Thursday, January 19, 2017

mum's the word

The old floppy disc looks so long ago and I thought would make a great cover for a book that includes bits of very old brittle paper I have embedded in wax to protect them. "Mum's the word" is an old phrase for keeping quiet or secret information which suits my drawings and marks perfectly.

I am still using the same very restricted colour range as earlier drawings to link them to a series of little works. This is the first book for 2017 -the aim is to make one a month.

In case you have forgotten ever seeing the floppy discs, they are 13cms square so that will give you an idea of how small these little secret messages are.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

"co - ordinates"

The first little book for the new year. It was started in Mackay when I was there for the Libris event. I always seem to be able to make new work when I am in different surroundings. Maybe my senses are more alert and open to new stimuli. I made the cover once I got home so in reality it is really one of last years books (the last).
The card for the cover and some of the old paper I used for the mixed media drawings, is from an old book of my mother's from her school days (about 80 yrs old). The lined paper is thicker and has a sheen and is now almost an ivory colour. 

The hinge and fastener are felt from an old army blanket we all seemed to have when we were children. It fits rather well with the vintage recycled card of my mother's old exercise book.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Just made it - seasons greetings and "bonne chance"

Hoping you have a merry Christmas and a very healthy, happy 2017. I have just finished another small artist book "bonne chance" before this hectic part of the year. Only just made it for 2016.
The images respond to quotes from some of my favourite artists on the subject of chance. The A4 sized book uses Kraft paper and mixed media and each of the 10 images refers to some aspects of the quoted artist work that resonates with me. 
I hope you enjoy the little sample for you to view.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Just finished off another small concertina book I started on my last plane journey to combat my restless, jumpy legs. I find that by engaging my brain in a bit of stimulation (reading doesn't work anymore), I can reduce this most annoying and uncomfortable condition I have.

These fantasy portraits were added to the reverse side of my prepared book I took on the trip. I started off with a continuous imaginary unfolding landscape as I flew above it and as I ran out of pages decided to give the book its own imaginary voyeurs on the reverse side. I'll include just another portrait before I show a few of the landscape.

They were all done using my small portable tin box of travelling art materials.

These small continuous mixed media landscapes are all linked with my thoughts on chance in the process of being original. I have been working on other books exploring these ideas and they overflowed into this little one.

With Christmas just around the corner, I think this little jumpy leg remedy may end up in the stocking of my favourite Finnish artist, Carina Granlund.

It is interesting how the almost compulsively, worked surfaces of the landscapes which did battle with my brain and the legs, contrasts with the much more peaceful and minimal drawings of the audience.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Libris Awards visited

yours truly checking on "Keer Weer"

Even though I have been home several weeks, I've finally found some time to share some of my thoughts and the images of some of the beautiful books. It was an amazing show of wonderful books that moved me to the studio post haste. I'm so glad I was able to get to Mackay in time before the Libris Awards exhibition closed. It was a real credit to Mackay Artspace and the staff to host such a great show. However, once again it brought home to me how difficult life is for artist books in this context -being untouchable and so limited in their ability to really communicate when locked up under covers or on plinths.

 Pleasure demolition. Letterpress, various kraft papers, thread and pole.

Some work fared better than others in this environment. Karen Florance's piece moved gently in the airconditioned breeze, giving us all a great view of the whole work as intended with the play of moving shadows on the wall an extra bonus.
The legacy of absence and silence. Drawings and image transfers

Helen Malone's work, as were many others, were beautifully displayed on plinths that were approachable from all sides giving the audience at least some sense of intimacy that these works cry out for.

Bronwyn REES and Elizabeth BANFIELD
A different path. Etching and linocut on Somerset paper

However, I felt very sorry for some artists whose wonderful work was done a great disservice by being displayed poorly. This wonderful concertina book was only visible from one side because the plinth it was on was parallel to the wall so that the back was not visible at all. I must admit I was very naughty and moved the work slightly so I could see some of Bronwyn's work as well. This was not the only work displayed this way and I don't want to take anything away from the wonderful experience I had, but it could so easily be even better because it is so easily avoided. I was so glad that Bronwyn Rees had another work in the show.

