Saturday, March 31, 2012

New Website and Newsletter

I am really excited right now!

I actually just used 'bold' because I was so excited. What am I so excited about? I am about to launch my new website, where I will be posting daily paintings, and selling them through an auction! I am also offering a newsletter where you can sign up for the daily painting emails, a weekly blog digest, or both! I've been working on this for awhile and I am finally starting to see the end of the tunnel. 

Every day I am going to be uploading new art pieces to my site. Normally I upload my paintings to Etsy, or sell them to random people who happen to see them on this blog. But I thought I would try something different. I am going to put each of my daily pieces up for auction on my website and let the price go where it will. I was tired of using eBay for an auction platform, and wanted my own thing. 

Where is my site, you ask? It is still under construction right now, but should be ready in a few more days. Until then, I have a sign up form for the daily newsletter. The people who subscribe to the newsletter will be the first to know when my website is up and running, and the first to have the links to the auction where you can buy the piece. Also, pretty art work to look at daily once it begins in earnest!

At first, I'm going to be linking to art that I've posted to the blog. So if you've been interested in any of the pieces, sign up and watch for that auction!

If you know someone who likes daily paintings or art blogs, send them here! This is just the start and more is yet to come! Sign up! I only require your email address, and I will never give it out!

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The Newsletters
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Painting - Winter

Oil on Mat Board
2.5 x 3.5"

Here is one of my newest paintings. I really like how this one came together. I sort of saw it in my head before I put it down. I didn't even need a reference, which is a very strange experience for me.

Today I finished two paintings, started a third, and I have one more I have to do before I get back to daily paintings. I've also started a newsletter that sends a weekly digest of my blog posts out, and even one that will be sent out daily of my daily paintings, with links to their auction.

I'll be writing a post about that in a second!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Painting - Something Violet

Oil on Mat Board

Loved how this little one turned out! I'm on my way back from Galveston so I can't type much... I don't do backseat as well as I used to.

Can't wait to launch my site! It's almost done :D

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Painting - Scottish Landscape

Scottish Landscape
Oil on Mat Board
2.5 x 3.5"

I love how this little tiny painting came out. I don't know why, but at this point I was in the painting zone! I had done a couple of other small paintings.

I still can't paint the ocean for some reason. Guess I've gotta practice!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Painting - A Bowl of Beans

Bowl of Eggs
Oil on Masonite

And here is my bowl of eggs! I love the bowl. It was a small one I made in pottery class and it has a wonderful shino as a glaze. Obviously it's one of my earlier attempts at a bowl with a very unstable base. I will definitely be using the bowl again, but I think I would prefer white eggs. With white eggs I feel I can really play with the colors.

I've got to work on the eggs some more, but overall I like the painting.

I'm about to go painting on the beach! If you're in Galveston, look for the person with a french easel wearing jeans!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Craft - Handspun Hat

Well, I've gotten all of my handspun yarn used up, and that little ball of what is left will not finish up my hat. Luckily, my friend Rachel (woolgypsy on Etsy - I'll post a link once I'm home) came to the rescue and she is carding me more fiber to spin! I couldn't find non-dyed yet already carded fiber in the small amounts I needed. If you know of any good fiber shops, lemme know in the comments:)

And in the background, I'm set up for painting! I'm painting eggs! I'll post that tomorrow.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Artist - Alex Ruiz

I don't have a painting or a drawing I can show today, and I'm still not done with my hat. So, I've decided to share a work that I stumbled upon and I just love it.

This makes me happy. I love van Gogh, and I love Doctor Who's van Gogh episode, "Vincent and the Doctor" and for some reason this piece reminds me of that. I'd love to buy a print, but I'm saving up money for my trip. If any of my friends and family are reading this and looking for gift ideas for me, a greeting card is only 5 bucks!

I'm inspired to go paint now...


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Craft - Spinning

Here is my spindle, complete with new yarn on it! Sitting on some fiber that will become yarn tomorrow. I did a few commissions today and sometimes I don't get to post those, which is okay, but I wanted to blog about something! And this fiber has just been sitting there.

I'm hoping I have enough to make a hat! I have some other yarns I spun as well, but they are in browns and grays. I think it won't bother me to mix these up! Especially since these are my own hand made yarns.

Truth be told I want to make a slouchy hat, and I have this pattern, but I don't think this yarn will work for that. Maybe it will? It's a fairly even width, bit it does get thicker and thinner in places and I'm not sure how it will work since I've never even knitted with yarn I haven't bought at the store!!

