I had seven days to create a book. Here you followed a work in progress. We were going to see if in a week I had a finished product. for Sketchbook Project 2013. If not – zilch. Today is the day I must have it in the mail going to Brooklyn, New York. The book isn’t finished , but I wouldn’t say I have zilch. There are some interesting pairings happening. I have the beginning of an Artists’ Book. Right now it is a traditional 7″ x 10″ codex book. But the opportunities for change are endless. Check out this website about Artists’ Books. http://www.philobiblon.com/isitabook/bookarts/index.html
The book was going to be titled, Chairs, but now I’m thinking the title will be Sit. I’ll probably add some text, maybe just a few adverbs thrown in. The readers will be the ones to interpret the book’s contents. It may be a one-of-a-kind Artists’ Book or a small edition of 30. The structure of the book will probably stay the same. Maybe I’ll make a small edition of Sit just xeroxing the contents, binding it or stapling it together in order to sell it on Amazon.com for a very reasonable price.
After trimming about 50 images and putting together the beginnings of a book I realized I’m not following the rules. I’m supposed to be making a sketchbook, not an Artists Book of photographs.
(click on image to enlarge)
I had some fun with pairings, like I had the fidgety young monks sketched in Simtokha Bhutan next to a photograph of a Buddha I had taken in Las Vegas.
Chairs or sitting seems to be the subject matter. I could draw one hundred chairs. I’ve got a lot of drawing to do. Maybe I take out the photoraphs and intermingle new chair drawings with past sketches. That wayI could go around the world while sitting in my chair at home.
When I come home from a trip, I usually spend a couple of years painting and making art pieces about my impressions of that country. Inspiration for this oil painting came from our time in Paro at the Buddhist Tsechu festival honoring Guru Rinpoche born from a lotus flower. Dances are performed by monks wearing ornate costumes and fantastic masks. The four story high Thangka scroll or Tongdrol is unfurled at a certain time according to the Bhutaneselunar calendar. When we were there, the time was three o’clock in the morning. The area was packed, everyone was dressed up in their finest ghos and kiras; the women wore brocade jackets from China. The children were all awake, but no babies were crying. People were buying and selling, camping, eating and viewing the 250 year old silk appliquéd thangka. It is there for viewing for only a few hours before being rolled up and taken away until the following year. Click on painting to see it bigger.
‘Dance of the Drum Beater’ oil on canvas 42″ x 42″ 2002
Paintings on handmade paper from Bhutan, Saunders waterford paper, Arches 90 wt. paper, rice paper, gouache, watercolor, pen and ink, Caran d’ache crayons, bamboo, prayer pages, postages stamps, Xerox from traditional school of art in Thimphu, woodblock print, silver rubbing wax, graphite, fabric, color xerox, transfer prints.
One morning I took a taxi up the hill to see Mynak Tulku, the archivist at the National Library in Thimphu. He wasn’t there so I spent hours between the stacks painting all alone. Manuscripts are imprinted using wood blocks. The prayers are printed or written on long strips of handmade paper. These are stacked between two pieces of wood and are wrapped in brilliantly colored cloth or in silk cloth held together with a leather thong. When I was hungry and tired I packed up and went hunting for the exit. All the lights were turned off. There was no one in the building. I wondered if they would come back after lunch or if they were closed until the next day. I had no phone with me. Deciding I’d better find an alternative way to get out I checked windows and any other possible exits. No luck, so I went back to the huge tall main door, went up to it and unlocked it, pushed and it opened quite easily. I was out in the bright sunshine, still all alone. So I started walking down the hill, eventually finding Thimphu. Click on the image to see the transfer print and sample of traditional textiles used for Bhutanese clothing.
After buying a gift of sugar and powdered milk, my friend took me to her mother’s home to meet her family. A taxi drove us outside of town where we were dropped off near an old wood bridge; someone was giving the bridge a new coat of paint. It was a beautiful day. Peach trees were in blossom Player flags on high poles were fluttering in the breeze. We walked the rest of the way past water fountains, past pigs and a cow in bamboo pens, past hunting dogs tied up in front of a home and past clothes hung up in the sunshine. Looking ahead of me, sitting up on top of a hill, was Karma’s mother and sister traditionally dressed with their black hair cut in the traditional style. Not having a telephone, they didn’t know we were coming. I was offered yak butter tea or tea with milk and sugar and maze, “corn picked, fried and pounded.”
After tea my friend took me into a beautifully decorated prayer room which, among other things, had a photograph of the Dalai Lama, an altar and a cabinet filled with twelve holy books collected between carved boards, wrapped in orange cloth with blue, orange and gold ribbons. The older ones were made up of pages of calligraphy wrapped in silk and tied with a silken ribbon or leather. The classification system consists of tiny satin flags, color coded to match subjects. I painted with my friend’s three year old niece. She was shy, but I gave her a few crayons and paper. In a few minutes she was drawing, too.
They didn’t know I was coming, but my friend’s sister had prepared a full meal. We ate in the livingroom with her mother, sister and niece. The meal consisted of red rice, spinach, cheese potatoes cooked with onions and chilis, pork and green ferns from the forest. I asked how they had prepared our meal since they didn’t know I was coming. They grow their own potatoes. The rest of the meal was prepared from dried foods they had in their home,
I’m working on three other scrolls, playing around with ideas.
Or this? I’m thinking of having a scroll that, when opened, transparent delicate pieces would hang loosely from the surface. Maybe I’ll attach the paper with thread. Glue or wax would be too rigid. I’d like to be able to take a scroll out and hang it in a place where the sun would shine through showing the transparency of the waxed areas and use of mulberry paper. Click on images. You will be able to see the audience at the Paro Dzong watching a 250 year old silk appliquéd thangka being unfurled.
I use a wood box-like form to hold the paper off the floor before I apply the hot wax. When I first started experimenting with wax I painted right on the floor. Not a good thing. The hot wax and paper adhered firmly to the floor! This scroll is about 60 inches long. The materials I used were watercolor, gold fluid acrylic, bleached beeswax 100% pure domestic imported from Germany, sumi ink, and pastels on mulberry paper. The ‘Precious horse’ and linear areas around it was done first, using hot wax. When the paper was dry I applied watercolor which filled up all the untouched paper – the wax stopped the pigment creating a batik. (click on image to see it larger)
The Wind Horse, shown on the the imprint of a prayer flag is a luck-bringing symbol. This horse can bring good luck, life force, health, influence and merit. On his back is the Flaming Jewel, a spiritual warrior, capable of fulfilling all wishes. The spiritual warrior is carried past the many obstacles leading into the sacred world. The word for Wind Horse (Lungta) has come to mean luck.
I found the wood block in Thimpu, when I was snooping around the shops near the contemporary art school. Using printers ink, and stamps on mulberry paper I made up some small pieces. I started to make an limited edition of five Artist’s Books on mulberry paper. They are scrolls about 62″ high. Now there are only four. I tore up one last week while working on an idea. The torn pieces may be incorporated in the finished product. This print shown above may be added to one of the scrolls. It’s a work in progress. (As usual click on the image to see it bigger)