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Thursday, February 16, 2017

French Horn Play

A young friend of mine plays the French horn, and her mom sent me a recent photo of her performing in a school concert... which in turn, triggered an artistic itch in me.

Now fortunately, I didn't set out to create a realistic rendering, 'cause if I had.... well, I'd be somewhat disappointed with my results.

However, my friend The Horn Player and her mom are fine with the image, and gave the OK for me to share it with you.


As always, I leave myself a lot of room for improvement.

I used Strathmore 140 lb. cold-pressed watercolor paper with Derwent Inktense  pencils and a Faber-Castell Pitt artist pen on the horn.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Japanese Stab Binding

There's a new Book Club in town, and it's not the reading kind.  Rather, it's the making kind.

Headed by Margaret, owner of  Small Studio , I joined other like-minded people yesterday, all set and ready to measure, cut, stab and stitch a bunch of papers together into...... pretty, little books.

Oh.  Did your heart skip a beat upon reading the word 'stab'?  No worries.  The stab in this case is a type of book binding called Japanese stab binding.

(Books bound by the method of Japanese stab binding, also known as Traditional Chinese bookbinding, typically have soft covers, reserving hard covers for Very Important Books.  But hey! In current times, a VIB could be a treasured cookbook or photo album or.... in other words, what ever has relevant meaning to you.)

Margaret demonstrated the process of stabbing a needle awl through paper covers and several inside sheets of paper, and then a stitch pattern to bring it all together.

Below are a couple of my books and two different stitch patterns.  (A multitude of patterns can be found on the internet.)




Any kind of paper can be used, and for this class, plain copy paper with some inexpensive decorative papers were used.  (A book can be made as cheaply or costly as one's tastes. Once I improve, I want to use handmade papers to make a VIB without the hardcovers.)

Margaret plans on having a class once a month, but first she needs to complete the move of her shop from Westlake to North Olmsted.  I'm already anxious for the next meeting to see which style of book she'll choose for us to make, 'cause having made over 1,000 books, she's pretty adept at the craft - and well, she's makes pretty cool books.

Yesterday's event was so inspiring and motivating, that last night, I couldn't resist the urge to text Margaret to let her know how much I enjoyed myself!


Saturday, December 24, 2016

One-Line Drawing.... and Writing

I like One-Liners.

Well, let me expound upon that.

Yes, I like short, witty remarks; but for now, I'm referring to One-Line Drawings.... and Writing.

By the very act of drawing - or writing - in one continuous line and not being 'allowed' to lift the pen from paper until the drawing is complete, I have to let go of controlling how I think that something should look, and simply accept the end result.

Due to all the loops and back-tracking needed to complete a drawing, one-liners are not realistic renderings. Plus, there's no taking a break to survey the work and correcting a perspective that went awry.

So, when I found myself accepting a sketch outing with my friend Calvin, I committed to drawing only one-liners.  I also promised myself that I would work more quickly than usual, in hopes that my subconscious would come forward, and perhaps, allow my work to be more freeing.  (I can be painfully slow at most things, whether it's eating, drawing, knitting, etc.)

A venture such as this begged for breaking in my brand-new, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" hard-back, Strathmore journal with toned gray paper.  Coupled with a few pens, and I was ready to go.

We crossed town to the Cleveland Museum of Art and immediately set out for the Torso of Venus, which resides in the Roman section.  After a few drawings of her, we made our way to the 2nd floor..... and, that's when I felt a quickening to set pen to paper.

The attraction?  Auguste Rodin's, bronze sculpture: The Heroic Head of Pierre de Wissant, one of the Burghers of Calais, 1886.





Time was limited, so I had only one opportunity to draw his head.  On the left side is an example of one-line writing; more of a creative lettering style, rather than calligraphy.
 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Folding Leaves

Some books are destined to have a long shelf life and be cherished for many years, while others are not. In time, it seems that most books find themselves discarded.  They simply can't all be saved.

