Friday, 17 February 2012

What I've been doing...

I usually manage to write a blog once a week, but it seems ages since I last posted.  In fact it hasn't been that long, but I have been busy.  Last weekend was a real treat when I went to Art Van Go on Saturday to see the exhibition put on by the Spectrum textile group.  Not only did I see some very high class work, eat rather delicious cakes and drink tea from pretty cups, I was able to chat to Gina.  I also met Gill of Vintage Rock Chick and Jane from Things to Make and Do.  It was especially good to meet Jane as we exchanged postcards as part of out Postman's Knock project last year.  You can see photos of the exhibition on Gina's and Gill's blogs. After a pleasant Sunday I was pole-axed on Monday with a violent headache, mainly down to sinus problems, but I seem to have spent most of this week half asleep. I have been raking around for things to share with you. 

These are colour exercises for my course


This book arrived on Tuesday so I was able to sit and have a lovely read between naps.
It is "Breaking the Rules of Watercolour" by Shirley Trevena.  There are lots of examples of her work on the web and even a couple of short videos of her talking about her techniques.

Laura Kemshall is a fan of hers and recommended her work to me.

I haven't done much this week bit I did unearth these two drawings which I must have done over fifteen years ago. They are on A2 size paper and I must say I especially like the tope one.  I had completely forgotten about it.

The second one is a sketch done of poppies which grew in my garden at the time, but have long since disappeared.

Finally I will share with you this old book I found in Letchworth some months ago. 

 I bought it to have a go at an altered book.  It is in very bad condition, but it is old.
The cover is marbled paper with a leather spine.

The spine is broken, the paper brittle and badly foxed.

However it is just seven years shy of being 200 years old.

It is Volume IV of Boswell's Life of Dr Johnson.
I have been pondering what to do with it, and what theme to take.  As I bought it from a book dealers very cheaply, I know it is not worth much, but I haven't been able to bring myself to start altering it.

I stalled for longer when I found that Doctor Johnson and his friends visited Lord Bute's garden at Luton Hoo.

Although here Dr J seems to be unimpressed with the gardens, overleaf he is quoted as saying,
"This is one of the places I do not regret having come to see. It is a very stately place, indeed; in the house magnificence is not sacrificed to convenience, nor convenience to magnificence"
I wonder if the hotel management which now runs the house has this as their motto. 
After their visit DR J's party dined and drank his Majesty's health at an inn, in the village of Luton, as it was the King's birthday!

So what shall I do with the book?  I still haven't made up my mind, but if I keep reading it, it is going to fall to bits!

I have another busy week ahead.  On Thursday I am giving a short talk to my U3A Natural History group on Bumble Bees.  I'm no expert, but I hope I can keep my group entertained for 30 minutes or so.  The BBCT have provided me with a Powerpoint presentation so that has given me a good start.
Wish me luck.
Have a great weekend


thekathrynwheel said...

You still seem to have done a lot even if you didn't feel too well. Hope you are feeling better. The vintage book looks fab and is crying out to be altered! I am sure you will come up with something gorgeous to do with it!

Jill said...

I love the comment in the book: "Is not every garden a botanical garden?" Love your color pages, too!

ju-north said...

Ooh I LOVE old books (and the smell of new ones!)and wouldn't be able to bring myself to alter them but know that you could do fantastic alterations with them! Looking forward to seeing what you are going to do!

flutterbycrafter said...

Your drawings are awesome, you certainly have an enormous talent. The books will be fab altered and I'm looking forward to seeing it progress xx

Barb Cady said...

Hope you are feeling better. Thanks for sharing your wonderful drawings and that book! My mouth watered, I love Dr Johnson's wit. I visited his house once in Gough Square in London and there is a statue of his cat Hodge in the square outside. Up on the top floor his dictionary was open at the definition of Lexicographer:
'a writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge.' One day I would love to compile a book of his sayings! Hope joy you enjoy altering this book, I'm sure he would approve. x

Printed Material said...

Hope you're feeling better Jill. Sinus pain and discomfort can make you feel really low and tired. Despite this you seem to be having lots of ideas on the go.Those drawings are inspiring and just imagine what imagery you could create in that book. I started to do one too this week but mine is only a childrens book. Even I might think twice about one as old as yours! Good luck whatever you do with it.

Menopausalmusing said...

Sleep seems to be the best thing for sinus infections, even if you want to be up and about doing other things! I am loving the fact that the book has found its way you to you Jill, it seems to be telling you that YOU were the person to finally own it and do something creative with it. What a coincidence that it should contain references to Luton Hoo...

harmony and rosie said...

You seem to be very busy at the moment and I love your sketches, goodness I wish I could draw like that!
As for the book, nearly 200 years old is going some, I think I would just keep it and look at it every so often, just like a work of art. The 1940s book of Redoute's roses I bought last year is still untouched .. I thought about dismantling it and framing the plates but I just can't bring myself to do it.
Keep well!

Amelia said...

what a GREAT old book - I would have bought that if I'd seen it. Always so much inspiration here. Hope you're well.


Anna said...

I enjoyed reading your blog and do hope you recovered quickly. I bet the colour exercises will prove useful and I liked your sketches. Look forward to seeing what happens to the book!

Emma said...

Love the second drawing, those sugestive marks of ink.

The book is lovely & needs to be used. I would sort the pages into 3 piles - they're falling apart anyway - one pile to keep in this book, paragraphs that appeal to you & or match your theme, one to use elsewhere & one to cover in gesso for use here & there. Keep the spine but maybe add 3 lines or so of gold leaf. On the front page paint a rectangle of gesso to be framed by a border of the marbled paper & the opposite on the back. Fuse the keeping pages & some gessoed pages to stronger paper, make into signatures & add leather ribbon for a closure, a tassle on a ribbon coming out from the bottom of the spine, rebind, then use for your imagination. Well, just an idea ;)

I need to find me one of these books & put my money where my mouth is!