Monday, March 21, 2011

Claudia's book - going out tomorrow

I started Claudia's book before I had it, but due to my idiocy, I was still delayed in sending it right back out on time. I'll mention my dummkopf moment below.

I was inspired by this pair of jade phoenixes I saw in a magazine from 1974 laying around the house.

What intrigued me about them is that they're not long, lean and flowing like the typical depictions of phoenix, and I wondered if that's how they were originally conceived. Apparently not - these are still aberrations, but even if the myth of the phoenix did start with a plump little bird about the size of a mourning dove, I think that over time it would still have evolved into the bird we imagine today because we think it's qualities MUST come from a more graceful and noble-looking creature.

I wanted to get started even though I didn't have the book, and I wanted to find a way that I could paste my work in that I would be happy with. There's a difference between working directly on the pages and pasting in, and I didn't want it to seem like I'd cheated.

Phoenix(s)

Larger version here.

So that plan almost went totally awry. I assumed (for no reason) that Claudia was working in the larger book. I have NO idea why I assumed that because I'm using the smaller Mole' myself. But I planned on A4 sized pages. Luckily I did two tiny test paintings first. One was totally complete, and I was half-done with the second, planning on giving them away or something. So when the book arrived, I was able to finish the second small painting and use them both along with some postage scraps from Hong Kong. And the side benefit is that I have two larger versions of these same birds that I'll have to find something to do with. ;)

This lettering begins and ends my pages in Claudia's book. I sketched it before I had the book, then traced it in when the book arrived and added some watercolor. I should have worked on the second page more - it looked better in the sketch, but I also determined to set limits on myself of how much I would pour into a sketchbook. ;)

Lettering

Larger version here.

Here's the (completed?) collaboration with Claudia. I started this page with roughly the same idea I ended with, but in a completely different treatment and totally messed it up. We won't talk about it. I gessoed over the bit I wasn't happy with, and finished it off more heavy-handed than I intended.

collab

And lastly, this is a little tidbit I'm adding to Claudia's pocket.

tidbit

It's leftover from my book. I had some laser prints of the photo I used in my book, and after I sent it out, I doodled on this one and thought it was pretty neat looking. In fact, I wish I'd done that in my own book. Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to try to carry a doodle or sketch forward from each book to the next. And in fact, I have a very rough color study of a phoenix that I'll put in the pocket of the next book.

tl:dr I drew some stuff! Here it is!

I'm finishing a collaboration page for Andrea tonight, and if I have a chance to take a photo, I'll post that tomorrow.

10 comments:

Andrea said...

Ballookey, great story about the birds, and that lettering is magnificent!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I had that same problem last time around with Willie Mole!

These are wonderful! I love the way they turned out.

You do eyes SO WELL!!!

merrytait said...

Those phoenixes are way cute!!!

henniemavis said...

For the record, I understand what you mean in saying there's a difference between working directly on a book's page surface & not... but... your "pasting in" is certainly not "cheating!" That's a mighty fine mixed-media collage, I'd say. (Your access to interesting stamps is very cool, btw.)

ballookey said...

Thanks guys!

@Mary: Eyes were one of the first things I drew obsessively after horses and unicorns. It's so lazy, but a good eye can make a piece. ;)

@Heidi: I'm pretty happy with the collage myself. i don't feel bad about pasting it in, in the end. I think I'll have that method on the back burner, ready to go because I like being able to work right through delays.

And yeah, the stamps feel like wealth. I already sorted them into "keepers" and "users", but even with a large box of "users", I had a hard time forcing myself to use them. They aren't worth anything, but they feel valuable. But the ones on the top right were really serendipitous. They matched the colors of the piece perfectly and I didn't even plan that.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

That lettering is pretty amazing too.

I took a course in mechanical drawing and the thing that made getting an A hard for me was my lack of skill at lettering.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

That lettering is pretty amazing too.

I took a course in mechanical drawing and the thing that made getting an A hard for me was my lack of skill at lettering.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

That lettering is pretty amazing too.

I took a course in mechanical drawing and the thing that made getting an A hard for me was my lack of skill at lettering.

roma said...

I can't believe that I haven't commented on so many of these. I've looked at them all about three times a day, often starting to comment but then having to do something workwise.

First, so impressed that you're done yet got started late. Love your story about how you did them and love the results. I want to do more collage. You inspire me!

Something Different said...

I got this book, gotta finish up Hennie's from round 2 before I start in this one tho.