Monday, February 28, 2011

Panel Book Tutorial

A number of you have expressed interest in the Panel Book, so I finally got my act together enough to take a few photos and post a tutorial. This is not my invention, and I learned it from Elissa Campbell, at Blue Roof Designs, who contributed a gorgeous example to my book, Adventures in Mixed Media. Here's what you do:

1. Cut a piece of watercolor or other heavy paper 8"x22". Fold a 1/2" tab on one end; then measure three 7" sections and make folds at the three 7" marks. This should give you another 1/2" tab at the other end of the sheet of paper. You can cut an angle at the top and bottom of the 1/2" tabs if you like. Here is what it looks like:

Click on the diagram, or any of the photos, to get a larger image.

It is 8" high, so each panel is 8"x7", and each tab extends 1/2" at each end.

2. Repeat. Now you have two accordion pieces each with three panels. Here is how it looks folded:

3. Before joining the two accordion pieces, giving you a 6-panel book, mark and cut each panel according to the diagram:

The fold line is in the MIDDLE of the 7" panel.
First mark it like this with a pencil:

Then cut on the red lines indicated in this diagram:

Here is what it looks like, cut but not folded yet:

4. Now fold at the fold lines, but not on the panel itself. I do this by folding the page so that the creases on either side line up, leaving the panel flat.

Here is what it looks like standing up after you've folded it:

5. Repeat the marking, cutting, and folding on all six panels. You may want to mark them all first, then cut them all, then fold. In any case, you end up with two accordion folds, each with three panels.

6. Join the two accordions together by cutting one tab off of ONE of them. Glue the tab of the other to the non-tabbed end of the first one. Make sure your panels are all lining up the same way.

7. Make two book boards that are 8.25" tall x 5.5" wide. Cover one side with decorative paper (I'm not including instructions for that here. If you need them, e-mail or leave a comment). Cut end papers (or cover linings) that are 1/4" smaller than the book boards, 8"x5.25". Check to make sure they fit. BEFORE gluing down the end papers, glue the end tabs of your accordion onto the book boards. The tabs are sandwiched between the book board and the end paper. Maybe these photos will make it clear. Here's a top view:

And a view from inside the back cover:

And here is a top view of the finished book, showing off the panel configuration.

Let me know if any of this needs further explanation. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Gallery

Thanks to all of you who commented on and e-mailed me about my Working in Series post. Glad it was helpful to some of you, and I love your ideas! Yesterday I added a new GALLERY to my web site dedicated to small works. There are only a few so far that have not been posted on the blog, but I'll add to it periodically. Thanks for visiting!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Working in Series

I've been corresponding with a friend on the west coast who has recently begun her collage journey. She is gathering materials, reading books and blogs, taking workshops, getting information and inspiration online, and trying to find her own way in paint-collage-mixed media. Like a lot of us, she seems to get stuck in over-thinking each piece, and I find myself saying frequently: make MORE like that! Choose your materials or theme or images or whatever, and then DO LOTS AND LOTS of small pieces. In other words, I am suggesting that working in a series encourages you to break out of the over-thinking and preciousness of individual pieces, and think of it as a longer term process. Does any of this sound familiar? So here is a small example from my own worktable. I decided to explore the idea of using neutral colors - browns, beige, black, off-white, and see what I could come up with in a series of grid-based abstract collages.

The materials I used included these magazine images from National Geographic:
And some of my stained tissue papers, as well as some found text and dress pattern paper:
The collage studies are all approximately 5"x7". These are just that: studies. I have begun an almost daily practice of doing a few of these every day, using collage and paint. It's a simple and approachable format, and keeps my eye in practice.

The papers are cut and torn, and I used acrylic matte medium to adhere them as well as for a top coat.
Even though I thought I would use paint in these studies, I ended up using collage only.
Now they go in my pile of "collage studies", some of which I will continue to work on, and some not.Since I began doing these small studies on a regular basis, I've thought it would be really fun to get together with other artists - in person or in cyberspace - and do a "Collage-Athon", maybe spending a whole day making small collage studies. Or making ten-a-day for a given period of time; or making 100 collages in a given period of time... just a thought kicking around back there. If you have any suggestions around this, please let me know. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Art and Soul!!!!

