Masks and Merriment

Masks and Merriment

I had the wonderful opportunity to lead a mask-making program recently at the great  Baldwin Hills Public Library, part of the Los Angeles Public Library system.

web6Parents worked alongside their children, and joined in the fun!

web1We created three-dimensional masks of flat sheets of bright tag paper by cutting through the corners and attaching the edges.

web5Participants then creatively adorned and

web4developed their mask

web3characters.

web2We can become someone else when wearing our masks…

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And maybe, become more ourselves!

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And isn’t that what the creative process is all about?

To Build a World…Inspired by Louise Nevelson

To Build a World…Inspired by Louise Nevelson

WEB1What a wonderful experience to introduce young artists to the wondrous wood work of the artist Louise Nevelson…and what better way than for them to create their own (mini) wood sculptures!

WEBaWorking on simple cardboard bases, students worked with an assortment of new and repurposed wood objects, in a variety of shapes, thicknesses and sizes.

WEBbPlaying with shape, space, form, pattern, dimension and design, they arranged their chosen pieces into sculptures (“built environments”), and secured them  using “tacky glue“.

WEBcSome used aspects of symmetry to create harmony and balance.

WEBddSome built their pieces up,

WEBfinto elegant and contained structures,

WEBhsome out, into strong, repeating patterns,

WEBeand some built up and out producing a magical sense of movement that is a joy to behold.

WEBgThey used the color, texture and utility of the materials to establish strong compositions, sustain visual interest

WEbiand just plain have fun!

It was beautiful to see them build….their worlds.

Gratis Louise Nevelson.

Happy Birthday SMPL

Happy Birthday SMPL

December 2015 marked the 125th Anniversary of the Santa Monica Public Library. The Library celebrated from November 2015 through January 2016 with programs and special events that “honor the library’s position as a connecting point – bridging the past to the future, bringing community members together, and plugging library patrons into the resources they need to read, connect, relax and learn.”

I was honored to lead a bookmaking program for families and folks of all ages on Saturday, January 12th.

Sat,
Jan 9

 125th - fanbook

Make a Fan-Style Memory Book

Saturday, January 9, 2016 at 11:00 am
Main Library, Youth Activity Room, 601 Santa Monica Boulevard

For families with children and adults. Commemorate the library’s anniversary with a memory book in this craft workshop.

 

Let the fun begin!

WEBi.After folding their accordion spines, participants added covers and pages to create their books.

WEBb.Our first hour was spent learning how to create the book structure and doing so, then…

WEBn.we got to the fun part (well, it is ALL fun…)…what to add to our books.

WEBc.Colorful, glittery stickers were in abundance.

WEBm.The folded “fan” book (which has some similarities to the  “Flag Book“) can stand up on a surface in a star-like shape…

WEBl.so that the pages can be seen from different vantage points, and used to great effect for display. Great for a centerpiece, and to display photos on.

WEBd.Participants enjoyed a multitude of foam sticker letters.  Has spelling ever been so fun?

WEBe.Here’s our line-up of stellar assistants, two library pages (yes, they are still called “pages”,) and a volunteer.  It would not have been the same with out them!  THANK YOU Perla, Keisha and Cassandra!

WEBh.More letter stickers, and a layering of color, texture and shapes creates an elegant cover.

WEBk.This one’s for Mom…(George’s Mom…)

WEBj.The books become sculptural when three-dimensional elements are added.

     WEBo.Proud BOOKMAKERS share their completed masterworks…

WEBa.Displaying an  impressive creativity, use of materials, and sense of design.

WEBg.One appreciative patron took off on the idea of creating a book to commemorate  “her” library…

WEBf.This one may be archived by the SMPL…it’s a keeper.

A keeper of memory, celebration, and possibility.

Like the Library!

Happy Birthday, SMPL!

That Ribbon of…3

That Ribbon of…3

It is fascinating to explore ways of integrating ribbon and tying mechanisms into book structures. An integrated tie mechanism encourages the user to engage with the object…opening and closing, tying and untying.

WEB4In an ongoing process of attempting to meld bookmaking, decorative painting, conceptual, and “fine” art into the mysterious form of the “artist’s book“, I am exploring the use of tissue paper and the like combined with adhesives to create a textured, tactile surface, and incorporating the ribbon or tie as an integral part of the piece.

WEBaSimple cardboard is covered with crinkled tissue once used to separate sheets of metallic leaf. This tissue, for lack of a better term, is thin, fine, ultra flexible, crushable, porous, adherable and absorbent. Perfect for texturing, and when combined with adhesive, becomes almost like a glue itself. The textured surface can create a compelling, intriguing, and in some instances, incredibly satisfying object to gaze upon, to touch, to hold, and to use.

WEB1Here the actual packing of the metallic leaf become folded book pages, each one unfolded, then refolded into a signature, (technically a “section”).  These signatures are then sewn together with hemp cord using  the pamphlet stitch  to create a “multi-signature” binding.  Half of the first and last pages are then glued to the inside of the front and back covers so that the pages unfold.

WEB2Thus each folded page opens up into four two-sided sections. many possibilities here…both for developing the book by adding content to the pages, and for user engagement with the pages…unfolding and folding them.

