“You set out for church, and find yourself at the dog races….”
–Naomi Shihab Nye
A favorite material to cover my handmade journals in is artist’s canvas. I usually start with a piece big enough to cover 8-12 books, paint it all different hues blending into one another, collage a tiny bit of patterned paper (tissue, gift wrap, book pages) here and there, stamp or stencil more pattern on top (hand-cut stencils, hand-carved stamps…) and finish with a very translucent glaze of more color over it all, just to homogenize the different elements. Only then do I cut the canvas into individual pieces, and come up with some focal point to paint onto the cover of each book.
I went through this process the other day, because I sold the very last of my handbound books at a Christmas fair recently (so it’s time to make a completely new generation of journals) and I have also used up my stash of painted canvas.
Holy donuts in a gay pride parade, Batman! Here are some examples of what I came up with:
I’m not exactly UNHAPPY with the results; it’s an interesting effect, quite rich and the colors are fun…but these painted covers had me shaking my head for two reasons:
First, where and how will I add a focal point or “feature” to these already loud and busy designs?
Secondly, no one will believe me when I tell them that the plan for this next generation of journals was to go for a delicate, floral, feminine feel…I wanted to evoke bridal bouquets and fragile heirlooms, subtle perfume, lacy fabrics, love poems and Chopin nocturnes.
Instead I’ve gone and painted “Goofy Uncle Harvey goes to Maui in the Aloha Shirt from Hell”!
*sigh* Oh well…back to the drawing (and painting)board.