I am thrilled to announce that I will be teaching Scribble Collage at Art and Soul this fall in Portland, Oregon. On Thursday, September 29 I'll be teaching a full-day session, in which we make loads of gorgeous scribble-painted papers and then make collages with them.

A few scribble collage studies from a student in a recent workshop:

The evening session, "Scribble Paint" will be a condensed version, in which we make the gorgeous papers, but not collage.

There will be so many fabulous classes offered at Art and Soul this fall; check out some of these fine teachers:Link
Janne Robberstad is teaching Machine Embroidered Birds and Fabric Portraits.
Stephanie Rubiano is teaching FOUR different workshop; check them out.
Elizabeth Kettle is teaching is teaching THREE different workshop is fabric and mixed media. Click here for her blog.
Ingrid Dijkers is teaching THREE workshops in art journaling.
I can't wait to meet Ingrid, as she has several pieces in my new book.
Marcia Schultz
Kari McKnight-Holbrook is teaching THREE workshops in mixed media.
Karen O'Brien is teaching Block Party, making small scale art with loads of mixed media techniques.
Glenny Moir organizes the whole thing!

Hope you can join us!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Advance Copy

I finally got my advance copy of Adventures in Mixed Media, and I am happy to report that it looks terrific. Nice color reproduction; the book design is awesome; I'm always impressed with the work of my photographers, John Polak and George Bouret. The official release date is April 26, but you can pre-order the book from Amazon if you like. I will bring copies to Art Unraveled in August, and Art and Soul in September to make them available as well. Here are a few sneak previews.

Making a simple pamphlet-stitch book:
Remember these paper bags?
I did a chapter that includes making these shrines from foam core. The gorgeous one on the right is Carol Owen's; she is the inspiration for this project.
This chapter on Fusion, Fabric, and Fiber opens with a photo of Sue Bleiweiss's fabulous tea pot:
A couple of my own fusion fabric pieces:
There is a chapter on Mixed Media Dolls. The doll in the upper right of the left page is by Ingrid Dijkers.
And here is some eye candy from the chapter on books and boxes: paper mosaic with paper gems and glue gems. All the sparkle and glitz you could stand.
Thanks for visiting! Don't forget to check out the Sketchbook Challenge blog.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Collage Studies

I took some of my stained papers and made a few 5"x5" collage studies. I chose a fairly neutral palette - browns, beige, muted red, black and of course my quinacridone gold. First, here are a few of the papers, not just neutrals, close up so you can see the beautiful markings that the wrinkles make. This green sheet is full size, 12"x18".

And this is a close up of the quinacridone gold:
The buff is full-size:
The orange-yellow is a close up. On this one I painted part of it with diluted orange, and part with yellow. I love the way it came out.
Here are a few more of my collage studies. I tried adding just tiny bits of contrasting colors, in this case, bright ultramarine blue:
This one has just a tiny horizontal line of blue at the bottom of the black shape on the left.

I added a bit of turquoise to this one, but it's pretty subtle.
I continue my experiments with the stained tissue papers. one very nice thing about them is that, unlike colored tissue paper that you buy, the colors are lightfast and they do not bleed. I get the tissue paper in packs of fifty sheets, 12"x18" from Dick Blick.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Staining Papers

A lot of collage artists paint/decorate/stain their own papers to use in their work. I was first introduced to this idea by Gerald Brommer in his book Collage Techniques, my very first book on collage. I continue to develop techniques to use in my scribble-painted papers, learning from others and modifying to suit my tastes and needs. Recently I bought a video workshop by Carrie Burns Brown that demonstrates her process of staining tissue papers (and much more) for collage. Tissue paper is great for collage because you can see all the layers through its translucency. I'd been ironing tissue paper to freezer paper in order to give it the necessary stiffness for painting on. Carrie simply paints them with diluted fluid acrylics, and once they are dry they have a little body. I added Golden's GAC-500 medium to my stains (experiment with rations of water to paint; mine is about 1:1 to 2:1), or you could add a little gloss medium, just to give it a bit more body. One drawback is that the papers take a while to dry. A few hours or overnight, depending on how much stain you put on them. Cover your table with white plastic garbage bags before staining the tissue papers.

This is one I stained with quinacridone gold (my all-time favorite paint) plus a little black. You an see how the tissue wrinkles when it's wet. I spritzed it with a little Glimmer Mist on this one before it dried.