I need to work on being brave so I think I will just go for it! Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Painting - Onions

Onions and Jar
Oil on Masonite

This is my newest painting. I had done a few more that just weren't good enough, so, I didn't post them. Even this one took me two days and a lot of pain an misery. But I think working through the pain paid off. I am actually pretty happy with this. The onions are going into my casserole tonight, and the pot was handmade by a friend at Louisiana Tech. I actually really liked painting it because of the thick texture and color.

The onions were another story. I didn't think they would ever looks right!

This will be available on my website once it has been finished. Follow me on twitter @Violinagin and on Facebook (ViolinaginArt) to be the first ones to know when they go to auction!


Friday, March 09, 2012

Painting - Handmade Cup and Lemon

Cup and Lemon
Oil on Mat Board

I'm a bit embarrassed showing this one, because the cup itself is lopsided, and the painting of it makes it even more so! I'm having to end this painting as is for right now, but I'm going to finish it sometime later. I just have some work that needs to be done pronto, and I can't spend all day worrying that the mouth is too wide. Which it is. Horribly.

So, two commissions to finish, then, it's back to this one!

I will probably post another repaint tonight :)
Until then!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

For Sale - Book!

Hand Bound Book
4" x 10.5"
paper size - 3.5x9"

I just wanted to let everyone know I put this book up for sale in my Etsy shop!

This is the link^

I hope it goes to a good home, because I just love it!

Painting - Pear

4 3/4 x  6 1/4"
Oil on Mat Board

Here is my newest daily painting! Unfortunately I painted this right before the downpour that is happening now and the light was very, very low. Not much value contrast, but I think I like the  nice, soft color transitions.

I wanted to paint lemons today, but my pear didn't look like it would survive another day and I was getting kind of hungry. It's really delicious. The lemons however, look like they'll last several more days before I have to throw them in food or make lemonade from them. So pear for today, lemons tomorrow! Or artichoke. I am not sure whether I should cook it now, or tomorrow. I managed to keep one so long it dried out. Not sure I want to do that again! I'd rather eat 'em. Maybe I'll paint the dried one and eat the good one :)

Also, I've been trying to make my facebook page a bit more active! Having more followers would definitely inspire me, so if you could like my facebook page and maybe follow me on twitter I would be so in love! Plus I tend to post more deals and sales for my art there. Here I pretty much just show the paintings.

Anyway, I'm off to do more art! Ciao!! (Did I mention I'm going to Italy? Gotta practice the Italian more)

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Painting - Lemons

Oil on Mat Board

I picked out these lemons yesterday because they have great color and personality. They look like they belong to the same herd. One is organic, and one is your basic grocery store lemon. I took off the stickers so I can't remember which is which. 

I think I want to cut them open and paint the juicy fruit tomorrow. I feel in the zone, so I sort of want to paint more, but I have two drawings I'm working on, and I think I can get them done today. It's only two! It's so weird when I finally manage to get up early. Everything seems just a little off. 

I've also got to do some writing for my new website. Well, I've gotten some done, I just hate it. So I'm redoing it. 

Also, I've been doing more with my Etsy shop: Still have a few more things to upload there! Feel free to pin and tweet and all of that fun jazz! All right, I'm going to go work now! 


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Painting - Artichoke II

Oil on Mat Board

Well, I thought my last artichoke painting turned out pretty good, so I thought I would try it again, this time under slightly different lighting conditions. Namely, natural light. I think I got a lot more color and contrast with that change.

I have to confess I really wanted to paint an aanar. Or a pomegranate. But those are out of season. I might try the artichoke again tomorrow, but I also got some beautiful lemons. No, really, I went through each lemon trying to find ones I thought were pretty enough to paint.

This painting hasn't been sold yet, and I'll be putting it up on my website soon, once it gets done. I think it's a good painting to start off my painting a day site on. I'll post a link here after we get it done, so watch for that!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Sketching - Drawing from Life

So, I haven't posted any sketches from my sketch book recently, so I thought now would be a good time to show where my brain is. I've been having to do a lot of paintings and drawings based on photographs, and to counter balance this, I've been trying to draw more from life in my daily sketching. I think you can really see the difference. The top one was done from life, the bottom one from a photograph.

I'm more partial to the one done from life. Both of them were just sketched off pretty quickly though.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Painting - Night Stroll

Night Stroll
Oil on Illustration Board

I hope everyone is having a good weekend! I did this from a photograph for a commission. I really like how it turned out.

