Thursday, June 7, 2007

Altered Book Progress 2

So far this book is moving along well. I am not one to use a lot of the gimmicks and fun techniques that a lot of people use in their altered books. That just isn't my style. I love images. I love quotes. I love putting them together. Too many gimmicks are distracting and take the interest away from the images. If they are used to enhance a work, I'd use them, but just to use them for the sake of doing it - well, like I said, just not my style. Most of my bird images are from calendars and magazines, like National Geographic, or Birds and Blooms. Most of my quotes are from The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, third edition.

I cut the first page to make an opening where the title will show through.

The second page is a spread using a Post card, postage stamp, a quote, rubber stamps, acrylic paints and Krylon gold leafing pen. The opposite page used found images from internet.

The next spread is "A Bird in the Hand is worth 2 in the bush". This I drew and painted with acrylic paints. There is one line of found text, over which I placed one of those clear acrylic things. I also used transfer letters, a postage stamp and a stencil.

The book was looking too blue, so I changed the pallette to make it pop. The hummingbird spread was done with a background of acrylic stain, handmade specialty paper, collage, postage stamp and rubber stamps.

Now that the rhythm of the piece is broken up, I thought I'd make a dark page. These little owls were just waiting for a page that would show them off. I used paints to extend the picture to the edges of the pages and added in the extra branches and pine needles to finish it off. I had sanded the dark part of the photo, but decided it was distracting, so I just painted over that. Then I wanted a little text - but nothing that would take the interest away from the pair of owls. I found the little caption in my box of movie quotes (got them at a garage sale). Then the letters for the word WHO were cut out and glued on. Again, I wanted them to be there, but not to ruin the balance of the spread. Then as a last touch I placed clear discs over the eyes.

The next spread was done in in browns. A little image of baby birds in the nest and another with a bird family peering out of tree looked good together. Using handmade papers and extending the images with acrlic paints, this spread practically made itself. I used an appropriate quote and carried it across the two pages to tie it all together.

I thought I'd put up a tutorial for altering a book, but I realize that I can only really teach my own style - and everyone needs to find their own style. None of the people I know that are making altered books use the same methods or techniques. The common thread is using the book and altering it. Other than that, there are so many interesting things one can do - artists need to explore those things and see how their own styles develop.

I'll continue to upload this book as it develops, as an example of how I work.

One of the things I do, is to take out pages as I go. I do not prepare the book ahead of time. But because of the glue between pages and the collage materials used, the book needs to be thinned as work progresses. Otherwise the book would get fatter and fatter and would not close. I like my books to be flat when I'm done - so they fit on a bookshelf just like any other normal book. I don't know how thick the pages will be when I'm making them. It depends what I add. The more layers I add, the more blank pages I need to remove. But, I'm careful to make sure the integrety of the spine is protected. You don't want it falling apart on you.

I'd be happy to answer any questions, and invite your comments. Janene

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