Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Continental Sketchbook Pages

prelude to creativity
We are already over half-way through our 'Continental Journey' and my planned altered-book page-layouts have yet to see the light of day! The schedule on this press familiarisation tour simply does not allow sufficient time for 'incidentals' such as creating journals - but then, there is no reason that it should; each one of us on this trip has individual needs and reasons for being here. So as we undertake our guided tours, I have had three things to consider: a) that to be creative, you need time; b) when on guided tours you cannot take the images you may need later; and c) you need to be able to capture the atmosphere of any place almost instantaneously; first impressions are critical.

tentative experimenting
Therefore I have had to adapt. It's hard to write my usual 'word whispers' - or even the sort of notes that will be meaningful - when you are listening to a tour guide, so I found myself instead taking speedy reference photos for location, shape and colour, and to act as a trigger when back at home for the sort of pages that are in my mind. We are here to work, of course, so I always have my 6" x 8" (A5) leather-bound travel notebook open in my hand, and my waterproof gel pen. The book is not heavy and is sufficiently sturdy to lay open unsupported against my arm. I can make notes whilst I listen (which may not be about what the guide is actually talking about!) - and then I found myself making marks that were not words.

My sketchbook had begun. Actually not true sketching, but marks that are meaningful to me. I have never done anything like this before; never tried to sketch without thinking, as quickly as I would write. Always been fearful of what to include and where to start, and afraid of looking silly whilst doing it, and stupid when the results were not as they should be. 

And NEVER, EVER do I draw people! But my confidence grew - and this became a daily activity, and I cannot now imagine being without it. Of course, this is all mixed up with my travel-work notes, so I what I actually drew cannot be used in its present form.

To transfer them from notebook to pages involves photographing and manipulating them, and then printing on very fine tissue paper, or possibly lens tissue conservation paper. I'm not sure, but whatever paper I select, it has to be sufficiently transparent when applied with matte medium for the 'altered-page' background to still be visible. And it will have to be printed or photocopied using toner and not inkjet inks. For the latter smudge when watercolour paint is applied - and I will want to colour the images; my gel pen does not bleed if I allow the ink to dry. I've also been buying napkins (much cheaper over here, but then they are actually made in Germany) and I have also bought a string of wooden beads for embellishing the fabric backing. So quite what will materialise I do not now know.

sketching near the top of a mountain
(height seems to have affected ink)
So the whole project may well metamorphasize into something quite different to what I had visualised. I want to keep the original idea of my altered page backgrounds (see last post) but add collage, layers, and now these sketches. I want to meld each and every surface with acrylic wax and bind them into covers cut from stiff bags we have been given by various tourist organisations. The pages need to be interleaved to make them stiff, so pellet-vilene and stitching will probably be a part of the finished journal.

And now I am sitting writing this on a magnificent campsite near Augsburg, Bavaria. We have been looked after superbly at Lech Camping. The owner speaks perfect English which has been helpful for me as I do not speak German. Facilities are excellent: today I washed and dried clothes (instructions in English), showered - cubicles put the English equivalent to shame, attended to other chores, watched a red squirrel, collected seeds from a sycamore, walked to the local supermarket, have eaten breakfast and lunch also. And just to be sitting in the open air catching up on what I have been waiting to post for over a week is all the more special. I should have been on a motorhome factory visit!

P.S. WiFi is struggling to cope with long posts, so I won't add the rest of the sketches. I think that if you double-click on any image you will see it at a larger size and will be able to read the text. Apologies for poor photography - and I don't know if the system will present the blog page as it should.

1 comment:

  1. I am loving your posts and hearing how you think. Funny how your muse is directing you in different ways than you planned.