Monday, January 30, 2006

Book Crossing

I sent the Discovery book to Dennis today, and when I returned home I found Sylvia's Subconscious Dreamscapes in my maibox. I can't even begin to describe the thrill I felt...it's happening! It's like all kinds of creative energy is being released. Can you feel it?



My first page (of the Discovery book) is dedicated to day and night and discovering ways to tap into the sensations and emotions they evoke in me. Both pieces are done with markers and collage.

The Cadmium Yellow Balloon: Book Cover

The screen all taped up and ready to go.

The finished front cover.

My cover is composed of 4 main layers. First I added two additional coats of white gesso to the already primed surface. Secondly I added slight texture and color with acrylic paint & a tiny bit of newspaper. Next I burned a screen with my type and silkscreened the yellow type. Lastly, I created a stencil by cutting the letter "O" out of plastic film with an exacto. I then painted in the "O" with several washes of acrylic and topped with a wash of interference green paint (titanium coated mica flakes- sounds fancy) to give it a bit of illumination.

Since the 8 books are to spell the word "JOURNEYS" when they are all lined up, I wanted my letter "O" to read well. I kept the contrast between the background color and the yellow type to a minimum, wanting the type to act more as a textural element than as an instant readable book title. The "O" was painted over this in washes to let some of the underlying colors, texture and letter shapes show through.

I left out actual imagery (people, places, the balloon, etc.) because since the story is yet to be written, I don't have any concrete visuals on what the story as a whole looks like. I'll leave that to unfold within the book itself.

The font used is Gurnsey.

Sent!


my scanner didn't really get the colors right, but you can get the idea still :)

I sent my book to Sylvia and I can't wait to receive the next one :)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Before and After

As promised, I am reposting the "before" version of my cover...



...and the "after" version:



This one was done on watercolor paper. I printed the sun from a digital file and the drew the rest with micron pen and prismacolor markers. The biggest problem I had with the cover - in all its incarnations - was working with the canvas board. Paint is not my strong suit, so every attempt I made ended up in the bin. I finally decided to work with what I'm most comfortable, but I'm still not 100% happy with attaching paper on top of the canvas board. Anyway...the things I'm learning are all part of the journey, right?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Did I goof it up ... twice?

Hi everyone,

I think there may be some confusion on a couple of things.

A) I thought when I sent the letter (or could've been the e-mail) that I asked us all not to work on the inside covers, but if you have, please don't panic or jump in and redo them. I can find another way to put the books together at the end. I left the covers loose so that it would be easier to work on the inside pages and then I was going to put the books together when they came back to me at the end of the year.

I'm sorry if I didn't explain this well enough. But PLEASE don't create more work for yourself, there's other ways to bind the book - leave your beautiful work as it is.

B) The one time I should have been thinking backwards and didn't was on the table with the monthly schedule on it.
When you send your book to the next artist each month you will be sending it to the same person each time. The book J goes to O; O goes to U; U goes to R and so on. The point of the table for the year was really to see who had which book and when. Of course, I got the rotation back to front, so below is the new table. Sorry, my bad!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Cover for the Discovery Book

Okay...I've taken the cover art down because I've changed it... The concept is the same, but I did it differently. And with that said, I guess I'll keep it a surprise as well. I can't wait to see the next book in February!

Friday, January 20, 2006

JOURNEYS: SPIRIT



"A dark sky
Purple hues
Flashes of white light
A vortex
A void
The unknown
A galaxy rich with opportunity

This is my life

I wish to let spirit carry me on a new and exciting adventure
To discover me, discover the true essence of myself, my art

I see a path

Collage is my medium
Type is my texture
A dash of paint
A splash of happiness
My mind knows no bounds

Spontaneity is what I wish for my book
Switch off
Let your mind go
… and allow spirit to lead the way"

The illustration is not from my entry to Journeys but I liked the idea of space. I admit I am having trouble letting go, too, like Carla, I'm anxious, worried of crapping it up and failing to produce something worthy of my beautiful 'blank' book, and time is running out ..........

