in Pamela's moly for the Exquisite Corpse exchange.

Then I did my entry in Alison's book for moly_x_25. This is the middle entry in the book so it takes up 5 pages of the Japanese fold Moleskine. I couldn't get it all in the first shot but you can see it all in the 2nd one.

Then came the very daunting task of drawing Emma in her small Japanese fold moly for moly_x_portrait1. I drew her eyes too close together!!! So as punishment I drew mine too close as well.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

New favourite!

Shawna over at Community Sketchbook just posted about Book By Its Cover. Now firmly implanted in my links down the side, I am looking forward to browsing this site thoroughly. I remember finding it before, but obviously didn't link to it and so forgot about it. And on the subject of links, I keep my links on my sidebar up to date constantly, so you will always find something new to look at there.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Growing Up - Measure it up!

This rebound sketchbook is Growing Up, a novel by Angela Thirkell from 1945. The book has an original inscriptions inside the cover – ‘Margaret Knox’ and ‘from Jenny Xmas 1945’. So when I rebound this book I was careful to leave the endpapers and title pages just as they were – well almost!
As I carefully disassembled the book to begin the rebinding I found a small treasure hidden between the pages for 60 years! A little list Margaret had written herself. On a small page torn from a notepad is a list of music to investigate ‘Tchaikovsky concerto in B flat minor, When the heater gleams like stardust…’ I’ll leave the rest of the list for the new owner to discover themselves, which they can because I’ve bound the fragment of paper into the book so it sits with the title pages.
Included in this rebound sketchbook/journal are:
*32 original pages scattered throughout
*1 note page (see above)
*32 pages smooth 190gsm Draw & Wash paper (archival)
*20 rough Arches 185gsm watercolour paper (100% cotton rag)
Added to this is a tape measure ribbon page marker so you can measure how much you have grown! The original red book cloth cover had faded to a gorgeous rust colour. It is in pretty good condition for its age. I reinforced the spine to extend its life a little longer. Unfortunately a couple of small splits appeared while I was working on the book. The reinforcing should keep more damage from occurring but I can never be sure with such an old book. Ah, but that is part of the charm of old books – they take on a life of their own!
My rebound books make great sketchbooks or journals. I use high quality paper and archival bookbinders glue, pastes and materials. I allow each book to ‘tell’ me how it wants to be reborn so they are all very different.

And all my rebound books, including Growing Up, are part of the Etsy Black Friday - Cyber Monday sale! 10% off! But the price will go back to normal on Tues Dec 2. Check my shop for more details and browse the rest of the great sellers at Etsy for bargains in this promotion.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's hot, it's summer and IT'S CHRISTMAS!

So why do we have snow on our Christmas cards?

Thought I'd fix that by printing up a batch of Australia suitable Christmas Cards.
I made three different ones... this one. Awh, you can sing along if you like!
This one. Actually this is what I'm hoping I'll look like at Christmas.
And this one! Now I know I'm going to be the one on the right and I'll be drinking a Cosmopolitan! Yay!
Getting ready for a happy Christmas, yes, I am. These are available for purchase in my shop.

My word I love a library book - almost as much as a bargin!

This old school library book has been reborn as a high quality journal or sketchbook. ‘By Word of Mouth, an Anthology of Prose for reading aloud’ compiled by Clive Sansom was published in 1962.
It has the stamp of the Presbyterian Ladies College Armidale on it and a hand written notation ‘School Stock’ on the first page. The book holds a secret that shows just how valued it was by the schools pupils – the book has a flaw from it’s original binding where some pages were missed by the guillotine and are still unseparated! No reader got that far into the book or bothered to tear them open, so they are still in their original folded condition! I was careful to make sure these pages were safely returned to the book during rebinding keeping the individual charm of the book intact.

