On this rainy day I headed straigth to a hut in the woods. There was this typical laundry kind of smell in the air,temperatures well over 10°C and high moisture. The woodpeckers where very busy, but also other birds. I could identify a new bird, a warbler To work protected on the porch of the big hut was a kind of luxury, sitting in the dry makes the rain even more lovely. As usual I worked my way from the sky and distant background forward to the foreground.
I spent some time following a small brook in an ash forest. There is always a lot to see when a stream of water can meander freely, it has become a rare situation in our heavily used landscapes. Outside of the woods water streams are regulated and their natural way has been straightened. The reflections of the tree trunks in the moving water formed an almost psychedelic picture.
The cold temperatures were back again and the pages were flooded with water. This time I tested the nonwoven cloth and put it between the wet pages before closing the book to carry it home. The result was not bad. As one could expect the nonwoven took up the moisture and accordingly some very fresh coloured parts were lost. I think that waiting 5-10 minutes after the last brush strokes will make a big difference. The paper adhered to the vlies, but it could be removed without damage. I am thinking of another session on this site as the sketch looks a bit unfinished. On the other hand I like as a colour note.
This one was meant to be part of the postcard exchange “Postcard from my walk”, but I managed to ruin it by impatience. Instead to wait until the Oberförster landscape had dried I needed to apply a nice layer of thinned acrylic varnish on top which ruined it as the gouache enthusiasticly mixed with the varnish. Luckily I had taken two shots with my phone camera before and thus I am able to proudly present this forest kitsch dyptich.
It was already raining a bit when I left home. First birds could be heard, especially the woodpeckers were very busy, spring is coming soon. I sat down in a dark, young douglas fir and spruce tree forest. Green algae covered some of the trunks and contrasted with the dark wet bark. The wind was roaring way up in the tree tops under grey sky.
I got quite a bit of a problem to bring the sketch home. The paper was flooded with color washes and the rain was getting harder. No chance to walk with the open sketchbook. Finally I decided to close the book with a wooden stick between the pages, which was not clever this time. I had to do a bit of repair at home, fix the broken page with tape and revive the trees in the center of the book.
In future I will have a nonwoven cleaning cloth with me to be placed between wet pages. I hope it will absorb the moist color and thus will avoid the mess I got today.
The rain left nice structures on the sheet, I like the washed out look. There is a lot of potential in these unfinished sketches,which I want to explore this summer in a more detailed landscape book in same format. In summer the gouache dries way too fast for my taste, perhaps I will take a spray can with water with me.
My enthusiasm for keeping sketchbook diaries has been put into a micro website “The sketchbook a creative diary” some time ago. Recently I found an interesting addition on the web log of artist Elva Paulson. The blog is named “Elva’s field notes”, which resonated with me immediately. Read here about the insights and tips she shares in thoughts on keeping a journal.
I keep several journals or sketchbooks at the same time. One is the forest diary,another one is dedicated to ink landscape drawing and one is for small gouache landscapes. Another one is the daily work book which I use fo all sorts of notes,drawings and sketches. Finally I have a big journal without text and I do not draw or paint into it. The content of that book is a collection of paper scraps , which I cut into a certain format and assembled in certain color schemes.
Recently I ordered two private photo books from blurb. One small square and one in standard landscape size. Both books had 160 pages and hundreds of images, hardcover with dust jacket and the paper was premium quality.
Packing was very good, nevertheless the landscape format book was slightly damaged on one edge. I suppose the reason was that the printer glued both books which were packed in separate boxes in different size together to one package. Therefore the cartons had to buffer twice the weight as for a single book.
At first sight I was very pleased until I started to read through the landscape format book. The last pages in the book came off from the page stack. The glue binding was weak.
I filed the complaint with a photograph per mail and 8 days later I received the re-print via fedex express from the Dutch printer already.
This time the book was not damaged and there were no loose pages yet. The yet is a big yet because the design flaw which I consider the reason for the weak binding was not changed of course.
A comparison with the small square format illustrates that. Whereas in the small format book the page stack is inserted about 7 mm into the hardcover the larger standard landscape version inserts it only by ca. 3.5 mm.
In the small square version the back of the page stack is protected, on the standard landscape format it is exposed to strong mechanical forces. Therefore it seems only natural to me that the pages tend to get loose from the ends of the page stacks in that format.
As a result I have to treat the landscape book as”raw egg”. I did this purchase as a test. I plan a nice book on monotype printing. The idea to use the standard landscape format for this project is dead for the time being. The alternative, the small square format does not fit to the project and also the price is rather high, the much bigger standard landscape format is only slightly more expensive.
Two years ago I had ordered a book in standard landscape format and was impressed by the firm binding that was supported by sewing stitches. From the FAQ I learned that hardcover books with less than 120 pages are side sewn instead of the so called “perfect binding” , which is nothing but the weak glued (lumback) binding. My conclusion : Do not order hardcover books with more than 120 pages on BLURB.
Based on my experience with Blurb since August 2008 I will continue to use only softcover versions in standard landscape format for book projects with up to 80-100 pages and the black and white paperback version with softcover. The latter one is my favorite as it is a low cost product and has never let me down (My pamphlet about drawing trees is a blurb paper back). If I ever have the time I want to do a graphic novel in that format.
Blurb has made progress and I would bet that they will adress the problem as they did with Paypal. I hope it will not take years again. For all those who are interested in POD book printing I commend to have an eye on the Blurb blog. There are plans to go digital for the IPAD and that might be a very interesting option for the near future too.