Archive for July, 2012

I completed my Book of Hours last week, but am just now getting a few minutes to post it.

I created a cover with 140lb cold-pressed watercolor paper.  On the outside I used washed watercolors and threw on some salt to make the colors move.  Then I painted the inside with gold acrylic and edged the outside with gold also.

Book of Hours Outside Cover — watercolor, ink, acrylic

When everything was dry I accordion-folded the long painting into “pages” and scored each fold with a bone folder.  I attached the first and last pages to the cover with matte medium and also attached ribbon for a closure by wedging it beneath a gold triangle of watercolor paper.  The ribbons wrap around in opposite directions to tie in the front.  I wasn’t happy with the lettering on the front, so it’s not a bad thing that the ribbons cover most of it.

Book of Hours — Inside

Book of Hours — Closure attachment

Book of Hours — Completed Front

Book of Hours — Completed Back

The book is very small — 3″ x 5″ index card size so it fits in the palm of my hand, reminding me of the small illuminated prayer books that people in the middle ages are said to have carried.

My next project is going to be a prayer box modeled on a layered paper box in “Adventures in Mixed Media” by Jane Davies.

I’m not sure when I’ll get to start it, though, as I’m working on repairing a quilt I made nearly thirty years ago for my daughter that has now begun to rip and show a lot of wear.  Repair-work is my least favorite kind of project, so it will probably take me a while.  Maybe I’ll reward myself with the prayer box project when I’m finished.


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I’ve completed the painting of the pages for my Book of Hours.  It’s looks a little Disney-ish to me, and the flowers and leaves aren’t very realistically shaded.  But I have to keep reminding myself that I really don’t know much about watercolor, and this was not supposed to be such an intensive project.  It was supposed to be done in a couple hours not a few weeks.

Here are some pictures.  One of the whole and some close-ups.  What comes next is lettering my haiku prayers onto each page.  Then I need to make a cover for the book and score the accordion folds in place and put the whole thing together.  I doubt I’ll manage that all this week, but maybe by the end of next week.

Oops!  I haven’t used wordpress in a while and they’ve changed a lot of the ways you post photos and stuff so I just accidentally posted a picture on a different posting.  I’ll see if I can get them all on this post now.  ImageImageImageImageImage

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Book of Hours--Background Painting

Book of Hours — Background Painting

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I’m continuing to work on my Book of Hours, and this is where it gets complicated because I want to do it in watercolors, but know next to nothing about working with watercolor.  I took a techniques class a gazillion years ago and have dabbled a little bit off and on, but have never had real instruction and don’t even know how to properly prepare the paper.

Nevertheless, it’s the media I wanted to use, so I’m doing it.  Probably all wrong, but what do I know?

I measured my paper a little larger on the long sides than I need so I can trim it off later.  The length is the exact length of the paper, so I’ll have to touch up the taped edges when I’m finished.  I’m thinking metallic gold.

I wanted a kind of rainbow effect with movement from dark of midnight to bright of noon and back to night again, so I’ve done a sort of modified wash of colors across the paper, leaving white the spaces for the flowers, leaves and buds that will be added in later.  I think this is how you’re supposed to do water color backgrounds–first rather than later.  But again, it’s a guess.  Also, some of the flowers–the moonflowers–will be white and I know that the best way to get white in painting is to leave white ground rather than try to white paint over colored paint.

I’ve used my old standard of tossing on some salt to create cool background texture.  I’m going to have to learn some new techniques, though, if I’m going to keep doing this, because the salt trick is getting old.

So, here’s where I am so far:

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I’m working on creating a Book of Hours for an on-line class I’m taking through The Abbey of the Arts called “The Way of the Monk, The Path of the Artist.”  The assignment was to write a haiku for each of the hours of prayer for the day that are enumerated in The Rule of Benedict.  Once that was done, we were invited to create a personal “book of hours” incorporating them.

I wanted to do an accordion-style handmade book with watercolor.  I also wanted it to be very small and simple.

Here’s my start.

I’m not especially skilled or practiced in watercolor, so I’m doing some practicing first to make sure I don’t mess it up.  I also made a prototype of the accordion book with 3 x 5-inch cards.  That’s the size each page will be when finished, although I plan to use a long strip of watercolor paper.

I’m hoping to get to finishing the book later this week.

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