Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook, 8.5" x 5.5" (x2)
Our latest challenge is to 'Draw something that's in the kitchen'. I opened the herb and spice cupboard but didn't have much time to sketch before going to work so later in the evening I filled the gap with some wording.
Felt I wanted to post something but wasn't sure what so I've dug out these photos of a sketchbook which was a gift for an artist whose birthday was on Valentine's Day. As in some of my other sketchbooks, I stitched in two types of paper so inserted identifying notes.
You probably know me by now - when I bind a book, I want it to be bound traditionally, to last for decades and also to be fit the purposes of the recipient. For a while now, I have been researching how to achieve 'lay flat' binding in a chunky book with a rigid (not rounded) spine - a ton of stuff has been written about it on bookbinding forums, etc. It has been suggested that the only way to achieve it is to use or buy one of three machines which seals it with an adhesive. Apparently, the only way to achieve a 'lay flat' effect by hand-stitching is to use coptic binding but, although the books are absolutely beautiful to look at, not everyone wants to work with all that stitching down the middle of some of the pages. I felt I had to try to perfect it by hand and have been scrutinising numerous case bound, stitched books to see the difference between those that lay flat and those that dip in the middle. I was recently asked to make a book with a lot of pages which, again, would contain some drawing paper and some watercolour paper - the paper I used is the lovely Fabriano 5 watercolour paper so it's quite thick and thus weighty. She chose her fabrics from my little selection and I made up some bookcloth. (The spot is for someone else.) Anyway, I am pleased to report that thanks to a lot of research and some experimentation (as well as prayer!), it has finally worked! Yippee! I threw in the smaller book, as a gift, which contains Fabriano 4 fairly smooth watercolour paper that she can use on the train or at sketchcrawls, etc., where you often have to stand and sketch/paint and, instead of the ribbon close used for the chunky one (which would be fiddly in the field), I put ribbon along the edges of the 'quarter' so it would match it's sibling.
Making book cloth
Textblocks stitched and ready for the 'chunky' and
one ready for the spotted bookcloth
Handmade 'stamp' in back endpapers
Ooops! Forgot to rotate the photo.
A few more random pics of the chunky...
(two bookmarks for ease of reference)
… and of the slim one.
Thanks for reading this far; I do appreciate you all!
The image below (minus the ghostly charcoal leaves and flower in the centre) is how it looked when I left the Pastel Society. However, I felt it needed something to unify the two plants so added more leaves and a central flower.
The Pastel Society had their annual Art Evening at the Mall Galleries this week and, almost at the last minute, I ordered a ticket and went along - last year, they had a classical guitarist but I spent the evening drawing Kimono instead. (See post 121 or click the 'Kimono' label.)
This year, the musician was a frantic (but oh my goodness, so skilled) violinist and there was another beautiful Kimono lady (lying down) plus, out back, a life model. I chose the violinist for two reasons: her gorgeous ultramarine blue, linen dress and the fact that she was moving all over the place. Even when she sat down, she didn't sit still! A couple of people told me they found this difficult, of course but to me it was an amusing challenge.
Something occurred to me on the way home: whenever in the past I've attended such events, I've sat an drawn (or painted) one or two pieces of art and returned another day to view the exhibition. This year, in the three hours, I did four sketches (three figure and one still life) then walked round and viewed the whole exhibition before going home. This is surely thanks to sketchcrawling with Urban Sketchers. On a sketch crawl, especially the London ones, there are people flying back and forth in front of us and so much to capture that we are forced to work rapidly. Add into the mix the fact that at 1:30pm and again at 4:00pm, we reconnect and photograph our artwork so there is a constant subliminal countdown to finish something and appear with your artwork in the group photo! However, sketchcrawls are so much fun that we are not stressed! What this amounts to is that, personally, I've become quicker and more decisive - who knew?!
So, thank you 'Urban Sketchers London' and 'Drawing Outside Northampton' - your training has been and continues to be priceless!
Schmincke and Unison Soft Pastels plus Charcoal
on Clairefontaine Pastelmat paper
Our model (Anna, I think) took a break and sat down before walking around looking at everyone's sketches. Even as she sat, she was wriggling about so much that it was a job to even capture the violin. Had I thought of it, I'd have sketched it on both sides of her, rather than waiting for her to revert to one of her many positions. She was fantastic, playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons, amongst other lively pieces, for three hours straight minus two five minute breaks - an amazing young woman!