I was disappointed how this school book lacked an old library card pocket so I added one! I have a stack of original due date slips I got from a school library that still had them (using them for notepaper!) from when they changed to barcodes. I’ve purchased some envelopes just like the ones that they used. I’ve attached the library card pocket inside the back cover.
The book has a gorgeous cover, book cloth with printed turquoise and white diamond pattern with black lines. The title is printed on the cover in black on a turquoise square. The back cover also has the pattern printed on it. The cover shows some discolouration on the spine but is in good condition for its age. The rebound book now includes:

* 64 original pages (including one uncut, see above)
* 20 pages Canson Montval 185gsm medium watercolour paper
* 24 pages Arches rough 185gsm coldpressed watercolour paper
* 8 pages Arches smooth 185gsm hotpressed watercolour paper
* black elastic closer
* black & white headbands
* black textured paper endpapers
My rebound books make great sketchbooks or journals. I use high quality paper and archival bookbinders glue, pastes and materials. I allow each book to ‘tell’ me how it wants to be reborn so they are all very different. And all my rebound books, including By Word Of Mouth, are part of the Etsy Black Friday - Cyber Monday sale! 10% off! But the price will go back to normal on Tues Dec 2. Check my shop for more details and browse the rest of the great sellers at Etsy for bargains in this promotion.

My Studio

I've just finished a painting unit in the degree I'm doing and I thought I'd show you the final exercise. It was about transformation of a space that we spend a lot of time in. I chose my studio as my subject. I started work in my journal. First I had individual photos of areas of it and journaled fairly usually about them. Then I decided to string the photos together, an 'analogue stitch' if you like.

Then I did drawings, sitting in the middle of the room on my swivel chair. After looking at them a while I decided to 'stitch' them together too.
I still didn't know what I would do, but I worked on each drawing individually, abstracting the main horizontal and vertical lines and creating shapes. I had an idea that I wanted the whole thing to have gentle greys with small areas of high colour, a visual symbol for how most of the work I do in my studio is fairly ordinary but at times something good is completed or a surprise occurs. I wanted these to be represented by intense colour but there to be few of them. After painting these new abstract sketches I found my pale colours were really quite intense anyway. I would need to go paler. Just for fun and to keep the whole process going I strung these larger works together too.

The final painting is 40" x 30" and titled The Studio. I challenged myself further by not using a brush, well not after the first white wash layer that knocked back my line drawing. I looked at each of the painted studies in turn and drew directly onto the canvas, adding the sections of each study that were the most successful. I didn't add them in visual order, sometimes working backwards and sometimes rotating the canvas. I kept looking at the work as a whole and trying to get it all to marry.

I used woolen blanket, sponge, glue spatula, palette knife and sandpaper to apply the paint. When I tried to add the intense colours some of the areas 'worked' and some didn't and needed to be painted over. They don't stand out now but they are there. This painting taught me something about what's important. It isn't those intense coloured 'spots' of creation, but it is the ordinary work that achieves nothing more than itself that is most important to me. I have tended to focus on my occasional 'stars', their colours can be distracting, but ultimately it is the muted but colourful greys that fill my day and create their own kind of beauty.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Our Hearts Were Young And Gay - A Black Friday Steal!

You’ve gotta love that there was a time when this book title meant something completely different to how we read it now!

And that’s what this book is about, two friends, Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough, who dedicated the book ‘to our mothers.’ Published by Dymocks Sydney 1945 this is the 3rd edition of the 1944 book. So popular was this book that it was made into a movie! ‘This edition contains illustrations from the Paramount film of the same name with Diana Lynn as Kimbrough and Gail Russell as Skinner.’ The book tells of their adventures while travelling and has a note at the beginning ‘Lest the reader should be in any doubt, we wish to state that the incidents in this book are all true and the characters completely non-fictitious.’ Ah, those were the days.
The book has a rusty red bookcloth cover with printed black text on the cover and the spine (yes, the spine printing is upside down!). It is in reasonable condition but shows some wear.
The original endpapers had nothing special about them so I could remove them which give me a much greater range of options for adding things in the rebinding process. So now this book has these inclusions:

* 44 original pages scattered throughout, some with photos or illustrations
* 4 pages vintage sheet music with fold-ins
* 12 pages mixed exercise book pages with lines, guides and/or grids
* 4 pages vintage book pages, some with my Gocco print designs
* 8 pages of my Gocco test prints, various designs, overprints
* 28 pages Arches 185gsm rough coldpressed watercolour paper
* 20 pages Canson Montval 200gsm coldpressed watercolour paper
* 12 pages Art Spectrum 190gsm smooth Draw & Wash paper
* 4 pages Mont Marte watercolour paper
* 4 small pages Arches 200gsm smooth hotpressed watercolour pages, folded
* red ribbon closer
* natural coloured textured ricepaper endpages
* yellow and white striped headbands
And if that’s not enough, I’ve reinforced the spine to keep the book going another couple of decades! My rebound books make great sketchbooks or journals. I use high quality paper and archival bookbinders glue, pastes and materials. I allow each book to ‘tell’ me how it wants to be reborn so they are all very different.
And all my rebound books, including Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, are part of the Etsy Black Friday - Cyber Monday sale! 10% off! But the price will go back to normal on Tues Dec 2. Check my shop for more details and browse the rest of the great sellers at Etsy for bargains in this promotion.

