Friday, March 28, 2008

Thoughts on Sketchbooks

Procrastinating… Ahem. Of course, I mean purposefully poking around the internet this morning, I came across several of these little videos on YouTube like the ones above of Moleskine sketchbooks. I'm not sure what the Detour Exhibition is about, but all the sketchbooks are wonderful to look at. While you're over at YouTube, do check them out. They're inspiring me to get serious about my sketchbooks again. Lately, it's been much more of a journal full of words, words, words. I'd much rather it was full of little gems of form and color like these, with only occasional pages of words.

Which made me think about what kinds of sketchbooks I like to use, and for what purposes. Though I really like the idea of having one sketchbook that serves many needs, I always seem to have several going at one time. I have a basic spiral notebook where I jot down notes and to do lists and occasionally journal. I have a ruled Moleskine in which I keep lists of books I've read and to be read, and words, and this is the notebook I head to when I get the rare urge to write a poem. I have a 5"x7" basic hardbound sketchbook (shrinking down from my usual 8 1/2"x 11" book in the hopes that it would feel more portable) that I'd planned to use as my primary sketchbook but has turned into a journal with only a few pages of drawings scattered throughout. Then I have a tiny Moleskine-like blank page sketchbook (about 2"x3") that I always have with me to capture visions and ideas for paintings.

I think it might be the size and shape of the 5"x7" book that's bothering me. It's a bit awkward. It doesn't feel right in my hands. The Moleskines feel just wonderful when I hold them, no matter the size. So, even though they're a bit pricey, I think I might have to splurge a bit in order to have a book I like working with.

What kind of sketchbooks/notebooks do you prefer? How do you use them?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Creating Easter Altarpiece

In the comments to my last post about Easter and the Easter altarpiece I designed, Andrea asked if I could post about how we went about creating it. So, here goes.

The first step is to come up with a design. I was pretty stumped this year (due to the big burnout) until another member of the arts committee prompted me with a word - shekhinah - which basically (and simplistically) means the glory of God. And suddenly I had an image of a cross, radiating light.

I already knew we were going to do paper lace again, so I figured out how to get the design to work on 3 panels of paper, each 3 feet wide by 14 feet tall. I drew it out on 8 1/2"x 11" paper, then copied it onto a transparency.

Our time was limited, so I decided to get the design transferred onto the paper before the committee got together to do the cutting. Using an overhead projector, a wall, tape, and a ladder, I got it transferred. Not an easy task to do by oneself, but not too awful.

The next day the committee set to with x-acto knives and cut out the design in about 2-3 hours. The design was much simpler than last year's, which took about a month of Saturdays to draw and cut out.

The frustrating part came the day we were attaching the tissue paper (I don't have any photos of this). Cutting out the shapes and figuring out what colors should go where was fun, but the adhering part… We had decided to use spray adhesive, thinking it might be easiest, but it proved mostly be aggravating. We used white glue to glue it to the 1x2s that attach it to the bar we "fly" the panels from, and to glue metal washers onto the bottoms of the panels so it would hang well. Started setting up about 9am, and didn't leave until about 3pm, covered in adhesive and in a very foul mood.

After services on Good Friday it was time to install the altarpiece. This is when we found out that a lot of the tissue paper was coming unglued, so the scotch tape came out and we all did our best to reattach them. And the process of hanging was fraught with heart-stopping moments when I thought I heard tearing sounds. (Hanging the canvas altarpieces is so much easier - much more sturdy.) And then once it was up we realized the middle panel was crooked so it had to come down again, and more tissue paper had to be reattached once we got it straight. Anyway, finally, it was installed. And it looked wonderful!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Altarpiece 2008

I hope everybody had a very joyful Easter Sunday. I know I did. This is my third Easter season at Church of the Redeemer, and the second Easter altarpiece I've designed (you can see last year's altarpiece here and here). This year we (the arts committee) decided to add some color to the paper lace design using tissue paper. Turned out to be a very frustrating process, but once the art was installed, it turned out to be so worth all the aggravation.

There were other frustrations as well, largely due to the unusually early appearance of Easter this year. But the biggest frustration was actually me. I had been suffering through some big time burnout issues in regards to my role in the arts committee for months, and was beginning to question whether I'd be able to go on with it once this liturgical year came to an end. This was making me cranky, to put it mildly, and made completing the Easter art that much more difficult. Lent passed with me barely noting it, and Holy Week ended up feeling like such a chore, instead of being the powerfully spiritual journey that I know it can be.

But I'm very happy to report that the Holy Spirit was definitely moving at our Easter Vigil on Saturday night, and I feel all sorts of refreshed now. I feel truly inspired (to breathe life into) and I've got all sorts of ideas for next liturgical year's art. Thanks be to God!

In a few weeks we'll be starting on art for Pentecost and I'm really looking forward to it. :)

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Surprise hail storm hit yesterday afternoon. Came down hard for about 5-10 minutes, then turned to rain.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Oceano, acrylic/collage on canvas, 24"x 24", ©2008 SOLD!

I completed this painting today. Inspired by thoughts of the ocean: its depth, its power, its mystery. Also inspired by similar thoughts of the cosmos, and a half remembered photo of a really cool fossil. Felt really good working on it, and I love how the colors and the texture turned out. I could stare at it all day.

Oceano, detail