Monday, October 21, 2013

If Dorothy Kept a Travel Journal

If Dorothy had kept a travel journal from her trip to Oz, what would she have tucked inside? Possibly a map of her over-the-rainbow travels, and maybe a keepsake or two from her friends.  Those are the kinds of thing I would have kept.

So when tasked with creating altered book pages on a Wizard of Oz theme, that's exactly where my imagination took me.  Using a map I found online and altering it with pens, spray inks and chalk, I followed along with the events of the story and traced Dorothy's route from the fateful spot where her house pulverized the Wicked Witch of the East, through the forests and fields along the Yellow Brick Road.  Highlights of her trip (places where she met each of her three friends, the poppy field, the land of Oz, Glinda's castle and the Wicked Witch's haunted abode) are all marked so she can look back fondly and remember.

And of course she'd want to keep mementos of her Tin Man's ticking heart, Scarecrow's diploma, and that little shot of courage for Lion.  (The original book did have him taking a swig of courage rather than wearing a medal.)  Each of these trinkets tuck into a little pocket behind the map.

I created a crackle finish on the heart with a thick coating of Elmers Glue-All, sandwiched between two layers of acrylic paint.  The bottle is a painted cardboard die cut, with a label I created in Photoshop, and Scarecrow's diploma was created in MS Word.

I've always had a fondness for mapmaking, even though I'm fairly ineffective at following them. I love seeing a story laid out in front of me; it makes me feel as if I could take just one tiny step and enter an entirely different world of imagination--even if it is ruled by wicked witches and imposter wizards.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Five on Friday, October 11

It's a grey, misty day outside here in Manhattan -- the kind of day that makes one think of trench coats and umbrellas, windshield wipers, slick cobblestones and peering into a cozy restaurant through a window.  I don't mind days like these now and then; it makes it easy to stay inside to read and drink coffee without feeling that I should be doing something out in the sunshine.

I've been thinking a lot about the upcoming holidays, and I realize that the single thing I love best about them is sharing the day with my family. I don't care about gifts or cards or decorating the way I used to - in fact, last year I made no cookies at all and barely decorated.  I wonder what it would be like to just do what we really wanted at the holidays?  I'd volunteer somewhere, buy gifts for the truly needy, listen to holiday music beginning at Halloween, and see my loved ones without the pressure of finding the perfect gift. Hmmm.  What would your perfect holiday be like, if there were no have-to's?

I went to see Gravity this week.  Not in 3D.  Not in iMax. And not very impressive without all those extras.  The story itself - meh - for my taste, too many perils thrown in just for the sake of suspense.  I didn't care about the characters and at first blush it felt like the special effects were there to spice up a story lacking in substance.  HOWEVER, I've heard it's all about the 3D and iMax, so I'm going to see it again and try to experience the feeling of being in outer space. Readjusted expectations, and maybe I'll enjoy it.   Seems like many others did.

I finished a YA book called The Fault in Our Stars. Do you read any YA books?  This one was about two teenagers with cancer, and I read it all in a day.  What I liked -- it realistically portrayed both the usual teenage angst and anxiety about friendships and romance and relationships with parents, while at the same time it never strayed far from the interruption of cancer's cold hand. The conversation was a little slick for me, as if each character had a witty-repartee button pressed on their dialogue, but I was easily able to excuse that since it brought each character to life in a very vivid way - like upping the color intensity in a photo edit.

It was a quieter week for me, so I've been able to do some artwork, if you're interested.

These pictures are my journal for the medieval fabric journal group. My theme is the commedia dell'arte, a theatrical troupe that performed both on streets and in palaces. The commedia characters were very well defined by their behavior, costumes and masks, and audiences everywhere enjoyed their antics.

I made a little booklet explaining the genre and describing the various characters and the performances and tucked it into a pocket inside the front cover.

The centerfold of my folio is a scene from one of the shows, freeform embroidered and edged with black and gold lace.

Masks like the one below are now made and sold throughout some parts of Italy, a glance backward to the medieval theater days.

The cover of my book shows a small part of the larger image inside, nestled behind red satin curtains.

Below are two watercolor pages for a friend's journal. She asked us each to contribute suggestions for her upcoming trip to Italy.  In Venice, I especially loved the courtyards hidden inside the winding alleys.  Hundreds of years old and surrounded by all the neighboring apartments, I could almost hear the voices of countless generations meeting here as they pumped their morning water.

My husband and I spent many happy hours in Florence sitting outside at the Piazza Della Republicca's Caffe Gilli,  a institution of culinary delight dating back to the 1700s.  People watching doesn't get any better, sipping limoncello and snacking while watching the carousel and the colorful characters passing by on the piazza.  (I especially enjoyed the naked man standing in the window for an afternoon stretch...)

And finally, I've started creating altered coffee sleeves for a swap in my Blissfully Art Journaling group. I'm loosely interpreting these sweet angel babies as a Christmas theme. Why not?

Have a great week!!