“The Big Book”: Collaboration 3

“The Big Book”: Collaboration 3

Last summer I had the opportunity to do a collaborative book project with students aged 5-10. We called it “The Big Book“.

I created the structure out of repurposed corrugated cardboard. The students then added to, developed, embellished and played with the structure.

The students had access to all of the drawing, painting and collage materials we were using in class on our bookmaking projects to use in any way they wished (within time and space constraints, and reason) on the The Big Book.

Here is some of their play…..

webc1Images of students working on their book projects…on The Big Book


webiDesign and line…

webjWe used beads, paint pens, ribbon, paper, and much more…

The Big Book…Lives!

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“The Big Book”: Collaboration 2

“The Big Book”: Collaboration 2

Last summer I had the opportunity to do a collaborative book project with students aged 5-10. We called it “The Big Book“.

weba1I created the structure out of repurposed corrugated cardboard. The students then added to, developed, embellished and played with the structure.

weba2I primed all of the surfaces, and painted the outside of the covers and spine black and the inside white.  I framed the outside of the covers with  extra strips of cardboard for stability.

weba3The students had access to all of the drawing, painting and collage materials we were using in class on our bookmaking projects to use in any way they wished (within time and space constraints, and reason) on the The Big Book.

weba4They went to town using pipe cleaners, cloth, washi and glittery tapes, feathers, and their own drawings

weba5to create designs, borders, text, textures, color and artworks on the collaborative piece.

webb2Because the students were a range of ages, there were a range of effects,

webb1which melded together to become a singular Book Work of charm, energy, and personality!

We worked together. We created together. We laughed together. We respected each other.

A Lesson for Living.

“The Big Book”: Collaboration



“The Big Book”: Collaboration 1

“The Big Book”: Collaboration 1

Last summer I had the opportunity to do a collaborative book project with students aged 5-10….we called it “The Big Book“.

webaFront cover of “The Big Book

I constructed a “folded fan” style flag book…out of corrugated cardboard. I folded an accordion spine, attached a front and a back cover, and two pages inside, going in the same direction, which fanned out when the book was opened.

webbBack cover of “The Big Book“.

I used tacky glue to put the pieces together, then sewed therm in place with hemp cord, and finally, trimmed the whole piece off with patterned duck tape. I then primed all of the surfaces, and painted the outside (front and back covers and spine) black, and the inside white, with acrylics. I added extra strips of re-purposed corrugated cardboard for stability.

webdStudents embellished the cardboard borders which also added structural support to the book.

webcA student’s expression of gratitude!

webkWonderful advice!

weblSo happy to see this….

webqStudents embellished just about every inch of the book…playing with words, colors, textures, designs and materials.

webrI created the structure…but the young artists left their mark/s….and made the piece come alive.

Much fun was had in the process. Students learned not only about using materials on a scale larger than their other book projects, but also about working together, collaboration, communication and cooperation.  Skills needed now perhaps more than ever.

Good lessons for our times. For any times. For all the times of our lives.

Behind the Mask 3

Behind the Mask 3

It has been fun integrating my Mom, Judy Disman’s “mini-masks” into a series of my handmade books.

WEB1The series is comprised of small (approximately 4.5 x 6 x1-1.5″), single and multiple signature books,

WEB3made of repurposed board, paper, jewelry parts,

WEB6 hemp cord, linen thread, and Eco-fi felt (made from recycled plastic bottles.)

WEB5It is a joy to play with color and  the tension of opposites.  Here the compliments blue and orange, are couched in bright white, reflecting flag colors of red, white and blue, with a twist.

WEB4The stitched, or “lashed” edges are inspired by  medieval clothing and lacing.

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Braided ties can keep the books closed, and the pages are blank.

All the better of stashing secrets!

 

Behind the Mask 2

Behind the Mask 2

It has been fun integrating my Mom, Judy Disman’s “mini-masks” into a series of my handmade books.

WEB2The series is comprised of small (approximately 4.5 x 6 x1-1.5″), single and multiple signature books,

WEB6made of repurposed board, paper, jewelry parts, and raffia,

WEB1as well as hemp cord, linen thread, and Eco-fi felt (made of recycled plastic bottles.)

WEB3The stitched, or “lashed” edges are inspired by

WEB4medieval clothing and lacing, and of course…color.

WEB5The books tie together, and the pages are blank…

all the better of stashing secrets!

 

Behind the Mask 1

Behind the Mask 1

It has been fun integrating my Mom, Judy Disman’s “mini-masks” into a series of my handmade books.

WEB3The series is comprised of small (approximately 4.5 x 6 x1-1.5″), single and multiple signature books,

WEB5made of repurposed board, paper, jewelry parts, and raffia,

WEB1as well as hemp cord, linen thread, and Eco-fi felt (made of recycled plastic bottles.)

WEB6The bound edges are inspired by

WEB7medieval clothing and lacing,

WEBaand of course…color.

The books tie together, and the pages are blank…all the better of stashing secrets!

