**Huge thanks to Blurb for sponsoring this post, I’ve finally been able to give life to this project!**
One of my favorite parts about working intuitively, about letting the paint ‘take over’ is examining the small, unplanned moments. The blooms that invade the white space, the overlapping transparencies of pigments, the rhythm between forms. The moments that I guided into existence, but ultimately chose their own path.
I photographed a lot of these magical spaces, presenting my work through a slightly changed, slightly more personal lens, but hadn’t yet found the right medium to use to share them.
I wanted these moments to exist alone, taken out of the context of a painting.
So I decided to make a book.
When Blurb approached me about creating a book using their services, I was already in the brainstorming phase, storyboarding out the flow and wordings of such a project.
It was meant to be. Now I just needed to find more images!
I scoured through my work searching for more moments that resonated within me. Old paintings, new paintings, paintings that were still drying and sketchbooks from various stages of my career. I was seeking shards of memories, voices, landscapes -- anything that echoed in my heart, that called to exist on it’s own.
Presenting a piece as a whole allows for a bit of barrier between myself and what the viewer sees. A lot of my work is like looking at clouds; everyone sees something different - but committing to picking the pieces that stir me was sort of a soul-baring exercise.
When I’m working I usually keep my little black notebook somewhere within arms reach. Just as forms and tones call out to be used, so do words and phrases; most of the names of my paintings are born of those little mid-painting ideas. The words influence the painting and the painting influences the words. Using pieces of these written ideas I built up the flow of my book, planning the transitions around the words, letting the captured stream of consciousness dictate the course.
Using BookWright was a seamless experience. My main concern was that I would be able to rough draft the entire book out with placeholders before committing to the actual imagery I would be using. This would let me balance color and words, letting me play with the flow of the book as a whole. BookWright made this method of working easy, allowing me to throw the placeholders quickly into the layout and play with the rhythm of the images until I was happy with the design. The whole process was felt very natural and intuitive. Much like an extension of the way I paint.
It took me a little while to decide on the size of the book, each of the form factors provided by Blurb seemed like it would be a good fit. In the end, I chose the Large Landscape (13 x 11) to attempt to give the detail images of the paintings as much space as I could. I also added a dust jacket, where I will explain the goals of the book. Every stage of the creation has been so exciting - I’m so happy to finally have an easy to use outlet for these ideas.
When I was studying art at Michigan State I spent much of my graphic design and book design classes experimenting with different paper types, learning the ins and outs of weight and rag, falling in love with quality paper. So when my Swatch Kit arrived (when you order one for $7.95, you’ll get a promo code that lets you apply the cost of the kit toward your book purchase) my nebulous little project started to feel real. I very much appreciated the quality of the paper stocks in the kit and ended up choosing the ProLine Pearl. Usually when reproducing work I use mattes, or watercolor papers - but the weight and the sheen of the sample sheet pulled me in. I want these small moments to stand apart from their wholes, and I felt the tonal range provided by the pearl paper would be perfect for this.
This project has been swirling in my mind for so long, I’m so excited to see how it will turn out. I’ve made plenty of hand-bound, hand-made books trying to get close to my vision for this, but each one has fallen short of my expectations. I’m so excited to turn it over to the professionals at Blurb and can’t wait to share the final result with you when it arrives!
After seeing how easy it was to create this book, I’m already starting to have swirlings of more ideas. I’m headed to Ireland next month, perhaps a collection of sketches from the road?
What about you? Have you ever made a book? Do you have a pet book project in mind? I’d love to read about your ideas!