Tunneling our Way Through…Making Tunnel Books

Tunneling our Way Through…Making Tunnel Books

For the last class of our recent children’s bookmaking class at LACMA, we made tunnel books…comprised of two spines or sides, a back “page” holding them together.

To prepare for our project, we visited the beautiful LACMA Directors Roundtable Garden, resplendent with its Alexander Calder sculptures: mobiles and stabiles.

We observed how perspective is created by distance, saw how things looked smaller the farther away we are from them, and did a group exercise where each student in turn stated what they saw behind what the previous student said they saw…learning to see in “distance layers” (my terminology), I.E. in perspective.  We also explored the idea of scale seeing how large or small objects are in relation to each other.

Finally, we repaired to the lovely glassed in Plaza Studio, to put our learnings and observations into action, and create our books, exploring color, character, story and setting/environment in the process.

The results are…well, you can see for yourself why I called this class our “Seven From Heaven”!

Students of their own volition devised a theme,

such as this figure hiking,

and followed it through, in this case in silhouette form.

This young artist found images from magazines,

and created a scene with them.

Some created land, city and seascapes through cutting and shaping paper and cardstock strips, and adhering them to the spines,

to beautiful effect.

Students” individual color choices are always interesting…

and often very consistent…also with their clothing color choices, and probably more.

This innovative and well-traveled maker added the words, “Paris, London, New York” on these strips. her travels and where she has lived with her creative family is an important part of her identity.

The red spines on either side create a theatrical effect in this piece, that this bookmaker worked on with meticulous attention to detail, and tender loving care, as she did with all her projects.

I am so going to miss this class. It truly was heavenly to work with such motivated, thoughtful and devoted young creatives in the nurturing, inspirational and magnificent setting of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. May the “Seven From Heaven” ride LACMA art-mobile again soon, and may it be with me!

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Tunneling Through The Book 1

Tunneling Through The Book 1

It was wonderful to teach a workshop on tunnel books for CAFAM‘s  monthly Thursday Craft Night. The project connected to both the CHAPTERS: Book Arts in Southern California and Focus Iran 2: Contemporary Photography and Video concurrent exhibitions at the museum.

CAFAM (The Craft and Folk Art Museum) attracts a lively group of enthusiastic makers…and these creatives of all ages and backgrounds took the already cool tunnel book concept to new heights of fun, ingenuity and beauty.

I was lucky to be able to work with these lovely and talented volunteers, Jiae and Allie. They were troopers about setting up, learning the tunnel book structure, and “striking” at the end of the evening.

Our tunnel books were comprised of two accordion sides or “spines”,

a back “cover”

with “cross pieces” added to the bottom of each fold, to create a base from which to build the “story”.

Layers and detail can be added…literally going back in space., the structure creating foreground, middleground and background spaces.

until a scene, design, expression, environment, narrative…is created. In essence, a whole world.

Behold….some of the storied worlds created in our workshop!

You might say, participants offered us a whole new perspective through their works!

Light bulb moment…

Work…

and completion.

Truly a world within a world…

Focus, across the generations…

Pink is a unifier in this family.
Mom’s book…Older sister’s piece…Younger sister’s creation
Family affair: Mother and Daughters.


Taking the leap…

Animal house?

Her Library…complete with a removable book.

Here we see “the screen’ from the perspective of the movie viewers, and the backs of their heads!


All the world’s a stage…and a shadow box.

Land of happy..”When Dreams Meet Reality”.


This maker lined up the cross piece strips before they were attached and made the drawing across their surfaces as one, then broke it up and attached them in the same order to the structure. What a great idea!

Inventiveness knows no bounds. When put in the service of joyful expression, it makes the heart sing.

The Big Draw LA: Drawing for All

The Big Draw LA: Drawing for All!

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of leading a drawing event for The Big Draw LA at the Fairview Branch of the Santa Monica Public Library.

The Library staff set up four large rectangular pieces of white paper on tables, for participants to work on together and create “Big Drawings” that would be hung on panels around the community room, and serve as decor, color, inspiration and fun!

Children from the ages of two to twelve showed up with parents, and jumped into the activity with gusto! Moms and Dads followed suite….

WEB3They used a myriad of colored pencils…

WEB7and markers..large and small.

WEB6Artist moms got the opportunity to play with color, shape, line and pattern…

WEB9and some young artist chose to work on their own drawings, separate from the group projects,

WEB93c0mplete with lots of detail.

WEB91Toy horses were outlined,

WEB92and rainbows were born.

WEB95The result was magnificent…the result of many artistic voices.. An enterprising eleven-year-old started this piece off by drawing in the horizon line, and adding a few mountains rising up above it, to show distance. The composition grew from there, as each participating artist added their “thing”. Slowly the land and sky developed into a wonder world.

WEB99 Rowan volunteered to be outlined on  another sheet,

WEB94and so did Ellie on yet another.

WEB96It took the devoted efforts of several drawers coloring to make this piece complete. Are his hands purple, or is he wearing purple gloves?

WEB97Two young artists with a  love of green created the border around the edge of this drawing, then Ellie was outlined inside. parents and children worked together to make the dress as green as the one she was wearing. What a happy face!

WEB98As patrons came into the community room, they were invited to outline their hand along the edges of the fourth piece of paper, then design, develop and decorate it, adding their name if they wanted to.

WEB990The community room is now alive with the work of the community.

WEB991Line, shape, color, space, composition, perspective, proportion, scale…who knew learning about these could be so fun! Learning by doing, making art in community, and having a blast at The Big Draw LA, at The Fairview Branch Library

Many thanks to The Fairview Branch Library Manager, Erica Cuyugan, for the vision and commitment to make this event possible.  Thank  you Erica!!!

!