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sketches











1st sketches for the back and front cover:

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Welcome to my book: A story of "The Cadmium Yellow Balloon"


The criteria for this project was that we each had to come up with a theme for a book that related to the main theme "journeys" and that could be added onto by each member of the project. I thought that it would be fun to create an adventure in collaborative storytelling. A story that has no pre-determined ending... a story that changes direction each month as each artist adds his or her own personal twist.

I knew right away that I wanted there to be one visual element that was consistent throughout the book. An element that could appear in each entry, in some way shape or form. To do this properly, the element had to be kept to a minimum. Something that could easily be drawn by everyone. A person or animal would not work, simply for the fact that I did not want to put pressure on the other artists to have this character look consistent throughout the book. I wanted each artist to keep their own personal style for their part. So it had to be an inanimate object that was simple in design that could be recognizable in any style or medium.

This inanimate object that was forming in my mind needed to be something that could travel. That could have an adventure. One thought led to another and the idea of a balloon came to mind. What if there was this balloon, with a message inside, that journeyed across the earth? Where would it travel? Would it have a mission? A purpose? Would it travel high above the Cascades? Would it float inside of a building? Would it fall down into Central Park and be pecked at by the pigeons? What would it endure? And in the end... how does the balloon finally break? What does the message inside read? Each artist will add onto the story, telling us where the balloon ventured. The final page spread of the book will reveal where the balloon ultimately ends up, and if it is broken, what the message says.

I realize that my book is more light-hearted than some other themes. It is also different in that it is the only one that really tells one story with each entry building on the last. But while this is one continuous story with the same main subject, I want it to reveal each artist's own personal life story. A balloon can be fragile, just like people. A balloon floating in the sky can easily change its path, just like our own lives. One minute you are simply floating along, and suddenly stormy weather can disrupt your life. Or the winds change and you find yourself in a whole new direction. Life is uncertain. Just like the trip of a balloon. Make the balloon your own. Draw from your own personal experience. Maybe it is as simple as seeing a place you've never seen (or want to see again), or doing something you've always wanted to do (or have done). Let the balloon show us that. Or maybe it is something deeper, something more.

The concept of The Cadmium Yellow Balloon is based on a real life experience I had as a child. One sunny day half way through elementary school, my classmates and I had an assignment where we all wrote down messages onto tiny pieces of paper. We did not share our messages with anybody else; they were our own personal words. After writing out our words, we placed them inside of balloons, inflated them and walked outside to let them go all at once. It was an interesting feeling to let my thoughts go. To let them float away from me. I remember staring up at the sky that day, filled with big fluffy cumulus clouds and wondering where my balloon went. How far did it travel? What did it pass by on its journey? When did it pop? Where did my message fall? Did anyone find it and read it? I wished that I could follow my balloon that day. To hold onto to the string and float high above the houses and across the town. And then to one day, when I was all grown up, to recall this magical experience and write a book about my journey that day.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Journeys: About this project

Good morning,

I'm Leeza. I was inspired to create a travelling book project by another team of four artists that I had seen featured on Drawn! (www.drawn.ca) Their book was one that travelled back and forth between the Atlantic. (Ireland and the USA - check out www.lookatbook.com). I thought, "what a cool idea" and wondered if any of my art friends would be interested in doing something with me of a simialr nature.

HAH!

Before I knew it, I had generated a team of 8 artists including me to put together not one, but 8 books, (how else could we all keep a momento of the project?) and voila! the Journeys project has begun.

I wanted the 12-month project to be about personal development, teamwork, creative growth and a form of discovery - a journey within a journey within a journey that would then journey from the East Coast, to Chicago, to the west coast, to Arizona, to PA and back again.

The project is now in full swing and by the end of this month, we each have to complete the front cover and the first inside spread of the book. When we are done, we send the book to the next artist on the list . At the same time, we receive another book from the previous artist ready to work on spread number two of that book and so on .... keeping up?

Now what are we to paint? Draw? Collage? In each of the books?

Well, each book has a sub theme, which was submitted by each of the artists:

• Spirit
• The Cadmium Yellow Balloon
• Energy as Movement
• Subconcious Dreamscapes
• Discovery
• Exploration
• Observations and
• Engine

Each artist invites the others to explore their theme in their book continuing from the artwork that appears before it. A journey of art, if you will. Some of the themes are abstract while others evolve a story.

