how altering books keeps me from burning my canvases

My altered books are a springboard to greater projects.  I don’t know how many books I’m working on at any given time.  I don’t know if/when they are finished.  I just know that they are an essential part of my artistic process.  Art journaling is my unleashing activity, my creative catalyst.

A canvas, however, feels riskier.  It’s on an easel.  It’s white.  Or even if it’s not white, I paid money for it, and it has a certain intimidating stature.  It probably has a deadline attached to it, will require a title and a dreaded artist statement to be written about it, and all that pressure is a certain way to shut down the creative process.

In contrast, the art book was free.  It is not for exhibit, not for sale, not under time constraints, unhindered by theme, and so the work comes entirely from the heart and the creative soul.  It needs no title or artist statement.  I can burn it if I want to.  But usually, the altered books turn out wonderfully, and it is the canvas that I want to burn.

Here are a few recent altered book layouts …

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You are seeing them in-progress, as I will add more color to this one, and a bit of fabric to that one, paint over the top of another, and so on.  Mixed media is an ever-evolving artistic process that wanders and weaves its’ way through.  My job as artist is to keep pushing and challenging myself until I see something wonderful and amazing start to happen.  Half the art is the making; the other half is knowing when to stop.

Now back to those canvases …

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eye candy on my alice in wonderland table

As I’m working on the artwork to be installed at Alki Elementary, I’m enjoying spending some time in the studio with the children’s artworks.  (Over 1000 artworks!)  When you’re in the throws of teaching a class, you have only brief bits of time to appreciate and comment on all of the beauty happening around you.  Working in the studio is different.  You spend time looking.  Really looking closely.  It’s what us artists love to do, feast with our eyes.  If art is the feast, then surely children’s art is eye candy.

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The panel is 36″ x 36″.  I thought you might enjoy seeing it on top of my Alice in Wonderland table.  (No, you don’t get to see that until it’s finished.)

I’ve cut out some of the children’s artworks and am playing with layouts on the board.

When I started cutting out letters, I didn’t plan to be left with this really cool scrap of paper ….  I like it even better than the letters!  This is why I love art so much.  The surprises.

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