Would You Download a Free Artists’ e-Book?


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.

Would you download a free Artists’ eBook?

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Moushrabiyas, Picasso and the Red Line – Morocco, Spain and California


New version of ‘Rolled’ – unfinished   click on image to enlarge

Paintings evolve. Sometimes painters work on a painting for years. Picasso did. Going back to the studio I looked at the painting ‘Rolled ‘ which I thought was finished.  It’s so dark ! I can’t see the variations in color! All shapes are the same size! Auughh It needs work. So I started to paint. One stroke changes the painting. Another stroke needs to be done. I turn the canvas in a different direction.  I looked at  ‘Ghost  Horse’ and thought, how can I relate this canvas to that one? On paper I sketched my hand, foot and elbow, cut out the shapes and pinned them on the canvas. (I know, I’m not supposed to puncture the canvas with holes according to the old rules) Now I have to integrate the bigger shapes. The red line needs to be stronger. Well, maybe it is ok……


One of my blogger friends looked at this painting . His response was To be honest, I don’t really get paintings, esp. illustrative, abstract  paintings. It is nice to get into the mind of a painter. Er? Any hint … interpretation? I’m totally dense.
OK . You have challenged me! You are from S. California so you probably swim in the ocean. Ever get rolled by a wave when you are in the ocean and don’t know which way is up? So if you look at that painting, on the lower right just above the red line you will see a little white paint shaped like me falling legs and arms up with curved back, If you look around the painting you see bits of blue sky The painting or ocean is dark with flashes of light. all kinds of shapes, fish, kelp, water swirling maybe you get slammed against a rock and get a flash of pain (red line). So my painting is how I felt when I got rolled. Or how I felt with some situation going on in my life. How I felt in my head.
Abstract painting is like interpreting jazz. Abstract painting is made up of variations of color, form, line, texture, space. It’s how the painter feels. How does Branford Marsalis feel when he plays his saxophone? He makes that instrument talk using variations of sound. How do you feel when you respond to these abstract music rhythms and sounds?
Squint your eyes when you look at a landscape. It reduces your ‘picture’ to basic shapes, color, line, texture, space.

‘Zellig’ by Carla Trefethen Saunders available on Amazon.com

This painting has many layers. It started out in the year 2000. The painting was about how I felt about moushrabiyas. In Morocco, in strict Islamic tradition, moushrabiyas or intricately carved geometrical screens were designed to keep Muslim women hidden from view. These screens on balconies and windows allowed women to observe their surroundings without themselves being seen. I was told they were to protect the women from men’s eyes. As a western woman I interpreted that as taking away women’s rights. Our world is in a turmoil when it comes to the issue of women’s rights.

Zellig, an Artist’s Book – Morocco

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In Morocco, moushrabiyas or geometrical screens keep Muslim women hidden from view. These screens allow women to observe their surroundings without themselves being seen.

When making an Artists’ Book with this beautiful young lady, I asked her in sign language if she had some scissors. She took me to her room where she flicked on the TV. A static zig zag pattern filled the screen. The room was set up for her family, three outfits hung on rope across one corner of the room. We tore the sheet of paper, folded it and sewed it together with a piece of thread we found. I wondered what this girls’ future was going to be. This idea was the impetus for my book.  Zellig, also spelled Zellige, is a collage of patterns making up the tile decoration in Morocco. When making the book I used a collage of my work made up of my poems, paintings, drawings and photography.

Iris printing, on Somerset 175 gram soft white, by Urban Digital Color.

Typography and letterpress printing by Norman Clayton One Heart Press.

A limited edition of twenty copies and three artists proofs
Bound by John DeMerritt, Emeryville.
Copyright by Carla Trefethen Saunders
San Francisco, California 2000 $750.00

Zellig   2000

Limited edition of 20 with 4 artist’s proofs

Letterpress, iris prints, vellum UV Ultra 11 white, Somerset 175 gram soft white,

Rives heavyweight buff and Lamili Lokta paper

Images and poems by the artist

Original drawing

8 x 8 inches

This book is in the following collections:

F.W. Olin Library, Special Collections, Mills College
Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, Artist’s Book Collection, La Jolla, California
Private Collections
Zellig is for sale on Amazon.com

The Fortune Teller – Morocco

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Snake charmers, food venders, jewelry sellers, a dentist and other people filled Djemma el Fna, a large open space in Marrakech. One night a man, someone said he was a fortune teller,  was speaking to a large group of men. He cleared a space for me to join the circle. Someone threw a rug on the dusty ground. I sat and sketched by the light of a kerosene lamp. Drawings made that night were preliminary studies for five foot oil paintings I produced in my studio when I returned home.

Jardin Majorelle – Marrakech Morocco

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Original sketches on arches 140wt. Rives BFK

Xerox and ink jet on vellum, watercolor

Caran d’ache crayons, pen and ink, gouache, dry pigment from Morocco,

Original poems by the artist

Accordion 8 x 8 inches opens up to 8 x 80 inches


Painting with a Little Girl Near Ait Benhaddou – Morocco

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Bundle of Sticks 23″ x 23″ oil on canvas 1998

While I sketched sitting by a wide, dried up river bed, I looked at the entrance to the Sahara desert. Across the riverbed was the Kasbah, Ait Benhaddou. I watched a small girl make a wide arc around me. On her back she carried a bundle of sticks. The bundle was bigger than she was. After awhile, she put down her sack and very slowly made her way over to me. We ended up making Artists’ Books using torn pieces of paper and paint. I taught her how to paint and how to use a paint brush.

Will I Find the Uniqueness of Me?

My strongest summer memory

A self portrait as I wish I was

A jungle at night

Two cats fighting

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For ten days I’ll be painting with a small group picked by Leigh Hyams. By working hard and trying the unfamiliar, like painting with dirt, flower petals, whatever, we will be working towards finding our individual uniqueness. Look inside Leigh’s Artist’s Books on her website.  http://www.artsreal.com/ You are in for a treat.

On our first day we are to bring in four drawings which I have labeled. How will I be drawing and painting in ten days? I’ve worked with her before so I know there will be a jump in my ability to create work that is authentic to me. I’ll let you know how it turns out when I get back. For now, I’m about to plunge in to some heavy duty soul searching. I have ten whole days just to think about and make art. Until then, check in on my blog. I’ll be showing my paintings, artist’s books and drawings created in Morocco.

Rainbow Found on Capitol Hill Reminded me of Marrakech

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The sun was shinning in Seattle and color was popping up everywhere. A friend stopped to say hello to us. She was in city dark clothing, but her arms cradled two large bunches of spring flowers and she had bright pink shoes on! Window boxes, filled with perfect red tulips, were placed under the police station. The building was painted a marvelous jewel tone blue. It reminded me of Yves St. Laurent’s garden in Morocco. His house was painted majorelle blue.  A lemon tree dripping with bright yellow lemons was in the foreground. The pots for plants were painted bright colors. A little green frog chirped in the  pond.

red: life
orange: healing
yellow: sunlight
green: nature
indigo/blue: serenity/harmony
violet: spirit