Tag Archives: book arts

The Sketchbook Project

CoverIts been a year since Black Thumb Art closed its Oregon studio. We traveled to the East Coast, Egypt, and Turkey before relocating in Spokane. While the new charcoal studio is being built, I’ve been working with different media and processes.

miracle 3

For several years I’ve collected photos from the sports section of the local newspaper; images that remind me of religious Mannerist paintings with their twisting figures, mouths agape, and heavenward glances.  Before moving, I scanned and printed several of these photos onto paper.  I’ve been experimenting with them since, layering opaque watercolor (gouache) and gold leaf over the images.Two Saints

Recently I used this process in a book I submitted to The Sketchbook Project, part of the permanent collection at the Brooklyn Art Library and one of the largest collections of sketchbooks in the world.

My book, Angels in Egypt, has been chosen to be part of The Sketchbook Project’s Mobile Library tour this summer.  You can check it out (literally) if you are in one of the tour cities, beginning this weekend in Chicago’s Millennium Park.  The tour ends August 28th, back in New York at the Whitney Museum.  Here is a link to the full tour schedule.Mobile library, 4000 books

 

If you can’t make it to one of these cities, Here is a link to the scanned version of Angels in Egypt.

 

 

"Angels in Egypt" pages 19-20

“Angels in Egypt” pages 19-20. Colored pencils, Gelly Roll and Micron Pigma pens.

Scanned pic from the Corvallis Gazette Times.

Scanned pic from the Corvallis Gazette Times

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Contour line ritual

I started several drawing projects during last month’s residency Artists @ Work. While most of these drawings involved charcoal, I had one daily ritual that required clean hands.

Every morning I began the work day with a blind contour line drawing. Using a fine point marker on square sheets of paper, I drew what I saw in front of me with a continuous line, moving around and across the surfaces of objects, architectural structures, and people.

          

-list from illustrator Tim Dose

What makes these drawings quirky (some would say ugly) is the “blind” part of this process. Here are the rules: Do not look at your paper, only at the objects you’re drawing. Start at the edge of the paper and move slowly along observed contours, with your hand and eyes working in tandem. Do not stop or lift the pen until you run off the edge of the paper.

My goal was to create a 2-D representation of the 3-D space and a record of our residency, by beginning and ending at the same point. Instead, I started with the piano in the southeastern corner of the building and ended with Hester at the computer, in the northeastern corner. I spent too much time hung up on the ceiling.

I’m now in the process of connecting the 19 sheets in an accordion format. Using a sewing machine with white thread, I’m having fun linking the pages together with sewn/drawn shapes that describe what I can remember of the space – windows, podiums, a ladder, etc.

Friends and fellow resident artists Gale and Julia joined me for a group blind sketch: 

Mike Bergen's drawing of Carol

 

Un-speak-able Book Arts Exhibit

 

The national juried exhibit
Un-speak-able opened last week at The Arts Center in Corvallis, Oregon. A year ago I submitted the idea of an artist book show to the Center’s Exhibition Committee during their Request for Proposals, 2011 season.  Several committee members shared my interest in the art form, and in hosting their first exhibit of book arts.

The 64 books in this show present a wide range of shapes and forms: altered books, bindings, unique pieces, samples of small editions, calligraphed books, and conceptual work.

My thanks to the Center’s curator Hester Coucke for inviting me to work with her on this show; our juror Barbara Tetenbaum, Professor and Book Arts Department Head at the Oregon College of Art and Craft; and the 48 book artists who graciously share their creations with the community.

Here are a few of my snapshots from the opening. To view complete descriptions and high-quality images of all Un-speak-able entries visit this link at The Arts Center.