April 19, 2019

Bookbinding 101 - Long Stitch Leather Books

I am sharing my knowledge of bookbinding with a friend, and this month we each made 3 leather long stitch books.  I only made two previously, in 2013, and we had to work out many of the details re: making a jig and then punching the leather.  I bought 8 pieces of shoe leather scraps for about $1 each and only had used 2.  We split the other 6 and each made 3 books.  The maximal size possible was 7" high.

I used Mohawk 24lb extra-white paper that I purchased on sale at Talas - 100  sheets for $5 - and was delighted that the only pen out of a combination of ballpoints and drawing pens that bled through the paper was a Sharpie.    They were 8 X 10" and grain short.

These are my 3 books:

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These are the spines - photographed while wedged between 2 bricks wrapped in plastic as bookbinding weights.

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Spring Weekend

We were out of town and relaxing, and there was a furry sheep in the room which just needed to be drawn and painted.  I love seeing the huge beds of daffodils that are everywhere in New York City - announcing Spring.  This daffodil was one that I couldn't resist.  Now we are surrounded by tulips that are just bursting open and the range of colors is eye-candy!

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April 15, 2019

Notre Dame in Paris is Burning

The Notre Dame fire is heartbreaking.  As I type this and repost my painting of the rear of Notre Dame, I'm watching the TV coverage of the ongoing fire which has destroyed the spire, and led to the collapse of the roof.  We first visited Notre Dame in 1970, and still remember the organ concert from that Day.  We almost never visited Paris without entering Notre Dame.  On our most recent visit in 2014, I spent an hour on a beautiful sunny October day sketching Notre Dame from the quay on Ile St. Louis.  This is heartbreaking.  Commentators and city officials are currently describing the role of the ceiling in holding up the stone walls.  They are beginning to wonder if the cathedral can be saved.

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April 12, 2019

WILLIAM KENTRIGE ar Marian Goodman Gallery Until Apr 20th

William Kentridge Exhibit at Marian Goodman Gallery (24 W 57th St, NYC)

Go see this exhibit before April 21st.  I first saw a Kentridge exhibit a MoMA many years ago, and then the Met Exhibit of one of his movies - which was projected around the walls of a big gallery.  This is the one of the more recent exhibits of his I've seen at the Marian Goodman Gallery.  There are many charcoal drawings, sculptures of various sizes, and an 18 minute movie, made with his drawings, that we LOVED - called KABOOM.  I sketched one of about a dozen die cut, table size sculptures with a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.  With artist friends, we spent almost two hours in this exhibit!  A record....

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April 9, 2019

Juilliard Jazz Orchestra Concert at Alice Tully Hall

Last week my husband and I went to the last Juilliard Jazz Orchestra concert of the year at Alice Tully Hall.  We love the amazing skills and knowledge of these young musicians, and the quality of the performance is as good as any we've heard.  I sketched just the 3 musicians that were directly in front of me - otherwise there were too many music stands blocking my view, and I wanted to sketch them with their instruments.  Wynton Marsalis was the Conductor, although he just spoke to the audience before each half, and had the musicians introduce each piece of music and "conduct" themselves.

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April 5, 2019

Screen Printing Project 3

Screen Print on Fabric:  For the 3rd of our projects this semester, we had to create two "positive" images, and burn them into screens, registered, and make 2-color prints on fabric.  Registered means that you can easily place the print from one screen exactly on top of the print from the other screen.  I had the fashion model with the horizontal stripes on one screen and all of the calligraphy/typography on the other screen.  The first screen was printed in black (figure) and the second one in charcoal gray (typography).  The print measures 15 X 19"  The background fabric is white.  

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Original Art Inspiration:  I sketched a live model in a Fashion Illustration course last year and then collaged over the drawing. 

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Creating the designs for the Screens:  The positive images for the screen #1 were created by collaging black paper and typed words, that were printed on a transparency, to create the blouse.  All the pieces were taped to heavy vellum to photograph (burn) them onto a photoemulsion screen.  The calligraphy for screen #2 was printed on transparency sheets and cut out and taped to a second piece of vellum to make the other screen.  Here are the two sheets of vellum clipped together for me to test the image.

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April 2, 2019

Urban Sketchers at Lincoln Center

New York City Urban Sketchers met at Lincoln Center last Saturday.  It was a gorgeous day, with hints of Spring, but also with wind blowing early tree pollen around the Plaza.  I took a seat at the Met Opera end of the Plaza and enjoyed drawing the David H. Koch theater which is home to the New York City Ballet.  This was a double page spread and scanning the image highlights the center of the page. 

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March 31, 2019

Prime Time for Seniors at MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art has a great Senior Program - a combination of gallery talks and art studio adventures.  Last time, in conjunction with the Brancusi exhibit, we created sculptures with Paper Clay.  This week we played with liquid watercolor, ink, and vellum to create layered images to explore color.  We looked at layered paintings by artists hanging in the museum, and then, with supplies provided for us, played with many types of mark making tools on watercolor paper.  We also used various dry media to create designs on vellum, which I cut up and collaged on the watercolor.

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March 30, 2019

MoMA Senior Prime Time

The Museum of Modern Art has a great Senior Program - a combination of gallery talks and art studio adventures.  Last time, in conjunction with the Brancusi exhibit, we created sculptures with Paper Clay.  This week we played with liquid watercolor, ink, and vellum to create layered images to explore color.  We looked at layered paintings by artists hanging in the museum, and then, with supplies provided for us, played with many types of mark making tools on watercolor paper.  We also used various dry media to create designs on vellum, which I cut up and collaged on the watercolor.

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March 26, 2019

Asia Week NYC 2019

Asia Week in New York City 2019

My friends and I love the Southeast Asian Modern and Comporary Auction Previews at Sothebys and Christies.  These are painters from the 21st C, and several of our favorites were in a group that began modern Indian painting.  I went to both big auction houses to see the auction previews during Asian week, and just painted portions of a few of my favorites.  The paintings on the left were from Sothebys.  The paintings on the right were from Christies.  All of the images are from India, except the middle figure on the right.  That was copied from a very long Chinese scroll.

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March 22, 2019

Making a Coptic Watercolor Sketchbook

My major reason for making books is to have a watercolor sketchbook that meets my needs, and isn't expensive to make.  I make cased in books with dyed fabric covers for my standard watercolor sketchbooks, but this month my bookbinding student and I made Coptic books.  They also open flat.

I made this book with a single sheet of Fabriano Artistico 140 lb soft press paper (3 signatures with 2 folios for a total of 24 pages) and a paste paper cover.  It is approx. 7.5 inches square and watercolor can be used on the front and back of each page. The paste paper was made with a corn starch recipe and inexpensive acrylic paint.  The end paper is a piece of decorative paper in a similar color.  The stitching was done with 3 ply linen thread.  

Coptic Book

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I chose this stitching method because there are two loops of thread through each cover hole, and the last signature and the front cover are sewn on separately.

Inside

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End Paper

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We used a large awl to make the holes and it was hard to punch through the cover binder boards.  I'd love to know how easy it is to punch holes into Lineco 0.067 binders board with a Japanese screw punch - and what size punch is best.  This is only my 4th Coptic book in 5 years, so I haven't invested in one.

Shirley Parker Levine
New York City

April 2019

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