Can I start by showing my latest creation?

Monet art journal

It’s been eight years since I made any personal art journals. By make I mean, I cut (or tear) larger sheets of paper into book-sized pages, cut matboard covers and cover them with decorative paper, punch a bajillion holes in the pages and covers (a scary process after all that precise and lovely work), and then bind them with double O binding wires. I’m totally excited to be back in business!

This latest journal is my practice, get-my-feet-wet-again piece. The cover is 6.25″ x 6.25″ and the pages are 6″ square (roughly) drawing paper. The back cover features a different (somewhat less-attractive) painting by Monet. Usually the covers match, but I only had one print of each of these paintings. Though it’s always a bit of a tragedy to cut down a painting, I think it turned out very nice.

Back cover (I just noticed it’s upside down. Sheesh!)

Inside pages

Some of my earlier journals have watercolor paper for their pages. I generally tear these sheets because I like the look of a deckle edge. It also masks the imprecision in the page sizes but truly, overall, the torn edges have a much more artistic look to them.

Artist books made by Sue

Things I love about these books, as opposed to commercial offerings, is that I can make them any size I want. If I tear a 22″ x 30″ piece of watercolor paper into different sized pages, I can make a book to fit them. It’s a great way to use up my scraps. Some of the books even have different sized pages in them. They all have a variety of watercolor paper brands (Arches, Fabriano Uno, Fabriano Artistico, Winsor & Newton, Lanaquarelle, Stonehenge, etc.) and a variety of paper finishes (cold press, hot press, soft press, and rough). It’s so much more fun than always anticipating the same old thing and it gives me a chance to figure out what I like best about each paper. I never worry about keeping my pages in order by date. If I feel like painting on hot press but cold press is the next page up, I just turn over a few pages till I find what I want.

The variety of covers makes it easy to remember which book I’m working in or to find a particular book if I’m looking for it later.

Yesterday I ran across this fun, fun, fun book I’d completely forgotten about.

Doodle art scrap book

Its pages are ordinary cardstock. Apparently I made it to be an artistic scrapbook. (The other books are for drawing, painting, and journaling.) When I was teaching art classes, I did A LOT of doodling. I didn’t usually have an opportunity to work on my own paintings during class, but often drew quick sketches on pieces of scratch paper. (If you’re like I am, you do some of your best art work on scratch paper.) While the kids were busy, I’d continue messing around with my doodles and often felt regret that I didn’t have a place to display the nice parts of the scratch paper. (Of course I saved everything.)

Art class doodles destined for pages in the book

More of the same

I also used these pages for rubber stamp tryout pages. I own A LOT of stamps and haven’t stamped more than a few . . . hundred . . . of them. Looks like this book was meant to be a place to try them all out.

Doodling and testing rubber stamps

More of the same

My personal journals could tell me for sure, but I’m not sure when (or why) I stopped teaching classes; I’m guessing around 2010. That’s when most of my artwork seems to have stopped. I forgot all about this book. Forgot about making more art books. Spent less time in the studio (saved on heating expenses). It was four years before I started pin loom weaving, then spinning yarn, then rigid heddle weaving . . .

I still like to—have to—do art. Almost all of my little handmade books are full. Time for the next generation.

Pretty covers and beautiful blank pages, here I come . . .

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