Friday, December 8, 2017

Time For Tea - mini sketchbook journal continued

I'm continuing to sketch in my Time For Tea mini (4.5" x 5.5") sketchbook journal. This book was one of the first books I made while teaching myself to book bind. I should mention that I'm continuing to practice book binding. It's an ongoing and inspiring new practice for me. To read about the start of my book binding journey, please click here. To see the first 4 sketches in my Time For Tea sketchbook journal, please click here

This sketch is my favorite so far. I love the colors, textures, transparency and scrap book page from "To Kill A Mockingbird". The greenish-brown strip of paper on the left is a scrap from a monoprint.

This next one is a hodge podge of ephemera. I kept the watercolor ground that I painted before I stitched the pages to the book. The blue and orange scraps are deli papers that I monoprinted using a gelli plate. The tan paper is from a paper bag and the red dots were made from red cardstock using a hold punch.

Can you tell this sketch was painted in 20 minutes? I had some leftover paint so I quickly applied it to this page. Once again you can see the original ground of orange and pink. I took the narrow end of a triangle makeup sponge to make the hash marks. The turquoise paint was initially watered down so you can see some of the red paint underneath. 

This sketch was done this evening (12/8/17). The black Sharpie scribble on sketch is my way of releasing all the thoughts of my day job so I can focus on enjoying my weekend.

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Time For Tea - mini sketchbook journal

My last blog post (here) I showed the books I have been created while teaching myself to book bind. These books were filled with magazine pages and watercolor papers. I wanted these books to be used as sketchbook journals not just book binding samples. The books filled with magazine papers will be used to collage. The books with watercolor papers will be use to create mixed media artwork. 

I decided to start working in the mini (4.5" x 5.5") Tea For Two because it has marked watercolor paper that will be used as a prompt or starting off point for sketches.

The first sketch I kept most of the ground of yellow and orange watercolor that was marked before the pages were sewn into the book. I dried brush red, purple and violet acrylic paint on top. Blue vertical stripes on the right was added using a stencil I made then accented with blue and white pen. The purple and purple/lavender/yellow/blue/green magazine paper were left over from a previous collage in one of my larger sketchbook journals. I'm not one to let scraps go to waste.

As with the sketch above, this one started by using the existing watercolor ground of peach and pink. I had some leftover red acrylic paint from another project so I dried brush it in the upper right area. The triangles were created by using a stencil I cut. The final step was to add blue lines with a Sharpie and gold dots with metallic pen.

I'm really happy with how the watercolor grounds are being used as a starting point for these quick sketches. Materials used: acrylic paint (orange and yellow), thin blue Sharpie and navy gelli printed deli paper scrap along the bottom.

Another sketch with the watercolor ground incorporated into the final design. I glued navy and orange gelli printed deli paper scraps. Detailed the yellow acrylic painted circles with black and orange Sharpies. The sketch needed more marks so I used a think blue Sharpie to add lines/hash marks along the middle and bottom of the page. Finished off the sketch with a square shaped section of white gel pen marks.

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Simple Bookbinding

I have been working in 2 sketchbook journals since July. This practice helped me work through my creative block. I have enjoyed working in sketchbook journals so I'm keeping this medium in my creative practice. 

In my last post, I had finished creating in my 6"x8" sketchbook journal. Instead of using the same construction method, which was machine sewing the gesso primed muslin into the cover, I want to construct a sturdier sketchbook journal. Even though I gessoed the muslin, there was some paint that bleed through to the other side. Also, with my other sketchbook journal, repurposed magazine, the pages became bulky and hard to lay flat. I abandoned this sketchbook journal some time ago. I separated the completed pages to use as reference and will be using the remaining magazine pages in my future sketchbook journal pages and collages.

A few months ago, I started reading books and watching videos on book binding. Learning this skill will insure that my future sketchbook journals will endure over time. I started by buying an inexpensive bookbinding starter kit from Amazon. Click here.