Bronwyn REES Lost. Etching and collage

Again, unfortunately I don't feel this work was done complete justice in it's display. The interesting way in which the etching plate was used as the cover was not really noticeable but a more difficult dilemma to solve. I don't want to sound like a moaner and fault finder, particularly after such a wonderful exhibition, BUT we can and must try harder to make the difficult experience of showing artist books more valuable for the audience so they can be more involved with the work.

 Unreadable book No.2. Sheets of semi transparent coloured shaped acrylic

My last gripe concerns the inaccessibility to the Artist's statement that accompanied the work through out the exhibition. The artists  were asked to include one in our submission and although the gallery had thought to reproduce the images in the show onto an IPad, sadly there was no copy of the artist statement for the audience or even a hard copy. So particularly for the more conceptual pieces like this classic by Janis Nedela, we were left totally in the dark about what the artist was trying to communicate. This work was under a cover on a plinth to stop you  trying to rearrange the perspex pieces, even if you were allowed. Again, so easily made better with the artist statement being available to the audience. 
Window (first class). Recycled envelopes, collage. 

 Drawing on the ground. Carbon drawings, handstamped and handwritten text

Elizabeth JENEID
Special delivery. Wood, paper, tarlatan, paint
Keer Weer ready to travel

the wooden keel makes a wavelike form

the images and tone vary as you turn the pages

I be very surprised if too many people studying Elizabeth Jeneid's "Special Delivery" (above), would have worked out that it was about people trafficing or that my book,  "Keer Weer", a kindred spirit,  concerned boat people and "illegal refugees". I'd be also be very surprised if the curators that acquired my book for the State Library of Qld hadn't had the chance to read my artist statement or have any access to white gloves to explore the book fully. What a thrill to be there, accessible for all to share whenever they choose. We are so lucky!

Biodiversity cones. Digital book.

 Europa to Oceania. Text: Antoni JACH. Letterpress,
collograph, linocut, quarter cloth binding.

 Finite caves (drowned). Ink, crayons, acrylic, dye, thread and paper.

I'm sorry I couldn't show all the work that inspired me that week-end, I clearly had too much time on my hands. I feel so lucky to have been able to explore this exhibition for two days with hardly a soul in the gallery. What bliss! 

In the meantime, I think that considering how your work will be presented (and photographed for your submission) are very important issues, crucial to being included in national exhibitions like this.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

just a couple then

As you can see, the Kraft paper is prone to buckling and warping more than is desirable for most work so that's what I was exploring here. The paper was not coated with anything and painted with acrylic which caused the warping due to the stretching/shrinking of the paper as the paint dries. Thin applications not too wet are ok. I also used some linseed oil as seen in the darker areas and it works well if you don't mind the medium going through to the other side. Wax crayon is compatible with the oiled paper. The quote was typed onto an old page of an old school exercise book my mother used about 90 years ago. The paper is thicker and has a slight sheen and sentimental value as a bonus.

This time the Kraft paper has been waxed which gives it a darker, silky feel. No warping or stretching this time as paint is oil based and waxed crayons used. You may have noticed I've also been using an old manual typewriter which I dragged out when the grandchildren came over. You forget how hard we used to have to hit those keys. I do like the varied ,chancey feel to the text though which goes perfectly with the quote, which was typed on directly. Using the collage with old paper was not used as visually it sat too high off the surface of the paper.

Monday, October 3, 2016

"more ?"

"outside reason"

Another little exploratory page from "one way ticket". The grey graphite marks were made with a great tennis ball sized ball of graphite from Portugal. Is there any limit to the range of marks that we can use? The graphite is soluble as well, so more possibilities again. After "fixing" it is possible to write on the graphite using white ink or gouache.
Comment if you would like to see more pages from this little collection of mark making research.

Meanwhile, Jenny and I are heading off to Mackay for a long weekend to check out the wonderful world of artist books at "Libris Awards".  Although all the selected artists have been shown in the catologue, there is nothing quite like seeing them in the flesh and donning the white gloves to look inside. It will be interesting to see how "Keer weer" fits in with all the other books from all over Australia.