Black Friday Sale - Rough Justice

A gorgeous little book, Rough Justice by CE Montague is now a gorgeous little sketchbook or journal. The red bookcloth cover has a phoenix debossed on it, the spine has gold text and a gold floral emblem pattern as well. The front and back covers have debossed double line borders. The cover is in excellent condition but shows its age with wear at the base of the spine from where it has sat in bookcases for who knows how long.
I haven’t been able to determine how old this book is as it has not copyright date. That in itself indicates it is at least 60 years old and comes from a time before copyright dates were routinely added to the information about a book. The author has written the book in memory of ‘F.F.M. who died on October 30, 1925.’
When the endpapers in a book have nothing special about them I remove them when I rebind a book because it allows me to do more to it than I can otherwise. This book was one of these and now has a host of new additions like:

* 24 original pages scattered throughout
* 8 pages old sheet music
* 16 pages old exercise books with various lines, guides and grids
* 4 pages of my Gocco printed designs on found book pages
* 8 pages of my Gocco test prints (random designs, overprinting)
* 20 pages Arches 185 gsm smooth hotpressed watercolour paper
* 36 pages Canson Montval 200gsm medium watercolour paper
* 12 mixed Canson Montval, and Mont Marte watercoloured papers, some with bottom folds forming tuck-in pockets
* textured chartreuse ricepaper endpages
* black elastic closer
* yellow tape measure page marker
And if that’s not enough, I’ve reinforced the spine to keep the book going another couple of decades!
My rebound books make great sketchbooks or journals. I use high quality paper and archival bookbinders glue, pastes and materials. I allow each book to ‘tell’ me how it wants to be reborn so they are all very different.
And all my rebound books, including Rough Justice, are part of the Etsy Black Friday - Cyber Monday sale! 10% off! But the price will go back to normal on Tues Dec 2. Check my shop for more details and browse the rest of the great sellers at Etsy for bargains in this promotion.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

5 new books and a sale!

Well I've been busy getting ready for my latest Uni submission (due tomorrow) but that hasn't meant I've been doing nothing else. I've carved out a little spare time to make some more sketchbooks/journals. I chose this bunch from my stash of old books with interesting titles, or some other feature and have rebound them with beautiful papers into something special. I've detailed all their special qualities and their secrets in my Etsy shop and to save repeating myself I've rigged it so if you click on the pictures here it will take you over there where you can read each story for yourself. I hope you will because this bunch is really special.This one, My Confidences has a ticket I found hidden in the pages, a lost bookmark from a time long past.

Rough Justice is the next little beauty. Because I let each book 'speak' to me of what they would like to have when rebound, each book is really different. This little one has the most features of any I've made so far. And it is on special until December 1 as part of Etsy's Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotion.

Those were the days! Our Hearts Were Young And Gay - this amazing title is now an amazing journal for you to record...
...well, record whatever you like! The book was so popular they made a movie about it and this book has photos and illustrations to prove it!
Growing Up has a tape measure page marker so you can keep track of how much you have grown while you journal in this rebound book.
It also held a forgotten fragment of a time past, lost within it's pages for 60 years and now bound firmly into the book and no longer over looked. Click on the photos to take you to the page that will tell you the story.
By Word Of Mouth was just crying out to have it's Library past reinstate and now it has the envelope to prove it.
Turquoise, white and black pattern make this book really gorgeous on the outside while the inside holds yet another secret. If you'd like to know what it is, click on the pictures to visit the Etsy page that tells you all about it.

This is my Christmas stock in the book department of my Etsy shop so if you were considering getting one for someone special, or better still, for yourself for Christmas, this is the time to buy. And as I mentioned before, for the next 4 days they are on a 10% off sale. I've been thrilled with how popular my rebound journals are so have a little look.

I've also Gocco'ed up some Christmas cards which I hope to list in my shop as soon as this Uni assessment is out of the way. I'll try to post some of my work from it here too.