Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's Greek and Roman to Me

I just completed two spreads in Carol's latest altered book. Her theme is Greek and Roman influences - from the planets to the gods to the alphabet. Mars, Diana, Cronus and various muses were already taken. So i chose Venus and Achilles to inspire my pages. My goal was to create rich depth with layering painted deli paper with other textures. I printed the images onto matte photo paper.
I chose Venus for her beauty and the mistique of her missing limbs. Check out wikipedia for the story of her discovery - it is quite interesting. the thong? well, a bit of humour is always fun in an altered book.
I chose Achilles because of my own serious ankle injury a few years ago. I too feel vulnerable there now. I like how all the various papers come together.
As always, there is a sign in page when you are participating in an altered book round robin. I had my friend Z over this week to help me organize the remaining papers that hadn't been filed when i cleaned out my craft room. She found a page from a story book about Orion, so that made a perfect sign in tag.

Friday, March 27, 2009

wi fi rocks

ok - i am coming a little late to the wireless party, i'll admit.
But i am going to be on the road and so we had to get an old laptop brought into the 21st century. We tested it out on the street where apparently all my neighbors are sending internet access out over the trees.
I posted the title of this post out there on the street! Just to make sure i could.

Talk to you soon with more art to come...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Introducing Erica - my niece and altered book artist

Diane: how long have you been creating altered books?
Erica: I did my first altered book in January 2009. The ballet book is only the second one. Diane: what is your favourite subject in school?
Erica: My Favourite subject in school is a tie between drama and art Diane: what are some of your other hobbies?
Erica: me and my friends like to go to movies a lot.Diane: what made you create an altered book with a ballet theme?
Erica: My mother and I were cleaning our office and I found all the pictures and she said I could have them Diane: where did you get your beautiful images?
Erica: They were from an old calendar Diane: I love how you used the simplicity of a single word on the page to enhance the image and colours. How did you pick your words?
Erica: The word beauty on one of the pages was lightly written on the paper I used so I thought it would look better if I went over it. The other words I thought were like a little story about the ballerina Diane: what kind of book did you use as your base?
Erica: I was an old children’s safety book. Diane: what will your next altered book be? Do you have new themes planned?
Erica: I have started one using an old puppy calendarDiane: You have a great variety of papers and embellishments. Do you have a lot of craft supplies?
Erica: Yes I have lots of craft supplies. I have a lot of stickers and ribbons. The paper I used was a big pack I got at Wal-MartDiane: Fly away is one of my favorites. Which one is your favourite spread?
Erica: I like the blossom one because the word is like encouragement to the ballerina all curled up Diane: Thank you so much Erica for sharing your beautiful art with me and my blog readers.
Erica: My pleasure

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pop Ups

For my last visit to the local school for my volunteer work in their after school program, i showed the girls how to make pop ups in their altered books. I have always used models cut out of magazines for this - because the folds are more obvious that way. Still, pop ups can be confusing and there are many different ways to do it. I'll tell you about two of them.
Take a magazine image of a person. Trim the top half - like from the elbows up and over the head. Leave the bottom intact. The wider the image the easier this will be - so leave a border as needed. Fold the model in half lengthwise - like right through the face.Then fold the top half of the body at the waist, so that it is perpendicular to the fold. Think about bending to pick something up, it really helps! then unfold and refold everything the opposite way - so that the folds are really bent.
Then hold the model in your hands. this is the tricky part. You need to fold the lower half of her in and the top half out. use your fingers to pop the head along the diagonal lines.

Smooth her flat. Apply glue to one side of the back, i do the right side. Put the folded edge into the gutter of the book and press the glued side firmly. Then apply glue to the other back (now on top) - and just CLOSE the book. The pop up should be properly placed, and the model should POP up when you open the book. Another example!
Note: this type of pop up will go completeley flat when you open the book all the way. so another method to keep some degree of elevation, is to "split" the legs so that they can be separated. You can split anywhere - it doesn't have to be along the fold. it just has to be split right up to the point of the v folds.This will force the top half to stay "popped". You can see how it works - before you glue it into the book. The trick here is the glue the folded model into the book - by putting the POINT deep into the gutter of the book. NOT the whole folded edge.glue it lightly at first to test it. Then apply more glue and close the book .
See how splitting the bottom half of the image keeps the head popped up?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mixed Media Monday: Oriental

This week's theme for the Mixed Media Monday Challenge is Oriental inspired artwork.
Here are some pages i did in a round robin calendar with an Asian theme. I was clearly feeling very "pink".
Please visit the site and link to all the comments for dozens of great creative blogs with artwork.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Altered book swap and workshop