Anyway, I'm working on adding some more paintings to my Etsy Shop as well as the books I made! I should have everything up in a few days. If you liked them, but didn't want to make your own, I will be selling them and ones like 'em there! You can also send me a message about getting your own painting commissioned.

Until next time!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

How To - Bookbinding - Post Bound Book

Hey look! It's my book again! Except instead of me posting about how much hard work I put into making it, I'm going to walk you through exactly how I made it. With pictures! I've started a new book, and I started photographing the whole process. I'm not going to be able to give you measurements, but you should be able to make up your own. A lot of the measurements I do give will be "an inch wider than the width of your paper." That way, you can choose your own book size. If this type of book isn't your thing, I also still have these posts with links to paperback bookbinding and hard binding books!

But, if Post Bound Japanese style books are what you want, continue on!

Materials Needed
  1. Paper for pages
    Think about what you're using the book for, and what type of paper you like using. Best part about post binding books is, you can use any type of paper, it doesn't really matter. 
  2. Paper Cutters
    I use a personal paper trimmers, an exacto knife and ruler, and scissors for different steps
  3. Book Board
    Get the good acid free stuff if you can. The thickness doesn't bother me one way or the other, so go with what you like.
  4. Sand Paper or sanding block
    It's for the book board and paper blocks
  5. Book Cloth
    You might try making your own (Google it if you don't like that process, there are 1000 more!)
  6. Decorative Paper
    For this project I used Japanese origami paper from Joanne's for the cover of the book and some handmade rice paper for the end sheets.
  7. Glue
    PVA is the best, but it has no give. It sticks. I bought something called "Professional Acid Free Glue" from Hobby Lobby and it works well for my purposes. I got it on sale. You can even try to make your own!
  8. Press
    If you have a bookbinding press (can I come live with you?) use it! If not, I use book clips, clamps, and pieces of wood. Let me tell you, if you have a book due for class the next day and you don't have access to the book press, you get /very/ creative.
  9. Screw in Posts
    These are sold at Lowe's. Unfortunately, no one who works there will have a clue what you are talking about. Look in the hardware section, in the drawers. It'll be under "Specialty fasteners"
  10. Rulers
     I have one that's clear, and one that has a metal edge for cutting. The one with the metal edge was like, 50 cents at walmart. I do have a love affair with the clear one though, it makes a lot of jobs so much easier.
  11. Cutting board
    Or a table you don't mind screwing up. It's easier to work on a nice table though. Really think about the cutting board.
  12. Time, Attention to Detail, and Anal Retentiveness
    No, I'm not joking

On with the Tutorial!

1. Step One - Cut out your paper.

I like to do this first, and then measure everything else off the paper. For this, I just cut a regular letter sized piece of paper (8.5x11") into thirds. For Japanese binding and post binding a book, a longer, thinner page works great. Here is a picture of my paper cutter. It's cheap. And it works. :)

2. Step Two - Measure out the Book Board you will need

It will need to be about half and inch wider than your paper. This will allow for a 1/4 of an inch lip around the pages of your book. I took a long piece of book board and cut the width I needed in a really long piece.

3. Step Three - Cut one inch pieces of book board out of the long piece you just cut
These are where the posts go, and the space between the one inch piece and the main piece of book board creates the hinge. More on that later.

Step 4 - Cut the large piece of book board
This is a bit tricky, but it usually works out. The trick is, there needs to be a 3/8ths inch space between the inch long board and the larger board, and there should be a quarter of an inch lip around each side of the paper. So that's an extra half inch. So it should be the length of the paper, plus 1/2 an inch, minus 1 3/8ths inches. I just do it by sight, lining up the boards, measuring out the spaces, and marking where I need to cut. Cut out two of them!

Step 5 - Sand the book board down
I'm sure you've noticed by now that when you use an exact knife, or a box cutter to cut the book board, it leaves you a nice, thick burr on one side of the board. The best part is, it works like a wood board. You can sand that sucker down! A sanding block works wonders, but all I can afford is some sand paper. I'd suggest doing it out side because the dust is obnoxious to all things sinus. I tried to get a picture of the burr, but I think it just looks like a shadow.

If the boards are just a bit off, sanding them down would be easier than cutting them as well.

Step 6 - Book Cloth Time!
Get out your book cloth and measure out what you will need. You can use book cloth in four ways.  