I usually start a new practice using inexpensive materials. The first 3 little books I made were used with covers of magazines & brochures with magazine papers and watercolor paper scrapes as the pages. I will use these books for quick collages and painted sketches. From left to right: pamphlet stitch, long stitch and coptic stitch using waxed thread. Height 6.5" x Width 5.5"

The next set of books were made with card stock covers that I collaged on top. Again, using magazine papers and watercolor scraps for the pages. I used embroidery floss and waxed thread to stitch each book using the pamphlet stitch. Again, I will use these books for quick collages and painted sketches. Height 4.25" x Width 5.5"

Other inexpensive materials that can be used for book binding samples such as cardboard box from food items like crackers or cereal. This book was made from a cracker box, which I collaged on top of the front, inside front, back and inside back covers. I used heavy weight sketch paper for the pages. The book was bind using the coptic stitch and waxed thread. This stitch is the best to use if you want the book to lay flat when it's open. This book will be used for a sketchbook journal. Height 7.5" x Width 6".

front cover

back cover

inside cover

back cover

Now it was time to make the jump into book binding using altered used books. I checked before altering to make sure the books don't have any monetary or antiquity value. After this important step, I removed the pages in each book. I wanted to bind heavier weight paper so I can paint, collage and journal in these books without worrying that the paper will disintegrate over time.

I kept the spine of this book so I could use the long stitch to added the signatures (group of pages). I found some pretty washi tape to add to the spine to cover the stitched for a polished look. The paper used for the pages was initially marked by monoprinting that I will collage and paint on top. Height 9" x Width 6".

The final book I have made so far is this red book. I removed the spine so I can bind the book with the coptic stitch. I'm on a quest to master this stitch. Inside I use blank heavy weight watercolor paper for each signature. I keep this book by me when I'm painting so I can use up the extra paint by marking the blank pages. Height 8.5" x Width 5".

I will post more photos of the inside pages as I create in them. Thank you for checking out my blog!

Friday, October 27, 2017

sketchbook journal - update

I had ignored sketching in my 6"x8" sketchbook journal for awhile. Last Sunday I decided I had to create something...anything. I grabbed a pencil and sketched a quick doodle then filled in with acrylic paint and black pen. This action inspired me to create 5 more sketches in a similar way. One per day. After I finished the last one tonight, I realize that this sketchbook journal is completely filled with art. Yay! Time to make a new sketchbook journal!

abstract #1

abstract #2

abstract #3

abstract #4

abstract #5

abstract #6

Saturday, October 14, 2017

sketchbook journal - update

I'm surprising myself how much I like working in the smaller (6"x8") sketchbook journal. It less intimidating than trying to create sketches in the 10"x12" repurposed magazine sketchbook journal. Here are 4 completed sketches made from the smaller sketchbook journal. Two of the sketches I like, the other two...not so much. I keep saying to myself that's all about the process and journey. It's helping my art brain think of a direction I want to go with my art.

This sketch made with a mandala is the most detailed of the 4 completed sketches. The ground was made days before the mandala was created. I really pushed myself to complete the mandala in one sitting.

I created this sketch from start to finish in between getting ready in the morning for my day job. It's not an amazing piece of art but it serves the purpose of producing something creative that day. 

This sketch is the closest I have come to creating a whimsical piece. It just not a style I'm drawn to. Excuse the pun...and ending the sentence with a preposition.

I adhered the flower cut from a magazine when I first started this sketchbook journal. I wasn't sure if I was going to design around it or cover it up. As you can see, I eventually painted around it. 

Side note: Looking back at all 4 sketches, I see that green was using in all of them. It's my favorite color. It wasn't intentional. Just an observation.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

sketchbook journal - update

Lately, I am continuing to create in the small artist made sketchbook journal that's 8"x6". Posted here and here and here. The size seems to lend itself to quicker sketches. 

This sketch incorporated an used tea bag. I wanted to see what would happen over time if the used tea was kept in the paper. The ground was lightly distressed then hand stitched around the tea bag.  


I wanted to highlight the gesso covered muslin ground by adding thin layer of watered down black paint that reads as grey. The subtle texture gives reminds me of a stucco wall. 

Similar to the used tea bag sketch, this one was created to see what would happen to the leaves over time. I may incorporate real leaves in a larger piece. Time will tell...


It's fun to loosen up with a quick collage using magazine paper. This sketch was created in less than 15 minutes.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

6"x10" collage #09052017

This magazine paper collage was started back in May with the patterned black, light blue and 3 orange triangles papers. Then I stared at it in June, July and August while going through a creative block. Here it is September. I added the pink stripe and realized it is finished. I'm happy with the design.

