Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Starry Night, Sketchbook Wednesday with Mrs. Staggs

Last week Mrs. Staggs suggested that we make a page with the prompt "starry night." She also suggested we add an element of mystery.

Above is my page. It consists of an envelope with a book inside. At first glance it is not obvious there is a book inside. That is my mysterious element. However, there is a clue---I added some stars to the ribbon and yarns that are attached to the book.

As the book opens, it reveals daylight to a very dark starry night. It is not obvious that the book is about a starry night until the last page.

How I did it:

I painted the picture on the cover in watercolors on water color paper and scanned the painting.

I digitally altered the colors to create progressively darker images and printed them off. I cut away a square on the ages revealing a tiny star. The last page has glittered stars which are much more sparkly than this photo.

What I used:

a mailing envelope attached with brads to the journal

velvet and textured collage paper for covering the envelope

ribbon and yarn from my stash to embellish the book

digitally altered images from my original painting

What I learned:

It is more difficult to photograph pages than make them! It is impossible for me to capture glitter with my camera or scanner.

Meeting deadlines requires discipline. I used to meet deadlines every day of my life in the work force. Now I have trouble getting even small tasks done on time. This commitment to the journal is a journey in discipline for me.


I have been making paper art for decades. I went back to school to learn graphic design just before computer graphics became the gold standard. I learned how to cut and paste and do everything by hand....not too useful info today for graphic design. I love using my useless skills in useful ways!

To Mrs. Staggs:

Sometimes something clicks ...your sketchbook idea clicked for me. I have seen zillions of sketchbook challenges on line and had no desire to participate in any but yours. Mrs. Staggs you gently sparked my imagination. Thank you!


Eileen said...

These colors together, and this whole project is awesome. It is obvious that a lot of you went into this.

Mrs. Staggs said...

This is so amazing Helen, and beautiful. I love it. Your concept is thoughtful and inspiring. Thank you so much for taking the time to share how you created it. I love the sky, especially the night sky, so seeing how you slowly captured that magic has been fascinating for me.

Thank you very much for your kind words. You inspire me!

I agree that this is a good exercise in discipline. I struggle with making time for crafting and for learning new mediums, and most of creative time comes very late at night. Creating with paper isn't coming easily for me, yet. There is a great deal to learn, and it can be a bit overwhelming. My friends Liisa and Berkeley are trained artists, and like you, have been working in paper a long time. They are so generous to share what they know with me, and so are you. I was telling them the other evening, that I wish I hadn't come so late to all of this. There is so much that I want to learn, and they said that perhaps I will appreciate it even more because of that reason. I admit to feeling discouraged at times. I wish I could draw and paint in wonderful ways. So far, that is my biggest stumbling block.

Best wishes to you,

Cottage Way of Life said...

I really like how you made the starry night look and the idea of a hidden book. I also love that you detailed step by step how you went about making your page. That was so interesting and also inspirational. And I'm right with you on that discipline thing. That was a major reason I decided to join the sketch book project. I wanted to have the discipline to draw and paint, even if I didn't finish, I wanted to, you know, like Nike says, "Just do it." ;^)


brsmaryland said...

Helen, your page and book are so starry, dreamy! I love the square cut out on the pages, revealing the gold star to come. I'm sure the watercolors are even more brillant in real life. Thanks for sharing your work and techniques.

a painter said...

Thank you all for the comments. I am glad to know I am not alone in the discipline department.

Mrs. Staggs, I used to teach art to children. You are not too late at this...you don't need to draw or paint although you can learn how to do both.

Self-expression in any genre is artistic and you are in the right path.

Children make the best art because they don't know much about art. They simply express themselves without judgment.

You are a wonderful journey and your friends are right. Never be discouraged...just enjoy what you create and the more you create the more you will love what you create.