Monday, June 10, 2013

Final ABC Round Robin Swap

Welcome everyone,
For the final round robin swap I received Maureen's book of Mermaids.  This altered book was created  from a children's board book and so has a few limitations with the types of art that can be created inside. Maureen had hinted that I could finish the book if I wanted. I agreed to try but what to that was different from the other awesome collage work that had been created by the other ABC artists. After my visit to Sam's Castle in Pacifica I came up with the idea of creating a mermaid Reliquary inside the book.  Unfortunately the book was too thin to carve a niche inside.  But I found that I had the perfect replacement-a real seashell box that I picked up at a garage sale.  So what to do inside the actual board book?  I started to look up all the info I could find on mermaids.  From one of my own books I found some interesting information.  Did you know that the mirror the mermaid carried began as a symbol for the Greek idea "Know Thyself".  In other words a wise person knows their own strengths and limitations and being humble in the sight of the Gods.  By knowing oneself you could hope to avoid Hubris or pride.  To the ancient Greeks Pride was the ultimate sin and was always the cause of man's downfall.  If you look at any of the Greek myths-all the hero's ultimately end badly because they became arrogant and full of pride.  Christian theology later adopts pride as one of the deadly sins and you can still hear the echos of the idea of Greek Hubris in Christian phrases such as "Pride goeth before the fall." Adam of course had this fault in spades. The mermaid was often used in early Christian sermons as an example of the false attractions of sin. Unfortunately her mirror became the symbol of vanity instead of a symbol of wisdom.
Today the idea of "know thyself" is still an important one.  For it is only when we truly understand our strengths and limitations can we reach our full artistic potential.

The  full spread with text.

Here is a picture of part of the reliquary from Sam's castle that was the inspiration for my mermaid Reliquary.  Note the wire bullion or crinkle wire as it is know today.

Here is the shell box-a garage sale find.

First I made a mold of a tiny antique doll(front and back).  I used paperclay in the mold and then attached the two halves of the mold while still wet to make a little doll out of paperclay that will eventually be turned into a mermaid.
Paperclay mermaid next to original antique doll.

Painted base of paperclay inside the shell box.  The mirror is inset in the paperclay and the mermaid rests in the indentations made for it earlier.

almost finished reliquary with bullion wire, seashells and vintage  beads and pearls included.

close ups of the inside of the reliquary minus the ribbon around the mermaids body that reads "know thyself".

This was another really fun project.  I was proud of the way the reliquary came out as well as the collage spread in the book.  The good thing is that I have another shell box and tiny mermaid to create another reliquary!

Remember all artists out there:" Know thyself"

Sunday, June 9, 2013

ABC Swap #6

Welcome Everyone!
For the 6th Altered Books club swap I received Mary's book on Zombies. Since The Walking Dead is my absolute favorite TV show I really had a blast creating art for this book.  The most difficult part of this swap was that Mary gave me an impossible task to complete in just one spread.  Mary had hoped that everyone creating art for her book would not only create a character and tell that character's story but would also move the storyline alone.  Somewhere this got lost in translation.  We got characters but very little storyline and much to Mary's disappointment just not enough blood!  Since most people shy away from blood and gore the book really became "zombie light".  So with this swap I was tasked by Mary to not only pick a character and tell that character's story but to move the storyline along and inject a little more blood and gore along the way.  Prior to my receiving this swap I already had a comedic character in mind.  However with Mary's special requests I knew that what I originally had in mind just wouldn't fulfill what Mary asked of me. I also knew that her request would take more than one spread to achieve. I did something that is usually an absolute no no for me-I used another persons character.  I said earlier that The Walking Dead is my favorite show so I used two of my favorite characters from the show-the Dixon brothers.  They are not only fun characters but had incredible story arcs during the course of 3 seasons. And they fit into Mary's survivalist character category.
I won't give all the text here but if you would like to read the story as told by the younger brother Daryl just click on the spreads below to make them larger.
The Walking Dead really has incredible Zombies-here's a closer view of the lovely lady above.
To continue the story: Here are the two brothers.
I love this zombie grouping-Here's a closer pic of it-notice the enhanced blood and gore-Teehee!
Remember when shooting a zombie-always aim for the brain!
You know-ya gotta love blood spatter.
Yikes!   Zombies coming at ya!  Aim for the brain ya'll.

The compound in flames!
Zombie Merle
Poor Daryl.  This is truly a Sorrowful Life.

Close up of a beautiful Digital manipulation I found on the web.  Daryl the guardian angel and the avenging angel.  This image mirrors the first spread above showing Daryl's vest with wings.
8 spreads -yes I created 8 spreads! Mary you owe me big time.  And do I think my 8 spreads worked?
Yes I think I achieved what was asked of me. I picked characters and told their story, injected some much needed blood and gore-I'm sorry zombie "light" just doesn't work and I moved the story along.
I took the compound bound characters and put them back out on the road looking for someplace safe.  I like the edgy feel and the layout of the spreads.  And I had fun limiting my color palette to black,white and red. That actually was very freeing.
However I am still not all that happy about using characters from a popular TV show no matter how wonderful those characters are.
And for all of you that have not seen The Walking Dead-I strongly urge you to check it out.  Its not a show about zombies (they are just the icing on the cake).  This is about the survivors.  About the choices they make to survive and their struggle to keep their humanity. And in an ultra bad economy and an uncertain world that makes this show very relevant.
Remember to aim for the brain.