The four different ways to bind a book are, using book cloth for the whole book. There will be no decorative paper on a book done this way. Another way to do it is book cloth each side, leaving a space to put paper. (Remember, the paper needs to over lap the cloth to keep it from unraveling, don't give yourself too large a space if you only have a certain sized paper!) You can also use book cloth on the hinge edge and just the corners. Or, you can just choose to use the book cloth for only the hinge. 

You need to use book cloth at least for the hinge side (the inch piece and part of the larger main piece) because when you open and close the book it will wear away at that point. Paper is not as strong as book cloth, and will break down much faster. When you are spending this much time on a book, believe me, you want it to last for a very long time! As you can see, I went with cloth on both sides. This is called the half cloth method. I think it looks nice. I decided to make both sides equal, but I'm kind of regretting it now. You have to really think about balance and design, and one side is going to have hinges, breaking up the balance I was going for. 

Here is the back of the book cloth with everything measured out. You need a half an inch around the edge, and 3/8ths of an inch space between the two. I like to pencil everything in so I know where to put the board once I have glue all over it. It really does help. I don't have the other end piece of book cloth, it just has the half inch edges marked out. Remember! if your book board is four inches wide, you need five inches of book cloth. it's half an inch on /each/ side. 

Step 7 - Let's Glue

Here is a picture of the glue I use! I usually brush it on. I keep water and a rag near by as well, since it dries that quickly.

Step 8 - Clamping and Pressing
I've been using two pieces of masonite and book clamps to hold things flat while they are drying. This step is important, because without it, things will dry with lumps and divits and waves. Here I show how I am lining up the two pieces of book board with a strait edge, and how afterward I'm clamping everything down.

After the main part dries, put glue in the corners and fold, and then put glue on the sides and fold over again. I press it after I glue that as well, but it dries pretty quickly.

Step 9 - Decorative Paper
Here is the two pieces of book board with the book cloth glued on well, and there is also the paper I chose for this project. Now, the size of this paper should be an inch larger than the width of the book board (1/2 inch for each side) and enough to overlap the book cloth by about an 1/8 or 1/4 of an inch. Since I will be embellishing this with another paper, I made it almost the exact length of the opening.

After you cut it out, glue and press.

Step 10 - Embellishments
I cut out gold strips of paper to glue on, and took a photo of the back of the board. You can see how everything is folded over, and how you can see the hinge. Next comes the end sheets!

Step 11 - End Sheets
As end sheets are supposed to be decorative, you want to choose something different than the paper you are binding together. I chose this really nice handmade rice paper with all sorts of little speckles in it. you want to cut it out to be the same size of the paper you're binding.

To glue it in, I glue the board, and the brush glue around the edge. This makes it much easier on me. You may find gluing the whole paper is easier for you. 

My paper was very thin, and needed a lot of clamping.

Step 12 - Putting it all together

This part angers me, and I have no trick for it. I am very anal retentive and it has to be perfect. I can spend a whole bloody hour trying to stack the paper and book boards together. I'm still working on this right now.

Step 13 - Drilling the holes

I am using a regular drill, but a drill press is where it's at. The bit I'm using looks to be about 3/16ths of an inch. That way those posts can fit through the hole. The first time I drilled, the first hole worked out okay, and the second hole became wonky. To try and counteract that, I'm drilling a pilot hole first. I just picked out a thin drill bit to run through my marks first. This drilling is a pain in the butt, because until you figure out exactly what works for you, all your hard work can go up in a whirl of torn paper and tears with the push of a button. :'(

Step 14 - Screwing the posts in (hehehe)

If you get holes drilled, this is pretty easy. It takes smaller posts than you might think. I always keep an assortment on hand.

Step 15 - DONE

This is the part where you take your book to another person and go, "Look! I made it!" Or blog about it. Or start journaling. Or looking at it and wondering if you could ever use such an awesome book. Or you can start on your next one. Or, you might be having to take it into class where the teacher will break apart everything you did into bite size chunks of guilt and shame as he points out every drop of glue, every pencil mark, every bent page, and ever wrinkle.

That might have just been me though @_@

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial! If you have any questions let me know and I'll be happy to answer them. I know I didn't cover everything (like the difference between paper corners and fabric corners and how bookboard thickness affects the process) but if you run into problems, drop me a line and I'll do my best to help!

Happy bookbinding! (Believe me, you'll need the reminder)