However, Gene Epstein, bookbinder, artist and jazz bassist found a way to repurpose many of those books before they get tossed into a dumpster.

I had the pleasure of being in a class recently, in which she demonstrated a basic folding technique that turned a book into a work of art.

My hands have always worked slowly and methodically, so I wasn't able to finish my sample book within the time allotted.  But, that gave me the opportunity to visit a coffee shop a few days later,  and resume folding.

It turns out that I was being watched.

With only a few leaves to go, two women quietly approached and asked to see what I was doing to the book.  I explained that it was being rescued from the trash and being recycled into this.....





They were amazed.... and delighted.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mother & Baby Tapirs

dot. dot. dot. dot. dot........ when one makes enough dots, sometimes tapirs appear.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Day Sketching With Calvin

Still trying to get this sketching thing down, so when a friend came to town, we decided to sketch our way through the day.

     We began at Flying Cranes, a restaurant on Larchmere where I ordered a pot of roasted maccha-genmai tea and udon noodles cooked in fish broth with tofu pockets.  (Genmai contains pieces of popped rice, which I find not only to be a tasty addition to the green tea, but very enjoyable to sniff, as it gives off a most pleasant aroma.)

     With warmed, satiated bellies, we crossed the street and enjoyed perusing Loganberry Book Store.  If you haven't been, I highly recommend that you do. It has a personality all its' own and suggests that one sits and just absorb the world of books.  (That blue thing is a sofa with pillows.)

     We popped into Strong Bindery (located inside the bookstore) and gave Ellie Strong a cheery 'hello!"  I know her from Art Books Cleveland, and if you ever need a book bound, she's the one to see.

     Then, off to the Cleveland Museum of Art, where Calvin's goal was to sketch the Torso of Venus.

     I didn't have a good view of it, so I chose to sketch Calvin's feet - as he sketched.

     I had never noticed how extraordinary long his feet are.  Drawing makes one more observant, but I wondered how I had missed this trait, especially with all the flip flops that I've seen him wear.  Then, he shared with me that he had liked the shoes so much, that he purchased them despite his size not being available.

     How funny!  My husband had done the same thing years ago.  He had bought a pair of indoor track shoes (his size was sold out) and over time, the toes curled up.  It was a distinctive look.

     In case you're wondering if there is something wrong with the leg of the woman sitting in the chair.... there isn't.  She had it bent that way, and I simply drew what I saw.  I probably should have waited until she moved.




Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Fairground Memories

You know how one thing leads to another thing to another thing, until.....

     Well, earlier this year, I was watching a documentary about the history of Cedar Point and the many changes that it has gone through.   It's had quite a roller coaster ride of its own since opening in 1870 as a summer picnic destination.  First, its popularity would soar.... only to hit hard times (like the Depression and WWII) and take a plunge..... only to be revived, once again. This happened more than once, until evolving into what it is today.

     (I really enjoyed the show, and if I could only find it listed somewhere, I would give you a link.  I have checked PBS, the Travel Channel, Discovery, History, etc., but for some reason, I cannot find it.   Maybe you'll have better luck.)

     Anyway, it got me to reminiscing about Gwynn Oak, the amusement park that my parents would take me to.... a very long time ago.  One of my favorite rides was the Tilt-A-Whirl as it was so interactive.  I mean, you had to really work at times, to make your car go round 'n round.  Depending upon how many people were in the car and the way the weight was distributed, determined how thrilling or dull, the ride might be.



     There were times, when no matter how hard we leaned, while sliding from one end of the seat to the other, the car wouldn't spin even once.  And other times, we'd struggle to regain our land legs at the end of the ride, because we were positively giddy from all the consecutive spins.

    As these things go, I became obsessed with creating the Tilt-A-Whirl in a pen 'n ink drawing.  Stippling (small dots) is one of my favorite techniques, though it can be a bit time-consuming.  With Copic markers providing the color, this is the end result.

     This week, I'll donate it to the Morgan Conservatory, in hopes that it will bring a dollar or two in their upcoming annual silent auction.