I was so excited to see each of the subjects. I know how differently we all view the world and perceive these subjects, so it will be interesting to see the artwork as a result.

I would like to thank each of the particpants: Elaine, Beth, Carla, Dennis, Daniel, Sylvia and Debbie for joining me on the Journeys project. With any luck at the end of the year, we will be able to celebrate with an exhibit and party for all the world to see.

Stay tuned for more .... and see where our travels lead us ....

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Anticipation and Preparation


Ah...what can I say...I was so thrilled to receive the package from Leeza...I sat right down and opened it, went through all the wonderful handouts and instructions, but was afraid to touch...the book! It looks so perfect, so clean, so full of promise. The covers are canvas boards! My goodness - I haven't really painted in eons. I am not going to say that I will never print and attach, because a lot of my work is mixed media...pen, marker, colored pencil, collage, photoshop...but the covers call for paint. So I've been playing around to reacquaint myself with the feeling of paint before I annoint the book. Compared to my trusty micron pens, it's wild and slippery, messy and fun. I had forgotten how much fun it is! I am sharing the first couple of layers of one experiment. I played with acrylic glazes using a brush and then a sponge. I ripped tissue paper and attached it with some lightly pigmented gel. I'm just trying things out...kind of training for my climb up Everest...all the while letting the ideas come into my mind.

Started my cover!

I received my package last week and let me say I was so happy and very excited about the whole thing. I cannot wait to see everyone's work. I started sketches for my cover and can't wait to dig in!
I wish everyone good luck :)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Tabula Rasa

Tabula Rasa, Latin for "scraped tablet", is often used to describe something that is a blank slate. Right now a blank slate is staring me right in the face, taunting me, enticing me, getting the wheels in my mind turning.

I received my well-thought out, concise project package from Leeza the other evening. Everything was just as I suspected from her. Every detail was covered and great care and love went into organizing this.

For as excited as I am about getting started, there is a small part of me that is hesitant. These are real books, being passed around to real artists, with real artwork inside. What if I create something that is terrible? There is no Open Apple-Z on my keyboard. I can't hide it away in my basement or throw it in the garbage. I can't rip out any pages. I can't paint over it (well maybe I can...). This means that I have to have trust in myself and just push through and create artwork that comes to me intuitively. For a while, I used the computer to layout my artwork, change colors, create vector art and so on. While some of my illustrations are still created on my trusty Macintosh, I find myself moving away from that and creating more things by hand. Somehow art created this way seems sexier & more honest. It is in that rawness that a piece comes to life. This project is the perfect in the fact that it will grow & evolve over the course of the year and embody all the things that excite me in the process of creating art.

It was back at the end of summer, that I was invited to do this project, Journeys. Now the time to begin has finally come. Looking ahead I see a year filled with great growth, trust, discovery, and as the name suggests- a journey. A true story of eight strangers, picked to live in a house and have their lives taped... oh wait, that is The Real World. (I knew it sounded all too familiar.) This here is a true story of eight people, both friends and strangers, picked to spend a year of their lives working on a collaborative project to learn about building relationships, creating new visions in art, learning about themselves and the world around them, and much, much, much more.

Now it is time to get some color onto these stark white book covers!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Package Arrives

Well, I recieved Leeza's splendid package, for Journeys.

Immediately, my expectations have been taken up a knotch, with the incredible level of detail with all of the "parts"; the little booklet, the cover letter, the high-quality book elements, the bookmark, etc... it all just makes this project more inviting, interesting, and "special". (And hey, I'm not the kind of guy that says "special" very often without smirking.)

I was just really impressed.

Personally, I've been moving more and more towards being a fully digital artist the last couple of years, so I'm a little nervous about Journeys. I want this book to be a piece of art, so there's no way that I'm going to do some digital work, and just glue it over those fine watercolor pages.

Nope. Not gonna happen.

SO, I'm going to pull out my gouache paints, and see what I can do with more "traditional" media. But that makes me a little nervous... I love the speed, flexiblility, editability of digital art... I'll have no undo. I won't be able to revert. No saving different versions here and there. It's going to take longer. I'm gonna have to roll with the punches, pick up a real pencil again, and get the brush wet.

Interestingly, these are also the exact reasons I'm also so excited about this project.

Daniel
www.steamcrow.com