To learn more about this series, please click here.

#09052017 6"x10" collage
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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

sketchbook journal - update

I stayed close to home this holiday weekend to keep an eye on the nearby fire in La Tuna Canyon. The upside was that I had time to finish some sketches. I have been creating in the small (8"x6") artist made sketchbook journal because the size lends itself to quicker sketches. More posts here and here

This 2 page sketch that I posted as WIP here. I added some black acrylic paint around the main circular elements to define the shape and focal point.

This is another sketch posted here as a WIP. It was created out of my interest in using red and green without evoking a Christmas theme. Adding the swipes of brown paint helped. 

This 2 page sketch is a cruciform collage that falls into my comfort zone. The pink acrylic paint was leftover from another sketch. I'm very happy with the way this sketch turned out. Probably due to the fact that it's in a style that I'm comfortable creating and that's okay. 


Now this 2 page sketch is outside my comfort zone. Layers of heavily painted and marked. I still haven't decided if I like it or not. 

Creating in a sketchbook journal allows me to play around with techniques. I have seen this technique of painting a ground, allowing it to dry then painting over the whole ground then scrapping away the top layer to reveal some of the ground. This sketch didn't turn out the way I had hoped because the ground color barely shows. I'm thinking the top layer dried too quickly that's why I wasn't able to scrap enough of the paint. I do like the texture that was created. I'll probably try this technique again. 

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

sketchbook journals - update

The 3 sketches below were created as visceral reactions to the events of August 12th, going to The Huntington and artist Linda Miller in that order.

At the end of August 12th, I was drained emotionally from the events in Virginia but I wanted to at least work on one of my sketchbook journals for a few minutes. I have been spending most of that day creating gelli plate prints for collaging. I'll blog about that at another time. This sketch is made in my repurposed magazine sketchbook journal. I started by adding similar magazine pages to the right side to mirror the image on the left side. After reading a few pages from Jane Davies' book "Abstract Painting: The Elements of Visual Language" earlier in the day, I was inspired to mark up  by painting the yellow open squares and small blue squares. I was getting angry and frustrated at what I thought was the lack of cohesion and creativity. I took a large brush and swiped black acrylic paint a few times across the pages. After I stared at what I had done, I realized why I felt this way. This sketch was my way of letting out the emotions from the events in Virginia. I stopped at this point because it was done. I had experienced a moment of art therapy.

Before the events of August 12th happened, I had scheduled earlier in the week to visit The Huntington with a friend on August 13th. The timing was perfect. We spent 2 hours walking around the peaceful gardens. It was a much needed relief. This sketch was made in response to that visit in my small artist made sketchbook journal. I painted using Golden Fluid Acrylic in Green Gold, torn pages from "To Kill A Mockingbird" and a black Sharpie.

Still on the peaceful mood from visiting the Huntington, I created this sketch on August 14th. It was heavily influenced by the brushstroke artwork of Linda Miller. I used Golden Fluid Acrylic in Naphthol Red Light, used tea bag paper and black acrylic paint.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

sketchbook journal - update

I'm continuing to work daily in one of the sketchbooks journals that I made. To see the other sketches, please click here and here. Most of the designs are loosely made, which is helping me work through my creative block. It's been fun so far creating outside my comfort zone. I'm pushing myself to go beyond minimal style. The sketches are from my repurposed magazine sketchbook journal.

With this finished sketch I had an idea to use torn brown paper with torn scenic magazine pages. The left side I decided to paint the brown and beige paper for contrast while the right side is the paper untouched. I prefer the right side. The contrast of the brown paper with the cool colors of the magazine pages is pleasing to my eye. What do you think?

This next one is 4 pages - the two colorful grounds plus 2 cutout top layers. I was going to add marks to the top pink layer but I realized that it should have been done before cutting out the shapes. I usually don't use bubblegum pink in my art. This sketch is finished.

Here's a look at the design underneath the pink cutouts:

I realized as I painted this sketch that I wasn't happy with the main design shapes. After staring at it for a few weeks, I decided to add the words from #100wordsin100days challenge from earlier this year. Not sure if I like it any better now but it's finished.

The next four sketches are in the early stages. It's hard for me to resist the urge to consider all 4 sketches as finished. Again, pushing myself outside my minimal style. I'm thoughtfully evaluating the next marks to make.

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