Thursday, 14 June 2012

drought dry artists' journal .....

I often count my blessings but most especially when I am out with my camera, or just with my eyes, transfixed by small details that others just pass by.  I live with a beautiful man who hasn't a creative bone in his body and he has learnt to wander off when we are travelling, as I become transfixed by the minutia or lost in awe as I photograph old peeling paint and decay.  Very often, most often, he will be ahead of me as I linger playfully with my camera, and he calls me over to an area where he says there are plenty of the patterns or marks that I love.  I actually think being with an odd ball like me has opened his eyes to the visual world around him - though he would deny that!  Anyway, I am very grateful to have been given these 'extra eyes' as they enrich my life.  I am sure that this holds true for all creative people.

This artist's book I made after visiting an area down on the border between New South Wales and Victoria.  I called the area home for about six years and had spent many many hours wandering out by the weir, a large dammed area of the Murray River.  On this particular visit the area and surrounds had been affected by fire and severe drought and what was normally a vast weir, was a mere trickle of creek following the old river course.   The remnants of old trees and their roots normally covered by water, were revealed - black, tortured, magnificent.




The book is a series of pen and ink, actually bamboo and stick drawings.  Some of the pages are lined with transparent paper on which I have made fine markings.  They overlay the drawings beneath and add another dimension.




I made a double cover for the book - one covered greyboard with one of the drawings attached front and back, and then a double hinged perspex cover actually attached to the original cover on the back only. The book itself is sewn with coptic binding.




























I think the photographs speak for themselves.  The drawings are very spare but to me, remind me of the time I spent wandering amidst the scorched roots.  It reminds me of the desolation that was there at the time, when in happier days the hills around are lush green and the weir is huge and overflowing.

So, while the camera can do a fine job at recording what was seen,  I am going to try and be more diligent about making books which reveal what was felt.

29 comments:

  1. This is such a beautiful book - I'd love the see and hold the real thing...

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    1. That is the thing with an artist's book isn't it Carol, you really want to hold it, examine its structure, get the sense of it ...... I love the intimacy of artist's books for that reason. It satisfies more than just the visual sense.

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  2. I see the story in your book, but also see life that is just waiting to burst forth in those powerful marks. Magnificent. Yes, please. More of your amazing books.

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    1. Thanks Jennifer - I will post some more on various artist's books I have made. I am glad you could sense the life about to burst ...... I tried to introduce that idea in the overlays. thank you for your lovely comment - again!

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  3. Oh, this is quite lovely! Just imagining turning the pages gives me chills!

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    1. Thanks for visiting my blog Diane. It always surprised me to find people popping in and leaving lovely comments. Thank you.

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  4. I love this book - and the drawings seem full of detail to me, considering the sparseness of MY work!! Its all relative, I guess.

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    1. Thank you Valerie - perspective is an amazing thing isn't it. I visit your blog and find your work rich and full - not sparse as all! Maybe I should look further back in your posts. I do love hearing how other people view their work and how quite often we see it differently. Artwork is so subjective isn't it ......

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  5. This made my heart sing. Thought provoking work is always a privilege to see. It is simply stunning. Ann

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    1. What a lovely message Ann. Thank you. One couldn't say anything nicer to an artist!

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  6. To hold this book in my hands, feel the papers and threads would put a smile on my face. How exquisite!

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    1. Thank you Lisa. i love it when new people pop in and look at my blog as it means I then visit their work in their blog. A wonderful way to studio visit and enjoy each other's work.

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  7. Your line drawings are so expressive...but I also love the little etched markings on the translucent pages...like a secret language.

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    1. Thanks Julie - a lovely comment, especially about the secret language. That made me smile because so much of my work actually deals in that kind of secret language. Had no intention of it here but LOVE that it felt like that!

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  8. These are truly beautiful marks and expressions of the time and place - thanks for sharing X

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    1. Hello Noela - I know this is one you have seen before but thank you for your comments. It is nice to make something about a specific time and place and then be able to remember all those thoughts when you look at the book again.

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  9. Love these drawing, so strong and stark. One gets a real sense of what it felt like. And I like what Thorn Thread said about the vellum paper, exactly right.

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    1. Thank you Liz. I love that you saw what Julie from Thread Born said about my marks on the transparencies. I did not intend those marks as secret language but really love that work that I do in other areas has flowed into this book. I often deal with hidden meaning, secret language and deep secrets ...... all fairly obscure work as you can imagine!

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  10. Hi Susan, I have visited this post maybe three times and have just realised I haven't yet commented! Oh my mind, my mind. I don't know if its possible to have subdued power, but that's how this book feels to me - powerful yet subdued. Your expressive marks are perfection and I think you have really captured the feelings, not just the place or the moment. Love the double binding as well.

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    1. No matter how much I see you, and show you my work and ponder over yours, I love having feedback on my posts from you! Strange how much it means to have you come by and put in words what you often say to me face to face. Thank you Fiona. I love that you 'get' and appreciate my work.

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  11. S-as you say in your ending statements - the camera is great for capturing the images; but the brush, pencil, press and the artist are what captures the essence for us as beholders. Beautiful work. B

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  12. Thanks for commenting on those last remarks of mine Barry. As much as I love photography, we both do, you are right in saying that the brush or pencil etc capture the essence. I think that is why I am completely drawn to the abstract image.

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  13. Susan,

    This is a gorgeous, lush book, a wonderful combination of (your) artist's hand and the air and lines (of grasses and horizons) of the natural world. It is also good for us to see the book from all angles, with its threads and open pages... just lovely!

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    1. Thanks Ann. Lovely to have you visit my blog again. It is nice to be able to show a book from all angles - artist's books do not generally show off as well as two dimensional work. It often takes many photos to give an idea of the book. Glad you enjoyed.

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  14. Susan,
    This book is beautiful! I will return when I have some more time to visit your other posts, as I just discovered your site, and I am out of visiting time. Stunning work!

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  15. this book is quite stunning... you know, you think about how fortunate it was that you went to that place... had you not, this might never have come forth into the world - and wouldn't that have been a sad thing... this book is just amazing - i love your work!

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  16. A beautiful piece of work. I really like both the perspex cover and the metal ones you plan to use.

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  17. Hello Kim. thank you for going and visiting my blog. I always enjoy a blog wander as you never know when something you see will strike a chord within. Glad you found that in mine :-)
    Thank you Maire - you are right in what you say. Sometimes we see or visit a place that has an emotional and visual effect on us and that can often produce heartfelt work. Wish I could work like that all the time ..... I think about it often but sometimes the work just doesn't come out as emotively as you hope. Glad you like my work. Thanks.
    Hi Jackie - mmmm, I really love working with perspex, using it as pages or covers of a book. Metal is new to me but I am thinking that I amy want to use it more ... as pages and covers. I use copper all the time to etch but have never really thought about adding metal as an element of my work. This second collaborative piece will be fun. Thinking of many possibilities now but the metal covers are a sure thing.

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  18. Love this, and artist books in general.

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I appreciate your comments - thank you!