Crawling the Wall: The Making of a Mural

Crawling the Wall: The Making of a Mural

Lest you think that only smooth interior walls or whitewashed exterior ones can provide the surface for mural magic…let me set you straight.

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What is a mural ?  Related to the French word “mur”, meaning “wall”, the term “mural” is derived from the Latin mūrālis, which means “of a wall”, derived from the Latin mūrus, or…WALL!  And…there are so many kinds of walls…

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Some sport a trellis, such as the wall I was to paint for my client, Maureen.

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This was her view through her kitchen window, in a neighborhood that is often permeated in dense fog.

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Well, picturesque though it might be…the trellis had to go.

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Underneath, the corrugated texture of the wooden siding posed another painting challenge.

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Maureen’s contractor and landscaper, Greg Spry of  Spryscapes had designed a bench for the deck, so the mural needed to work with it.

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The deck opened out directly from the living/dining area, which informed the mural’s color palette.

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I also took inspiration from the colors, textures and patterns of pillows, textiles, artwork, and other details inside,

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as well as from Maureen’s business card.

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She loves flowers and plants, and with that fog,  they can be challenging to grow and maintain on the deck.

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Taking a cue from the wall’s trellis “history”, I designed a composition of curving vines, punctuated by big splashes of brightly colored blossoms, and made it to-scale.

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On a rare lovely, sunny day, I set up a little outdoor studio right on the deck , and set to work.

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The essentials: mockup, palette, and rags.  Oh yes…the paints are out there too.

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I began with a rough chalk outline on the wall, closely following the design depicted in the mockup.

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I laid in the underpainting for the leaves , “vines”, and and stems, over which the other colors would go, in a cool green hue.  I had cut stencils (incredibly useful!) in varied sizes for the leaves, and adhered them to the side wall with blue painters tape in-between color applications.

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Next came the underpainting of the flower blossoms in a brilliant yellow.

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All the paints used are artist’s  acrylic designed for mural painting, which I bought at the Precita Eyes Muralists Community Art Store in San Francisco.

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Next, I laid in the other colors, and added details, complexity and depth with layers of color that shifted in value from dark to light and back again.

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I used sets of strongly contrasting complementary colors to add energy, intensity, “pop” and vigor to the design.

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I disregarded the edges of the strips of siding, and its corrugated texture, and painted right over it and into its texture, applying layers of slightly watered down paint to the painted surface to fill each area, and give the sense of unbroken blossoms of color dancing across the wall.

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Maureen’s painter had base painted the wall in a neutral color, which made the technicalities of my task easier, as his efforts helped to unify the surface.

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The idea was to create a rhythm, and feeling of movement, color and pattern across the wall.

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The colors would change with the light, but always add a

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sense of whimsy, magic and joi de vivre to the deck and to the home,and to animate it,

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all the way to the end.

(Of course the painting is varnished to protect it from those foggy elements.)

  Now Maureen has a magical, motion-filled garden to look at when she raises her eyes from the kitchen sink, and looks out the window to  the deck. These are flowers that don’t require watering!

Here’s to the bon vivant, Maureen, Cheers!

 

 

A Saga of Flying Cranes: Process

  A Saga of Flying Cranes: Process

I have had the opportunity, the honor, really, to work on a very special project for a historical residence, in the historical West Adams District of Los Angeles.  I was brought in by an architect specializing in the restoration and preservation of  historic buildings to transform a custom cabinet, designed to cover the living room television set, into a singular work of art.

I worked closely with the architectural firm, and project manager,  interfacing with the owner, interior designer, builders, and foreman, as we developed the design from concept to a specificity of  colors,textures,  materials and composition.

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Along the way, I amassed and created inspirational images, painted, gilded and stenciled mock-ups, to scale drawings, and numerous samples.

Once inspired by images, and with the design process determined, it was time to bring the rubber to the road…and take the concept to the surface!

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The inside of the four cabinet doors were stenciled with a customized motif that was variously rotated, flipped and reversed into variations that were combined to create an  elegant,  complex, yet fluid composition.

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The individual motifs, and the pattern they created when combined were designed to complement and reflect the pattern in the rug,

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and the carved images of  a free-standing wooden cabinet in the room.

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Even the decorative heating grate cover is an inspiration, and is integrated into the overall design and feel of the room!

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The architect’s office created a mock-up from copies made from the stencils themselves, and put together in the desired sequence for reference, to insure no mistakes were made.

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Due to virulent vigilance, none were.

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Stencils based on the chosen designs were drawn out to scale on acetate, a clear plastic material often used for this purpose, and hand-cut using an xacto knife, on a “self-healing” cutting mat.

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Once the stencils were used, colorful paint residue made it easier to see their pattern, and also served as a color guide. The hand-cut stencils can be too delicate to wash off, so the paint stays on them.

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After careful measuring and positioning, the stencils were taped into place over the primed, latex base painted, gold painted and several times stippled door panels..and the colors were applied in a stippled (or pounced),and  layered fashion.

