Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project

My paternal grandmother’s parents–test run. Acrylic-painted background with indelible markers and white colored pencil for highlights…most of my markers didn’t stick on the painted background

I’ve mentioned the sketchbook project before.  I’ve also mentioned my need to have a project…or several…going, in order to stay sane, so I combined two current tasks: sending the weight of my mother and father’s legacy of photos  and paperwork to an appropriate home in Vermont, and using my ancestors in the Sketchbook Project, where one buys a standard book, fills it with art and returns it to the Brooklyn Art Library. Combining jobs adds more assurance that I will do them, so I am using the Story of My Life (including ancestors) as the topic for the Sketchbook.

The finished sketchbook page. I did the portrait with indelible marker on paper, cut out the silhouette, stuck it to the page that I decorated with tissue paper collage on the bottom and non-indellible markers above

My friend, Katie, gave me an adhesive, Multi Medium Matte, made by Ranger, that she’d bought for herself…what a Friend! The books are 5″ x 7″ with 32 pages, and using acrylic paint or medium is discouraged, since it can make the pages stick together. These books go on tour all over the world and must stand up to examination by many people. So far the Ranger Adhesive seems to be working. My nephew is moving to Brooklyn for his PhD, so I’ll have him check it out after I turn in my book in March.

These are the pages you’ve seen before in the larger, experimental versions. I scanned the original 8″ pages and reduced the size. For the one on the right, I traced the finished version and glued it over dyed paper towel to suggest Vermont fall leaves. For the page on the left, I used a black and white high-contrast reduced-size print of the original page and colored it with marker, glued over a blue/white/textured background. I used strips of paper for the backgrounds, so some of the overlaid image would be stuck to the actual page for increased durability.

As you may have noticed, I do a trial run of each page first in the 8″ square spiral bound notebook in which I do my daily images. I’ve found that the ones that end up in the Sketchbook Project are simpler, both because the page size is smaller and because I’m less experimental in my use of media, wanting everything to hold up.

Trying for cheerful art to make me and you cheerful. Experiment with doing an acrylic wash background, then ultra-fine sharpie drawing, then gluing on a watercolor, with I incorporated into the original background.

I love the way Golden self-leveling gel embeds the items in a collage, especially with several layers. The Golden Pastel ground gives a toothy surface and is less likely to make sticky pages. I layer different mediums…it’s quite a luxury to have the time to experiment, to get an idea, then immediately try it out. I’ve found that I have to do some of the finer drawing before I apply colors, because the inexpensive, but many-flavored markers I bought tend to run or dissolve under the clear medium.

Another Happy image, using a drawing for a doll pattern, actually a larger version of the one on the previous page, cut and glued to the page. The bird was cut from a photo of a handbag, as were the background elements, and a piece of marbelized paper in the lower right corner, expanded with markers.

I’m very lucky to have my whole house set up as studio space…and no longer the distraction of having to go to a job or take care of anyone but myself.

A beaded pin on the left, designed around a Japanese print on fabric…I slowly build my stock of beaded pins and small dolls and wall pieces for the Holiday show that Katie and I do…stitching is SO relaxing to me. The piece on the right is about 8″ x 8″ and I’m looking for the poem I saved to write on the back…tough getting old! Small piece of African fabric and various silks, red rubber ring, small glass rings, and seed beads.

Several friends have mentioned on Facebook having difficulty lately getting themselves into the studio…I find that going in and just doing a tiny bit of work on the simplest thing helps me to stay longer. When drawing isn’t coming, I go to stitching and always have a couple of projects in the works with some mindless things to do. Once you start, it’s a whole lot easier to keep going!–ART HEALS!…or music or writing or cooking or whatever means of expression resonates with you.

Not ALL work–the First Friday Art Walk in Sequim, sitting on a bench under the planters waiting for Harriet.
The sky from my computer desk…I’m shut in again with the air conditioning on because of smoke from forest fires in Canada….only two-tenths of an inch of rain this summer…the cool blue north is pretty brown and crispy. The deer come right up to my house, eating the  lower blackberries.





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