Working on Books

It is cold outside again today. The bright sun is deceiving. If the wind lets up I can walk to the river today. The paths through the meadow are filling up with violets. But I so miss walking through the trees. The trail at my old place was so inviting with the branches overhead and varying barks and leaves. Here it is the continual screams of killdeer as they fly over grasses in wide open spaces. I think they are a nervous bird by nature. By the time I make it to the trees along the river, we both have calmed down.

I went back out to dinner last night and took a soon-to-be ninety year old neighbor with me. It was quite pleasant having company this time, but in two weeks I will return alone just to get away from my own cooking. Baking spinach, onion, ham and cheese scones and those delicious brown sugar oatmeal cookies.

I shove as much spinach as I can get to stick to the dough before shaping and cutting.

I take the suggestion of adding one half cup of chopped pecans for more crunch and flavor….and cooking longer to get them crispier with dark edges. Then I put them all in the freezer. Scones for a lunch and a cookie for whenever.

The Australian basket makers have been on my mind. So I went back to the Gathering Book and did some stitching. They do as much patching and sewing as they do baskets. I think some of these scraps of work would make very interesting abstract paintings. Something about the colors and design.

Here I used a torn up wood block print on the left and on the right some botanical print piece I made in Australia using an overdose of iron in the pot. The deep rust colored scraps I bought in Alice Springs a very long time ago.  The gauzier cloth was chemically colored using Adele Outteridge’s method of coloring cloth and paper using caustic soda, ferrous sulfate and very black tea.

And I tried to stay away from the Sticks and Stones book. But the cold wind yesterday had me back in my own imaginary woods.

Those fold down pockets kept bothering me, so I dropped down the first one and thought “how about sheltering those rocks that are so easily thrown.

The letters that will appear on the reverse side of this concertina book will also be done in graphite.

It is getting on toward lunch time…spinach scone. Then my yard man, Eddie, comes by this afternoon to see how his plantings fared over the winter. Some look quite brown to me, but he will tell me how brown.

Violets need to be painted in the Meadow Book. Wildflowers want to fill more pages in that six way book that is going to take forever to fill. Why did I make so many thin kozo folios and brush each with gesso to prevent bleeding of watercolor? I had such high aspirations for myself and that book. Now I feel duty bound to at least try to fill that book. I owe it to myself, Gian, who taught me how to make it, and my kids who will end up with all these sketchbooks. My god, there are so MANY!!!

I am glad that several years ago so many of the artist books done for exhibition have been given to my under graduate school.  I do wonder what older artists have done with their work saved over the years. I am not talking about the artists who market their work but those who produce for exhibition and have an inability to stop doing it. There is not likely to be another burial as I have managed to keep the work smaller as I get older.

But who knows? When it is warm enough to use the garage I have some large canvases there waiting to be noticed and unpacked.

Til later….lunch time.