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Stenciling is truly the art of delayed gratification…the total effect can really only be seen when done.  You have to  love it.  If you do, the effort, the care,  the patience and the high wire act is worth it.  It is for me…I truly love the process, and how complex the results can become.One of my favorites is the extraordinary ceiling of the Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room, housed in the Chicago Art institute.

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After the stenciling  was completed, three applications of composition gold leaf, also called dutch metal or schlag, were applied to the front side of the doors. Each surface was delicately sanded in-between, with a fine sandpaper of 400-600 grit.  Visual delineation of the  squares of gold leaf was the desired look. The  surfaces were  then sealed with a coat of  oil varnish designed for use over dutch metal, to prepare it for the painting.   Dutch metal will tarnish with any contact with water media, so this varnishing step is crucial.

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Finally, the initial painting of the “saga of flying cranes’ began…first in primer, as the paint is acrylic, and it would not stick to the oil-based varnished surface. Washes of color in acrylic were then built up over the surface, and detail laid in. The painted surfaces were lightly sanded between paint applications, to keep it smooth and satiny.

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More color details were added to give depth, dimension, and a bit of pop to the scene.

The colors were carefully chosen and designed to work with the room’s rug,

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(glorious colors and patterns…found by the amazing architect and designer and their team.)

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 fabrics, textiles and accessories…(some might say that pillows are necessities!),

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as well as the wall colors and finishes in the room. The undertone of deep blue violet in the birds also provides pop against the complimentary gold background.

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It was important to the architect that the crane’s feet have personality!

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Inspired by the film, “Winged Migration“, these cranes have grit and determination…they are going somewhere, and they are going to get there!

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On-site in the residence,  I treated the sides of the cabinet in the same stippled fashion as the interior surfaces of the door…but no stenciling here. I applied layers of stippled color over the primed, them base painted, then gold-metallic painted surfaces, as was done with the inside of the cabinet doors above.

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The room is handsome, serene, streamlined, and somehow both warm and inviting, and cool and elegant.

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I am looking forward to gong to the site soon,  to see and photograph the doors installed and the cabinet as a whole.

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When I do, I think I  will be tempted to say…”You’ve come a long way, baby!  You’ve flown the coop!”

Are You looking forward to flying in this New Year?

I hope You are able to take flight in 2013.

As we know…time does fly…so let’s fly with it!

Muz-ing on our Color Choices

Muz-ing on our Color Choices

Each month, usually the third Sunday of the month, at 4:15 PST, I have the honor, and the responsibility, of visiting the inspiring and informative Artistically Speaking Talk Show, brainchild of the extraordinary Rebecca E. Parsons, as the Color Muze…and then translating our colorFULL “muzes” into a monthly articles for Rebecca’s online magazine, “Cre8tive Compass“.

The bottom line is…how do we make our color choices?  Why do we choose the colors that we do…and what can help us make the most gratifying color choices for any particular purpose?

From what we take in,

to what we  live in,

to what we put on.

How does color affect us, and how can we cre8te color effects?  Are we talking paint effects, or the effect of light?  How does color make us FEEL emotionally, (what are our color associations?) or   physically (through our senses), or  spiritually, and on an energetic level?

What is actually happening in our brains when we “see” color?  And…what is up with that Color Wheel, anyway?

Analogous colors, complementary colors, warm and cool colors, tertiary colors…what do all of these terms mean, and how can YOU use color theory in Your own precious Life?

So…check us out!  Rebecca broadcasts live every Sunday night, beginning at 3:30 PST…and the Color Muze visits most third Sundays of the month, at approximately 4:15pm, PST.  You will hear marvelous and inspiring interviews with artists, entrepreneurs, crafters, bloggers and bakers, and enough bite-sized pieces of color info to make a meal!

As always…feel free to call in to the Show, make a comment here,  on the Cre8tive Compass site, or either of our Facebook pages.

We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all cre8ting our own rainbow of this thing called Life…together!

Mural Magic

Mural Magic

One of the joys of creating site specific art works, and murals in particular, is just that; their specificity, and particularity.   Working with a client to determine the theme, subject, imagery and details of a mural can become a collaborative journey that yields surprising results, delighting us with the unexpected.

When I began working with a client who wanted a 6 x 12′ Chinese Garden” mural painted on 3 plywood panels that could be affixed to her patio fence, I was excited by the prospect of the research I planned to do, and the new things I anticipated learning about the subject.  We fleshed all of her ideas out through preliminary sketches, and a scaled mockup of the mural as a whole.

My client shared with me the imagery she wanted in her mural, which included Pandas...

Orchids….

a Jade Plant

Bamboo..

Even a (friendly) Tiger!

I loved discovering Chinese Garden Stools

where a cuddly Panda might enjoy a cup of tea….

or play a game of hide and seek…

When the mural was completed, my client said to me, “”I am constantly amazed that you were able to create and depict what I could only talk about. Thank you.” 

A testimonial like that may be the greatest reward of all…in addition to the voyage of fun and discovery we both experienced in our magical mural collaboration.

How have YOU collaborated with Your clients in creating something site specific and custom, just for them?

If you feel so inclined, please about it with us here.

We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all creating this site specific collaboration called Life, together.