Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Taking a Deep Breath...

...or two or three. Just how many deep breaths do I need to take to proceed into the unknown? Quite a few, it would seem, as I check and double check and ponder and research - same old same old for me. At some point, I realize I have to jump in - maybe holding my breath - by making one or two decisions and then I relax and can move forward. Case in point - what to do with the gessoed food boxes when there are so many choices. Well, how about just adding a coat of acrylic paint as step one? I don't have that many colors to choose from, but there I was, dithering anyway. I've probably used the Naphthol red the least, so why not? It reads a beautiful Chinese red to me and was quickly followed by yellow oxide lightened with some titanium white randomly sponged across the surface.

Yowza! I not only love the sponged effect but the yellow reads like gold metallic. My squiggles of paper still are not showing up but I can't say I care much at this point. Viewing this close-up I noticed some of the box graphics do show through even though I thought the red had covered them thoroughly - they are providing that subtle shading layers can give. Thinking to add a bit more in black, maybe just some text, but for the time being, I set it aside.

Food box # 2 is slightly smaller and is not designated for anything yet, so I felt totally at ease experimenting here. Right after publishing that gesso blog post,'s mid-week muse video landed in my mailbox - what timing! What Lies Beneath starts out with techniques for gessoed surfaces. I'd seen this stencil demoed in a previous video and fell prey to it. Now was my chance to use it to try out this subtractive method. Basically it's just laying down a thick layer of paint, placing a stencil over it and removing paint through the stencil with baby wipes.

Of course, I hadn't added any color to my gesso as in the video but I thought perhaps some of the color from the box would show through. Only if you look very closely. The brush strokes are also very evident in the gesso now. I think if I do this again, I would lightly sand the gesso. Some of the paint sticks to the stencil when it is removed and I wished that it had done so more evenly. But that's just me. This one will get more layers too.

Forgotten decorative paper stash yields possible addition - and maybe some washi tape along the edges?

While taking my time with the food boxes, I've been considering how to attach my text blocks. I've gone my own way a bit, should be no surprise, in choosing this kind of cover for my Creating at the Speed of Life art journaling exercises, so the book's instructions might need some adjustment. It has you securing the individually sewn signatures together with tape and then wrapping sticky canvas over them for the cover. I could probably attach my cover in a similar way. I consulted other sources and ran across one that suggested sewing the signatures individually with the pamphlet stitch to make them easier to handle when attaching to the cover with the other way I was considering - the long stitch. That made sense to me as the watercolor paper readily available to me was a heavy 140 lb. The more I looked at my food box cover and what else I thought I might want to do to it, the more I thought it might be a bit too fragile to be handled over 30 lessons and that I didn't want to hold up the journaling process while I finished it. I knew I'd be fussing about getting paint on the cover or damaging it, and nearly abandoned the idea of using it for this. But if I sewed together individual signatures to work in and sewed them into the cover once all the lessons were complete - well, that seemed the perfect answer to all my questions and misgivings about my bulky little journal. Now there will be plenty of time to decide how else to embellish the cover.

And so with my mind settled on these little details, there was one more deep breath over hole placement and thread, then go! I sewed the signatures today and am ready to start the lessons anytime. I know, I know - I'm spending too much time getting set up, no doubt. But it's simply not in my nature to just dive into the unknown. I like lots of specific instruction and when they are lacking, I tend to freeze up until I get enough info to make me comfortable. I'm feeling much more comfortable now... 



Living to work - working to live said...


You could use the technique that are used for the journal I made last year, I think the one that you provided a link to. My intention with the binding, which was very loose, was for the recipient to be able to remove signatures fairly easily so she could doodle or stamp or write or draw et cetera and then when she was done slipped back into the journal.

I think that idea in turn came from a lady called Jennibellie Who you will find on YouTube (she has her own channel). You will have to search back through the video archive but she has lots of binding suggestions and often uses recycled packaging.

Now that I have finished the mark Hearld project I must crack on with some new work (and also finish some other work that is sitting waiting for attention) and I have been collecting dog food boxes which are crying out to be turned into covers.

You are inspiring me!

The Inside Stori said...

There's nothing wrong about tip-toeing through new methods/techniques to find your own comfort level and path. I know I don't have to tell you....there's a lot of ways to create art. We need to remember.....this is supposed to be fun!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thank you Hilary - your comments have me all smiles! I especially appreciate the confirmation of my idea to work in the signatures before they are bound into the book. I'll have to go back and look at your post more closely to suss out more details. I think you've sent me to Jennibellie before - an excellent source if I remember correctly. And what a plus if you inspiring me is doubling back to me inspiring you. Looking forward to you getting those dog food boxes out!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Yes, Mary, I keep forgetting about the fun part! I can be a very serious student... ;-)

Michele Matucheski said...

The Red and Gold texture is gorgeous! Just in time for Chinese New Year, too! The other one is nice, too. Makes me want to get out the supplies and play with surface designs.