The Big Draw: Exploring Elements of Drawing

The Big Draw: Exploring Elements of Drawing

This coming Saturday I will be leading a drawing program at The Fairview Library in Santa Monica, as part of The Big Draw LA.  I am hoping to get some photos of participants creating big murals on white butcher paper with drawing tools and techniques that The Library and I provide!  Here I share the information, concepts, terms and techniques I plan to share with them tomorrow in a handout, and through our drawing projects, which will then grace the library’s walls.

I invite you to learn, study, play, enjoy…and DRAW!

Composition is the placement, arrangement, combination or organization of visual or pictorial elements such as line and shape in a work of art. Composition is not the subject or theme of a work. It is the arrangement of everything we see within the borders of a drawing or other work.

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The foreground, middle ground, and background are three parts of a composition that can help to create the illusion, or sense of depth in a flat or two-dimensional artwork such as a drawing or painting. The foreground is what appears closest to the viewer, while the background looks furthest from the viewer. The middle ground is located between both the foreground and background.space2

Line is the most basic element of the drawing. Lines span a distance between two points. Lines are what separate one area of the drawing from the other. A single line will divide your drawing into two areas. The more lines that are added, the more complex and detailed your drawing becomes. A line has a width, direction, and length. A line’s width is sometimes called its “thickness”. Lines can be all the same width or a single line can vary in width. A line can start out thin, get thicker, and then get thin again, depending on your drawing tool, and how you use it. Lines of varying widths can add interest to your drawing!

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Shape is another important element of visual art. Shapes are flat spaces enclosed by lines. The boundaries of shapes are, or create, lines. Shapes are limited to two dimensions: length and width.

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Shapes can be geometric, such as squares, circles, or triangles, or organic, such as the natural shape of a puddle, cloud or leaf.

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Geometric shapes have clear edge, are precise, and related to mathematical principles. They can require a guiding tool to draw such as a ruler. Geometric shapes usually look organized, and have names such as circle, square or rectangle. Most geometric shapes are made by humans, and don’t often appear in nature though crystals, which appear in nature, are considered to be geometric.

shapes2

Organic shapes have less well-defined edges, a natural look, and are usually outlined in curvy lines. They are typically irregular and asymmetrical (not exactly the same on both sides). Organic shapes usually do not have a name. They aren’t circles or squares. People, trees, flowers and other things that have been alive or are alive are usually made up of organic shapes.

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Space is the distance or area around, between, above, below or within what is put into the composition. Space includes the background, foreground and middle ground of a composition. There are two kinds of space: Positive and Negative Space.

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Positive space is best described as the areas in a work of art that are the subjects or actual things being shown. The area around the positive space is called the negative space. Negative space is area around and between the subjects or things being shown in a work of art. Which is the negative space, and which is the positive space in the image below?

space1Is the negative space the black shapes around the white goblet, or is it the white space between the two faces? Is the positive space the white goblet, or the black faces?

Texture, another element of art, is the way a three-dimensional surface feels to the touch, or how the surface of a two-dimensional or flat work looks like it might feel if touched, I.E., its “visual feel”.

texture1Visual Textures created through Drawing

Objects appear smaller and closer together as they recede in the distance. This is how we see. Things aren’t actually smaller and closer together when they are farther away, they just look that way, and how our eyes perceive distance. This is called perspective.

perspective7

Perspective is the illusion the further away things are, the smaller they appear. Perspective drawing is a system of representing the way that objects appear to get smaller and closer together, the further away they are.  To make something appear to be farther away from the viewer than the picture plane, draw it smaller than the object that is closer to the picture plane.

perspective2

Perspective is the technique used to represent a three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional/flat surface, such as a piece of paper, in a way that looks realistic and accurate, as we would see it in real life. Perspective is used to make a flat image look as though it has space and depth.

perspective3

The horizon (or skyline) is the line that we perceive as separating earth (which includes bodies of water on earth) from sky. The horizon line is also known as eye level. In real life, the horizon is where the land (or sea) and sky meet. In creating a flat/two-dimensional work of visual art, it is the level your eyes are at, an imaginary line to which things recede.

perspective1Horizon line…at the horizon

As things get further away, from us, they seem smaller and closer together. When they get far enough away, distances become ever tinier and so form a single point, called the vanishing point.

perspective8

In perspective drawing, the vanishing point is the spot on the horizon line where receding parallel lines appear to come together, or converge. It is the point where buildings, rails, roads and anything in the background of a drawing or other flat work of art seem to converge into one single point on the horizon, where objects seem to disappear.

perspective4

Foreshortening is a technique used in perspective to create the illusion of an object receding strongly into the distance or background. .Foreshortening is used in drawing to create a sense of depth and make objects look like they are going back in space. Of course they aren’t…they are drawn on a flat piece of paper or other two-dimensional surface.

foreshort1

An example of actual foreshortening is when you look down a long straight road lined with trees and the two edges of the road appear to move towards each other, while the trees look smaller the further away from you they are…until they seem to disappear altogether, at the vanishing point.

perspective5

Proportion is a principle of visual art that refers the size of one picture element in relation to the size of another, such as the size of the head in relation to the rest of the body.

proportion2

Proportion can give a sense of balance and harmony to a drawing, or other piece of visual art. It is similar to scale, which is how one object relates or compares to another one in size, such as how a dog relates to a cat, or a cat to a rabbit, as regards to size.

proportion1

If you happen to be around the Los Angeles Area tomorrow, October 25th, and want to drop into the Fairview library between 12 and 3PM and join in the creative fun, please do! Until then, maybe this post can illuminate and inform your approach to drawing, and broaden your knowledge and even your skill!

  Practice makes, well, there is no perfection, but practice certainly does help, so, draw on!