WEB3The pages can become sculptural and create different shapes. One of the magical things about the form of “the book”, is that it can be nearly flat or two-dimensional, or three-dimensional. Books are transformational…in many ways.

WEB5The exposed points of contact where the signatures are sewn together become the spine of the book.

WEB6Eventually, I integrated this brilliant orange ribbon into the design of the book. it adds a bit of shimmer, dimension, and contrasting texture, and a tone-on-tone quality that I find irresistible.

I will have to get some images of the finished piece. It is fun to play with, opening and closing the book,  folding and unfolding the pages, seeing how many shapes can be created. The user has to engage with this book, if they don’t want to miss out!

 

 

 

 

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.

space3

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!

lin2

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.

shape5

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

shape6

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.

shape4

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.

space9

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! 

Material Girl 3: Many Parts Create The Whole

Material Girl 3: Many Parts Create The Whole…FLAG BOOKS!

WEBc

The fun and innovative Flag Book  structure can be a powerful  form to express thought, feeling and idea through word and image.

WEBm

Within the flag book…there can be a

WEBo7

We all know that…

WEBnWEBn1

Above are Flag Book front and back covers..with a “found writing” title..which employs  text,  color, the font/typeface, the design, composition, and space between the words for cognitive and emotional impact.

WEBn2A single word or phrase can pack the proverbial punch, when paired with color and placement.

WEBn3Putting together “found” words and phrases can yield unexpected poetry…the poetic power of  Found Writing.

Found Writing can help us define our vision (or one of them…)

WEBoWEBo2and give us a hitherto unknown directive of sorts.  We  find that we can advise ourselves…

WEBo4within the context of numerous ideas.

WEBo9The layering of words, colors, shapes and text

WEBo3creates new meanings,

WEBpand may tell us something important…

WEBp3about something we want,

WEBp2or need

WEBp6to know…

WEBp5or experience…

WEBp1or try….

WEBp7You may find that you make a promise…to yourself…

WEBp8That must be kept.

Something new…has been born.

Wave those flags!!!!

WEBl

 

Material Girl 2: Many Parts Create The Whole

 

Material Girl 2: Many Parts Create The Whole

WEbj1

Preparing for bookmaking programs at the West Hollywood Library, the Diamond Bar Library, the Fairview Library, and the Montana Avenue Library isn’t just a labor of love…it can be pure joy.

WEbaWEbbThe spread of papers of just the right thickness, ready to be folded into the versatile accordion/concertina spine.

WEbc1Pages are attached to each fold of the spine. More folds = more page possibilities!

WEbe1A rainbow of front and back covers cut to the same height as the spines.

WEbe3Mottled” book pages.

WEbdHigh contrast, and “grey on grey” spine-cover color designs. The effect can be elegant!

WEbgWEbg2The glory of your basic colored construction paper…not just for kids.

WEbfAssorted papers…Japanese patterns, parchment, and ‘plain brown wrapper” card stock. Variety is the spice of life…and bookmaking!

WEbf1Let’s take a closer look at those papers!  Now…what can we do with them?

WEBmFront cover design…

WEBm1Use of paper heart found at “Trash for Teaching” in Los Angeles, on inside front cover.

WEBm2“Fan” page designs! The pages will be attached to each fold of the spine, and will “fan” out when the book is opened by pulling the back and front covers away from each other.  The “fan” book can also be opened ‘traditionally”,by turning the cover, and moving through the pages by turning them consecutively.

WEbiPutting it all together….a family theme.

WEbi1“Doors” and Windows” can be cut in pages and covers, to reveal the unexpected beneath and behind!

WEbj“Fan” pages are attached to the accordion /concertina spine, seen here in a variety of colors.

WEBkWEBk1WEBk2 WEBk3“Heart” openings on the “fan” pages  (“Windows/Doors”) reveal surprises behind and beneath…which can deepen and expand the theme of the book.

WEBl1WEBlCardboard shapes, another treasure found at Trash for Teaching, create a slight three-dimensional (“relief“) effect, and can be used to create visual frames for photos or other treasures added to the book.

WEBo6

Don’t we all?!!

Straight is the Gate: NOT!

Straight is the Gate: NOT!

The Venice Canals are a fantasy-land of visual whimsey.  Art and architecture, design and details, color, form, texture and landscaping intersect with the natural world of earth and water, mingling in a magical way.  Here, the lines between privacy and the public are both diffused and defined.  Visitors stroll past homes that buttress right up to the sidewalk, but often are shaded by trees, and hidden behind hedges, walls and gates, or a combination of all three.

Metal, wood, and foliage flow together  to create both art and utility.  We are are so caught up in observing the material mix, we forget to peer beyond the gate.  Mission accomplished.

Creative cutouts provide contrast to the wood and metal geometry below, and make of this gate a work of art, both two and three dimensional.

No-one is getting past this gate, unless the owner wants you to.  So arrested by its beauty, we forget how formidable it is. Flanked by bamboo, the strength of its materials, shape and detailing stops us in our tracks.

The simplicity of repeated squares which form a pattern is further softened by curving grasses, and enlivened by the use of stones on the ground in front.

A similar repeated shape creates a grid, reflecting the larger tile-like stones before it, creating a starker, and more stream-lined feeling.

What magnificent and magical gates have been in YOUR purview lately?

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

We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all traversing this thing we call Life, together.

Cheers!