When i started my monthly altered book group - oh about 7 years ago now, the intention was to bring together artists with a passion for creativity, and the comradery of sharing our artistic endeavours. We began at attic archives, a paper store in Corte Madera, which has sadly since closed, after a bunch of us took a workshop with Beth Cote. We then moved my group (or my kikuyu, as i call them) to a class room at a private school in Mill Valley where one of us was an art teacher. Then we moved to a studio in Point Richmond, then a craft store in Berkeley. But for the last few months we have been meeting, a small but dedicated group, at Dorothy's house in San Francisco. The structure is always the same. Show and tell, followed by introducing the work we did in each other's books, then a small workshop. In the beginning the workshops were technique based, trying out new products, or ways with paper and paint. Now i am more interested in producing finished art pieces - so that's what i try to do. Today we created sweet spring-like collage on 5" boards i happened to have a large supply of. I was inspired by artwork shown on the decor8 blog, especially a company called Print, Pattern and Paper. I created all the pieces above - using coordinating scrapbook paper and Dorothy's extensive collection of paper punches. Today there was a lot of great show and tell. Carol took two great workshops recently. She made a cool journal with kelly kilmer at Stampers Warehouse. She also took an A to Z technique class with Ulla Milbrath at Castle in the Air. Please check out Carol's blog for images. Carol created these 4 pieces with birds and flowers cut from assorted scrapbook paper.Dorothy shared a richly coloured small board book she created at a workshop at Center for the Book. She also wowed us with a new quilt she made that featured circles. She created this lovely collage of flowers today, and stashed some paper to create more.Shelley did these nicely coordinating flowers. Some of these WERE flowers, cut from paper, but some were created by arranging shapes. For show and tell Shelley shared a journal - called Wreck this Journal - a very cool interractive book with prompts to encourage you to create art right in the book. Check it out on Amazon.
As you can see, we certainly enjoy our monthly sessions. Sharing art, making art, and talking about workshops and blogs and instructors. I have Carols book to work on now, the theme is All Things Greek or Roman. I'll be sure to share when i am done!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Altered Houses

For my monthly altered book swap group, Dorothy decided to try something different. Instead of a book she chose to have each of us alter houses instead. It is all part of her current obsession with HGTV! I certainly know what that's all about...She provided us with an assortment of house shapes cut out of heavy cardboard. Including some plain rectangles for us to customize as we like. Above you can see two houses Dorothy did, the house of cards, plus the sign in sheet house. Shelley did the house of blues and the beautifully textured house of secrets.
I just adore houses. Especially great big ones - victorian gingerbread, collonaded colonials, spanish meditteranean with wrought iron touches. But my current obsession is mid century modern. So for my first house i took my own family's 1957 house in Chateauguay, Quebec. You'd call it a ranch, but we called it a bungalow. it wasn't quite that colourful, but the slate stonework does indeed have shades of pink and blue grey, and the peak was painted to match BOTH at one time or another. My parents also had a 1956 two-tone Chevy. That's my two brothers, Mark and Ricky on the front steps. Let's pretend that's me in my parent's arms, but more likely it was Mark as a baby. Donna came later. Think we had a '62 Pontiac by then.My next house is a "tres californie" contemporary with lots of groovy accessories. Grass cloth wallpaper (actually rubber shelf liner), a teal shag (microsuede) a tumbled stone fireplace and exposed wood beams (realistic scrapbook paper). I used a chopstick for a curtain rod and black leather for the ottoman cubes. mirrored circles create the ultimate wall hanging and irridescent shapes are used for the lampshade and pottery. I just want to move right in...

Trashy Romance Novel Fat Book

If you don't know what a fat book is, i'll tell you. It is a collaborative work, where assorted artists provide pages to be bound together by the hostess, and returned to each participant. Each book ends up containing dozens of pages of art. The more artists, the "fatter" the book.
A traditional fat book is 4" by 4". Pretty small. But if there are 30 artists involved, then you have to do 30 pages. Some leeway is granted - in that you can make colour copies of your work. But hand applied embellishments are encouraged.
My friend Marie is hosting a fat book swap with the theme of "trashy romance novel". The pages are to be 4 1/2" by 5" - more closely resembling the dimensions of a novel. Because she did not get as many artists as hoped, and the fat book was in danger of being too skinny, she suggested we each do two or three pages. With 10 artists participating, we'll still end up with a book that is 20-30 pages thick. For my interpretation of the theme, i went with a wanton woman, who is a nightclub singer and a heartless dame. I searched for images to use, and decided someone like marilyn monroe would be a good choice, since i could easily find multiple poses by the same actress. You can see i toyed with the idea of colouring her in, but i did not like the pen marks on the dresses.My pages ended up with a "less is more" method. Perhaps a tad too clean and neat? not sure. Because the pages will be spiral bound - you have to leave a 1" border on the left edge. Of course you have to remember that on the back the border is on the RIGHT edge!The only adornment is a dab of red lipstick and some glass glitter jewels. I love their graphic quality. I'll be sure to post images of the completed book once i get it back!