Friday, June 07, 2013

A Bit of an Artist Book

For some reason I feel like I'm advancing in my artist journey. The only reason that presents itself is because I now work on several projects all at once. I used to work on a single project and not start another until that one was complete. That was before I had to wait for paint to dry.

Now I layer on gesso and set it aside.
Pick up new project.
Layer on paint and set it aside.
Pick up another project.
Spray on ink, heat dry a bit, then set it aside.
Back to the first project: is it dry yet?
Back to second project; is it dry yet?
Heat dry the last project a bit more...

You getting the picture?

My basement table currently has several undone projects on it. This happens to be one of them: the Artist Book which doesn't currently have a title but will no doubt have "Dream" in it somewhere.

The Artist Book is a real hardcover book that some writer poured his blood, sweat, and tears into every word. I've ripped out pages and have begun painting and collaging over what remains. (I used to feel bad about that until I thought how bad the author would feel to see his book in the free box at a used book sale? Probably just as bad.)
This book started as a small experiment. I hadn't used gesso on book pages before and was curious as to how the pages would react and hold up to layering, painting, spray inks and what have you. So the first page was a total random experiment. I even used it to test out how well a certain fibery "stuff" would stick to glossy accents! I was testing out stuff to use on a different project which ended up totally scrubbed. (See a future post about that canvas disaster!) So the first couple pages really had no direction until I fell in love with it. Yup, just fell in love with the idea, the background, and a theme into which I could sink. Once love bit me, I started doing better spreads and I'll share a couple with you.

 I decided to go all in with the first "real" page of the book. See? Told you it sucked right out of the get-go.

Flying vs. Falling:  Here's where I remembered that I had another cool book in my collection that actually told the meaning of dreams. It also highlighted common dreams that people have. I decided to start using those as themes for the pages. The torn pages in the middle open up as well and that's where I wrote the symbolism of both dreams.
Blue fluid acrylic, white gesso, stamps, and bits of collage elements. I didn't carve the stamps.

This photo shows the back side of the insert and the Falling part of the layout. (I'm having a serious deja vu moment here...have I written this before?) This spread felt nice in the making. I love to use up little pieces off my scrap pile!

The Chase: Another common dream, particularly among children, is of being chased. I've had a few of those dreams and in mine, I am never quite aware of what I'm running away from. So I decided to set my scene in a darkened forest by the light of the moon. I'm really beginning to like the look of torn paper images and since I have SO MUCH paper, decided to use it.

 My pursuer is in fact well-known to me; the Shadow Man. Yup, he is quite familiar from my childhood dreams. In my chase dreams, I rarely knew what I was running from only that a great black form would try to catch me. The Shadow Man is a combination of this dream, the fact that he stands at my window each night (yes, currently), and another childhood fright...the dreaded Green Eyes!

 The biggest downfall of the spread is right there. See it? Yup, my lack of drawing skills. But to be honest, I think I'll just get used to stick figures. For some reason, they just seem to fit in with all the torn paper and collaged look that I usually do.

So the Chase page is Dylusions ink sprayed onto a white gesso background. The spray ink doesn't absorb into the gesso the way it does into paper so you get a much lighter background. I collaged on the torn paper moon, clouds, trees. I drew in my little stick figure girl. The Shadow Man is done with black gelato smudged out to give him that not-so-defined look. His eyes are a touch of Silks acrylic in peridot and I added the alphabet stickers. Just to add more to the horizontal; I wrote in the words "" across the page in between the trees.

Want one more? Apologies for the long post!

Whirlpool Flood:  This spread is about common dreams of drowning. I have many dreams about flooding and rising water. I decided to combine the two. Though I couldn't think of a way to depict rising water, I decided a whirlpool was symbolic of drowning. Anyhow, I used several blue gelatos to make the blue spiral background with black in the very center.

After staring at this blue circular mass for the longest time, I thought of adding arms sticking out of the black center as if someone was being sucked down for the last time. Rather than display my horrible drawing skills again (see previous spread!), I traced around my hand onto black cardstock. This way I could use the hands to write my dreams on and just add a couple "boxes" of text to define the dreams. Using up alphabet stickers never hurts for a title.

After writing on the outside of the hands, I was struck by the Hamsa hand idea. I had carved a stamp of a hamsa hand with the eye in the palm. Figured I could put those eyes in there and maybe Zentangle behind it. The blue metallic stuff is Smooch Accent ink in Nautical Navy.

So that's the book so far. I am gessoing more pages and have a "found" poem to jazz up on a spread.
I'll keep you posted.
"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."  --Mark Twain

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