Monday, November 9, 2015


Finally finished another book. As seems to be usual for these book paintings, this one had a surprise variable--the cover seemed to be coated, maybe with the mounting varnish or glue, but it was slippery so paint did not stick very well. The solution was to let every coat dry thoroughly, so that made for glacial speed progress. This is the first one of this series that didn't have a critter on it but I enjoyed just painting an object and the design challenge that the leaf shape presented. It's always fun to figure out how to fill a space with a good balance of negative and positive shapes. Also, making a simple object visually interesting. I chose to employ dramatic lighting instead of my usual modus operandi which would have been to do a botanical-type leaf study.

My friend Mary Brent that I did this for, is a writer and Kudzu Rising is the title of her as yet unpublished novel so I thought she would enjoy springing this on someone as if it had been published. A lot of painstaking work goes into each part of these painted books, but the final product is always rewarding.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Marv's Book

More book cover art! I'm having a great time doing these…a whole lot of work, but a very rewarding product when it's finished. I used a book that had a smooth cardboard cover for this painting and didn't really like working on it until about halfway through. It's not nearly as forgiving as canvas and really shows up the lines from my carbon transfer paper but once some paint is down, it's a nice surface to work on. But it has no texture whatsoever. Canvas takes washes much better and allows for a less precise technique but fuzzes out details. The smooth surface is superb for small details. So basically I just have to adapt to whatever surface I'm using. Doing type is becoming a real eye-crosser. I used to really be into it but now I'm not really liking doing something that requires so much control. There's many steps of back and forth adjusting--an edge of a letter might be too short so I add some length and make the corner too high so then I have to come back to cut then corner down and cut off too much so I have to add more again to clean up the corner. That kinda stuff makes me grind me teeth. But it's done and I know Marv will be pleased. After I began painting this book cover I was looking for books for my next projects and came across a marriage manual for newly engaged couples. It had a section on--the birds and the bees! Funny that any young adults wouldn't know that stuff already, but there it was. I just wish I could have used that book for this piece--it would have really been a hoot to give that to Marv.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Buddy's Book

I met an artist that paints on books and I thought, "How cool is that?". So I did an exploratory piece that was pretty fun. Then a writer friend had a birthday coming up so I had the idea of doing a portrait of her dog on a book. Great idea, lot of work. Way more than I would have imagined. Just finding the right cover surface to work on is more involved than I would have imagined. Modern cardboard surfaces are too cheap and start pilling as soon as they get wet. Some books are partially cloth wrapped and some have too much type embossing. Only older books that are canvas wrapped really work well and finding ones that don't have a lot of embossing is difficult. Then there was some experimenting to figure out how to do type on the spine. In short, this was a real voyage of discovery. But the end product is worth it. And thanks to Dollar Tree for selling hardcover books so my failed experiments weren't expensive!