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[BKARTS] For Katie: Color Journal for Beginners / Altered Sketchbook
An excellent resource is Personal Journaling Magazine, which is published
by F&W Publications and is edited by Katie DuMont. (phone: 513.531.2690)
The October 2002 issue includes a piece by Carolyn Whitesel, "Try Adding
Art." One of the subsections is called "Use of Color in Your Journal."
Also, Jay and I took Cran Campbell's "Artist's Sketchbook" class, and that
was quite enjoyable. Though this involved making the book from scratch,
Cran's ideas for adding content and manipulating form could be applied to
a ready-made book.
I am currently working on an "altered sketchbook," which I am using as a
journal. It's a standard black sketchbook, the form of which I have
changed so that it is now a book object.
I have used various drill bits, handmade pigments, pastels, paints,
poetry, prose, dialogue, drawings, ticket stubs, news clippings, ceramics,
beeswax, leaves, bark, copper, sand paper, string, vellum, tar gel and
open flames, among other things. Archival interests aside, I try just
You probably can't get away with teaching students to barbecue a book on a
gas stove, but the results are astounding. Yes, a little insanity could be
Some of the pigments I have used are made of blueberries, herbal tea,
coffee, spinach, onion skins, ashes, plaster with ink, etc. Besides
rendering a variety of warm, soft hues, blueberries, smashed directly onto
the page, give the paper a tactile, satiny feel. (The hues can include
ochre, tan, violet, charcoal blue, etc.)
An exercise on making pigments from fruits and vegetables can open up
discussion and discovery of the tastes, textures and scents we associate
with color. How does ripeness or lack thereof affect color quality or
What does blue smell like? What does red feel like? What does orange sound
like? Are we disturbed when a color just doesn't "ring true?" What does
this mean? How do we know whether a color does not ring true? Is this
subjective, objective, both?
What emotions (or recollections, desires, geographic associations,
passions) are incited by the scent of grass blades being pressed into
warm, receptive, cotton paper? What about paper that is not quite so
Could pigment made from a particular incense transport you to a past
religious experience? Do you associate any particular colors or hues with
such an experience? How do these make you feel?
Consider the way a piece of vellum or leaf of rice paper can further
transform the presence and role of the colors. The use of wax can make a
section of paper nearly transparent, the colors applied appearing almost
like stained glass.
I have other ideas that I will be happy to share. Feel free to contact me
offline. BTW, Jay and I were at your open house last year and had a great
time. Wonderful event.
Best of Luck,
Denise Brennan Watson
--- Katie Harper <knharper@FUSE.NET> wrote:
> I'm teaching a course in color studies this fall, and the students are
> expected to keep a journal about color, their experience of it, what
> see and feel, etc., as the course progresses.
> Being a book artist, I guess it was a natural thing for me to suggest
> the students make their own journals. However, this has not been done in
> past, and was not included in the very tightly knit syllabus. However, I
> feel strongly that their is a way for them to do it and not take too
> time away from the time already allotted for the various other projects.
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