I love how translucent tissue papers are! The wrinkles show up in the paper once it's dry. I actually ironed some of mine, between two sheets of parchment.
More on this as I work on ways to further decorate the papers and use them in my work. Carrie's video has much much more and she gives lots of tips on her materials and processes. I may use these papers in fabric-paper as well as collage. I will keep you posted. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tearing Pages

In the spirit of experimentation, I tried tearing a few of my sketchbook pages in two, then tearing same blank pages in the same way and switching them. You may have seen my post on the Sketchbook Challenge blog about my Color Collage Pages. I had a sort of break-through with them, and it was a lot of fun. So what could be more fun than tearing them apart?
Very liberating! Here is the purple page, glued to a torn blank page:
And here is the orange and blue page glued to a blank page with some painting and drawing:
I first filled in some areas with watercolor (not my usual medium), then did the drawing BLIND, yes, with my eyes closed, with a gel pen. I opened my eyes to make that top left shape into a chicken. I knew those chickens would show up somewhere! If you are afraid of drawing, try it with your eyes closed. It gives you a lovely sensation of movement, contact with the paper, slowness or speed. Let me know if you've ever tried this, or if you have any other tips for the drawing-challenged. Thanks for visiting.

PS: My new revised web site is up today.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Happy February! Did everyone check out the new theme on the Sketchbook Challenge? Opposites, presented by Laura Cater-Woods. I can't wait to start!

February might be a good time to start thinking about summer - for me it is, anyway - so if you are looking for an art retreat in a low-key, supportive, and focused atmosphere, consider my Collage Journeys in Vermont.
August 15 – 19, 2011

Join me, Jane Davies, for a five-day adventure in collage and mixed media at my studio in beautiful rural Rupert, Vermont.

This workshop, based on my books “Collage Journeys” and “Adventures in Mixed Media” will take you on a journey exploring diverse avenues for tapping into your creative wellspring of ideas and images. You will draw and paint with abandon, tearing up the results to make beautiful collage compositions, learn techniques for sketchbook journal, discover the evocative possibilities of text and images relationships, develop personal visual and iconographic vocabularies, and much more. You will come away from this workshop with

· Greater confidence in your expressive capabilities
· New skills and techniques for creating meaningful art
· A sense of your own creative potential through collage and mixed media
· A set of practices for keeping your creative skills honed
· Several finished projects

We will take some time for projects of individual interest, and the studio is open 24 hours for your use. Some materials will be provided, though I will provide a supply list as well.

Housing and Meals

I will send each student a list of accommodations in the area*. There are many charming B&B’s and inns within fifteen minutes of my studio, at a variety of price ranges. Lunch will be provided each day of the workshop and is included in the fee.

Cost: $475, includes tuition, lunch, and some materials.

Contact me for more information or to register.

*I can rent a guest house just kitty corner from my studio which has 4 beautiful bedrooms plus 2 full baths, one half bath. If four of you want to commit to this, I'll take a deposit and rent it. Likewise, there is a rental next door which accommodates three. Either of these options would likely be cheaper, closer, and much nicer than anything else in the area. Please let me know EARLY if you are interested.
This is the guest house rental: wrap around porch, screened in shady patio....

A few comments from Collage Journeys 2010:
I am so inspired to create now that I have returned from my art retreat, Collage Journeys, in Rupert, Vermont. Being with Jane her in person far exceeds anything that could ever be learned in a book (But buy “Collage Journeys” anyway….it’s fantastic!) Not only was her studio so welcoming and easy to work in, but Jane is a host beyond compare! The workshop was….in a word, PERFECT! - Marianne Mullen
Jane’s teaching moved me ahead in the work I am trying to do. Now I feel free to use paint and rip things up and cover things. I always wondered how people got those interesting layered backgrounds for collages, and now I know some ways. It was great to try things I had only read about in her excellent book, “Collage Journeys”. Sometimes I feel my work is out in left field, compared to what others are doing, because I just go my own way and follow my own leading, but I felt that Jane understood what I am attempting to do, and that meant a lot to me. - Deborah Simmerman

I have been painting and pasting and tearing and cutting this afternoon and can't help but think of you. Back home, working alone, I am beginning to see how much I learned during the workshop. It was more than I'd expected and I want to thank you again for sharing your home and studio, your experience and knowledge and most of all, you. - Connie Rosenthal