Last Daze of Summer is the most recent artist book from the Alexander’s Library series. Today it’s turning cold, I still have zinnias blooming, and many figs to pick and dry. The longing for summer still lingers. Sometimes I remember to photograph the steps as the project progresses. Read on to learn about this one.
The first stage involves making a painting on paper 22 x 30″, in this case my favorite, Arches Cover. It’s a printmaking paper that takes wet and dry media well, without buckling like watercolor paper. I spent a long time painting the flowers from imagination, with the idea to use every red paint and pencil because I associate red with the summer season. The violet shade is “Rose of Ultramarine” (don’t you love that name?) by Daniel Smith. Other names I love are Organic Vermillion, Alizarin Crimson, Rose Madder, not just “red”. As with much of my other work, I paint the streamers to represent celebrations. Leaves are just starting to fall.
The work always begins with writing on one side of the sheet. The words are written in a continuous script without lifting the pen and without dotting “i”s or crossing “t”s. For this book I also wrote my invented language scripts. I used all my red fountain pen inks, knowing when wet, they would smear; let’s get more red! J. Herbin Anniversary 1670, Diamine Coral and Pelikan Vermillion. The layout takes some planning, as I have a general idea of where the sheet will be torn and folded.
After I tear the sheet into eight parts, I begin to paint on each section. Then I collage the botanicals, in this case fig leaves and zinnia petals. The last step is to draw the shadows using graphite.
Then I decide the order of the pages and sew four signatures. Finally, I weave the binding to put it together as a book.
It’s important for me to make notes about the process as a reference in case I want to repeat a certain style. I’ve written several posts about this, like “Seeing From Both Sides”. I’m looking forward to talking more on this subject at the Open Studio in a couple of weeks.