Dec 17, 2010

Completed Art Books

One of the best ways to keep yourself creatively inspired and motivated is to be part of an art group. I am fortunate to know several women artists who live in the area, and we get together once a month, with a new project for each meeting. We will normally complete the artwork during the month and then bring in to group for review (though no one loses any points if the work is incomplete) and have some good food and wine.

For some reason our art group was on hiatus for a bit, but in November we set a date and managed to get our group back on track. We had been working on our art books off and on for the last year, and at this meeting we delivered the complete paintings to each other.

When we started the book project, five of us participated by designing book covers and selecting a book theme, so that the others could add an artwork for each page. At the time, I was really questioning my current career and trying to sort out what I should do for the future. So my book was themed Finding Yourself/Your Life Path. I suspect  the other ladies weren't thrilled with me as I tend to pick these weird themes that don't evoke a lot of imagery, but they are forgiving. Anyway, I really enjoyed this project, and would recommend it to anyone else looking for a creative idea to do with a group.

So here is the cover I created for my book, as well as the art that my group made:

Finding Yourself/Your Life Path (cover)  10"x10"  wax, watercolor, flowers and gold paint

For the book cover I just made a semi-abstract painting with the blues and purples, which felt really emotional  to me. The flowers are hydrangea blossoms from my garden, pasted down and sealed with gloss medium. Metallic paint and ink highlight the flowers. The figure is me (more or less) searching for the right path. The star is my guide as I try to find my way.

Nancy's artwork   5"x7"  watercolor

Nancy represented herself in a shaman-like figure. The staff she leans on is both organic and resembling a raven, which is a common totem for her. To me this figure looks peaceful and patient as if waiting for wisdom from the spirits.

Suzan's artwork  10"x10" acrylic

Suzan's artwork evokes memories of home, and to me, of childhood with intense color and a flat graphic style. Of places traveled in search of the one where you belong.

Margot's artwork  10"x10" wax, ink, acrylic and vinyl lettering

Margot's piece is very typical of her style - layers of paint, spidery branches of blown ink, and dripped wax.  Vinyl letters spell out who, what, where, why? Questions you would ask yourself in finding your place in life.

April's artwork  7 1/2"x5 1/2" mixed-media

April's piece is a hinged triptych. You have to look closely at the panels, but they contain photography enhanced with paint, beads and assemblage. On the sides are trees with beams of light passing through the branches and in the center is a fence stretching into the distance with lines of flags above. Under the panels are lines of text that read:
What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.  - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Appropriate again for finding one's self. Internal discovery.

Here are the finished artworks that I created for the other art books:

Raven Steals the Sun   5"x8"  acrylic and metallic inks

April's book was themed Tell me a Story. I blogged about the complete process of this painting last year, and the story I chose is a Haida creation tale, in which the Raven steals the sun, moon, stars, water and fire to share with the world. In the process, the raven singes his feathers, which is why they are black today.

Birds of a Feather  5"x4 1/2" ink and acrylic on textured gold foil

Margot's book was entitled Birds of a Feather. I took the theme literally, and tried experimenting with repurposed gold foil mounted on foam board. The board has a little give, and allowed me to inscribe on the surface to add some texture.

My Hands  14"x7"  collage and metallic inks

Nancy's book was Who Are You When No One is Looking? I had a rough time visualizing this one, and eventually experimented with a collage. I feel very moved by music, so that became the base. I added the two prints on the left - both are examples of my artwork from college. I traced my hand and added the hearts and the blue butterfly - both recurring symbols in my work involving purpose and transformation. The background is filled with stream-of-thought handwriting about who I feel I am.

Experimental Typography  6"x6"  digital print, acrylic and mettallic ink

Suzan's book was entitled Experimental Typography. I got lucky and found some scans online of the typeface, which I composited on the computer to match up the gridwork. I colored the print by hand and then enhanced/added the circles with metallic pens.

When all was said and done we wound up being inspired by the book themes, but didn't necessarily stick too closely too the dimensions or make the art completely flat. I also liked my pieces so much that I framed the 2D ones and have the art displayed in my living room. Our group is back to making individual pieces based on keywords we pick out at the end of each art night, and I'll be posting about the December artwork soon.


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