Saturday, October 1, 2016

One More on Letter Journals

This one is about serial collaboration in absentia, as it were. I worked on Sue Maher's journal in the group working on "Patterns". I was second in line; that is, she made her journal, sent it to me, I worked on it, and it will go to three more collaborators before returning to her to keep. It was supposed to be a test of my control-freakery control. (I scanned rather than photographed images and they look duller than in real life.)
All the paint work was done by Sue. For me, it was hard to see harmony or connection if the two pages were to be treated as one spread. Without any plan, I first made a few rows of different shapes with gold gel pen on the right page, but I liked the red and orange circles too much to reduce their presence/effect I didn't cover the whole page with gold shapes.

Looking at the left, blue/pink-lavender page, again without a strategy for the spread but aiming to harmonize colors, I drew squares in a copper gel pen much like the fifth picture in the previous post. I chose bronze because depending on light/angle the shapes are hard to see, sort of like weft and warp in the same color and size but with different sheen; or they shine. I had in mind a map of an invisible/lost city.

This is what surprised me. After this much detail, I might have been expected to sign and finish the spread, at least the left page, but I didn't because I was immensely eager to see what others would do. Even if someone painted or collaged over so the shapes were obscured, I wanted to see it. Isn't that so strange, me? I hope others aren't annoyed I left it unsigned.
This page worked in the opposite direction. This is the correct orientation and Sue had some paint on the right page, but not on the left, Richard Scarry page. I came up with a plan when I couldn't sleep a few nights ago and thought it was going to be easy I didn't even take a before pic.

I had this drawdown printed, (with colors slightly altered,) for my own journal. The colors matched but I also wanted to use Clare Plug's collage techniques or my version of them: I cut the draft in different-width vertical strips, turned one upside down, and staggered the positions to make it like the original draft but with a little more quirk. I added some brown music strips Sue gave me to pull some of the brown on the Scarry page. I thought I was nearly done and scanned at this stage as reference for developping a draft like this.
I stamped the five days of the week and a round, "hello, weekend" stamp in four different colors pulled from the background, and where the words were hard to read, traced the outline of the letters diligently with different colored pens. This was my plan, but the spread didn't look harmonious. So I drew vertical lines in different width with felt-tips, again picking out the colors from the background. Well!! The lines were too saturated, the color progression too rainbow-y, and because there was no focal point, the result looked like a complicated background! (And you can't see the drawdown!!)

I wanted to draw a shape repeated several times in white, but we have always had problems with white gel pens clogging up, and sure enough, the latest, with almost a full tank, wouldn't work. When in doubt, I turn to collage, so I hunted for something smallish and white.
Alas, I had a focal point, larger than I imagined, but quirky; I think the addition makes the background interesting/complex albeit still too rainbow-y, and the spread a little sparse. And Sue likes butterflies. And the collage looks "mine".  So, worth it.

This is why I find paper work fascinating. I can rework, (fix?) without making a new warp or rethreading; there is much I can add/amend/improve (or ruin) before "wet-finishing", as it were. The way I work is time-consuming, and perhaps I exercise my own but different-from-usual kind of control-freakery. The process/experience teaches me about design, composition, which I know will help when I start the freeform weaving.
And I get enjoyment and friendships out of it.

And I got two different white acrylic pens today. Take that, four wonky white gel pens!!

7 comments:

  1. Oh I love your description of your thinking process behind these spreads Meg! It is a fascinating experience working over what you gave been given/assigned/delegated ... In these Letter Journals of ours. The progress pics are great to see.

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    1. I'm so one-track-minded, Sue, if I start focusing on records/pics I'll loose my train of thought, so I try to concentrate on the process with these journals, but this second one was most interesting in that every step I made, it was a couple of steps ahead of me. Looking back I might have been a tad precious about the background and put not enough things of interest in the collage, (perhaps two skinny things sticking sideways to make a + shape??) but then I might have felt I ruined it. The hardest thing for me to know, usually with paper things, is when to stop!

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  2. I really like the spread you created and the thoughts/process around it all! I'm not sure I think so much about it but that's what makes us all unique!!

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    1. Also, it depends on our mood of the moment, doesn't it? But I am good at overthinking.

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    2. Also, because I'm new at this.

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  3. So interesting to see your process

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    1. Queen of Overthinking. The process has become somewhat less intentional of late, but not always. I think either way works for me, or doesn't, depending. LOL.

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