Day 5: 2012 - The Sketchbook of 2011

I've talked about it off and on over the last few months: The Sketchbook Project run by the ArtCoop in New Jersey.  The final product from 2011 is due on January 31st.  Nancie Johnson and I ran a "Conversation" in watercolor, sending pages back and forth from California to New Jersey, having a transcontinental "talk". 

I'm now frantically binding the project into a book since there's no way at all that our project will fit into the original Sketchbook.  The rules were that you could rebind, redo in any way at all as long as the original measurements of 5" x 7" held.  Our book is going to be about 3/4 of an inch thick, with photos and envelopes and some kind of tie to hold the whole thing shut.

I've been dreaming about this, pondering this, wandering through the Dick Blick store's supply of bookbinding kits, went to a class there about making journals.......

I feel like I have a huge high school/college exam coming up that I need to cram for!

So tonight I started in on it.

Two pieces of thick chip board, cut to 5x7 size by my friends at Anthony's Framing in San Marino, California.  They are the nicest group of men, always so willing to help me!

Then I covered the chip board with a nonspecific gift wrap paper, creating a spine at the same time.

This is what the outside looks like at this moment.

I'm using a bookbinding product, gummed linen tape, to create the hingeing in this project.  I used it to make the spine, thinking that it's a pretty sturdy product.  You can see it in picture one.

I'm messing with our photographs.  Nancie sent me a picture of herself that she painted several years ago.  It looks as if it was a photoshop image (which she didn't think was very nice of me to say) so I asked her to photoshop the photo of me so that we'd look kind of alike.

So she took this photo and changed it to this:

And then I cut them down the middle to see if I could create a combined person and have it look anything but really weird.  It's not all that bad but I don't think I'll use it.  I think I'll use full size photos that have been photoshopped.

Still working hard on it.  Gotta get it finished tomorrow as the weekend is taken up with a 40th anniversary celebration.  Our adult children are driving in from San Francisco and taking us out to dinner.  Whoopee! 

Day 4: 2012

There's a painting blog I've been following for about a month now.  A man, James Gurney, who dreamed up and illustrated Dinotopia, a book I've loved ever since the first time I saw it.  I've asked permission of him to use parts of his blog in mine and then I thought that everyone who is interested should just subscribe to his emails themselves and enjoy his take on painting as I am.

james gurney, himself

Day 3: 2012

A friend of mine knew to start my day, today, Sunday the 8th of January, with, I think, one of the most beautiful things I've seen in years.  The site features motivational and educational speeches by famous people. I've seen some of them over the years, but today's presentation by Louie Schwartzberg on the subject of Gratitude brought tears to my eyes and wonderful thoughts to my brain.  I'd like all of you readers to watch this to the very end and then try to tell me that you weren't stunned by the beauty of his thoughts.

Open your hearts to the incredible gifts civilization gives to us.
Open your heart to expressiveness and let it flow through you that
Everyone who you will meet on the street will be blessed by you
Just by your eyes
Just by your smile
Just by your touch
Just by your presence
Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing one another
and then it will really be a good day.


I didn’t have much   money but I had time and a sense of wonder.
So I started shooting   time lapse photography
It would take me a   month to shoot a four minute roll of film because that is all I could afford
I’ve been shooting   time lapse flowers continuously, nonstop, 24 hours a day
7 days a week for over 30 years
And to see them move  is a dance I will never get tired of
Their beauty   immerses   us in color, taste and touch
It also provides a third of the food we eat
Beauty and seduction is nature’s tool for survival because we protect what we fall in love with
It opens our heart and makes us realize we are a part of nature and we are not separate from it
It also connects us, every one of us because it’s clear that it is all connected and one
It you could see my images you might say
“Oh my god”
Have you ever wondered what that meant
Oh means it caught your attention and made you present, makes you mindful
The my means that it connects with something deep within your soul
A gateway for your inner voice to rise up and be heard
And god, god is that personal journey we all want to be on, to be inspired, to feel like we are coonected to a universe that celebrates life
Did you know that 80% of the information we receive comes through our eyes
And if you compare light images to musical scales it would only be one octave that the naked eye could see which is right in the middle
And aren’t we grateful for our brains
That can take this electrical impulse that comes from light images to create images in order for us to explore our world
And aren’t we grateful that we have hearts that can feel the vibrations in order forus to allow ourselves to feel the pleasure and the beauty of nature
Nature’s beauty is a gift to cultivate appreciation and gratitude
Part of the gift I want to share with you today is a project I’m working on called “Happiness Revealed” and it will give us a glimpse into that perspective from the point of view of a child and an elderly man of that world.

You think this is just another day in your life
It’s not just another day
It’s the one day that’s given to you today
It is given to you
It is a gift
It’s the only gift that you have right now
And the only appropriate response is gratefulness
If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift of this unique day
If you learn to respond as if it were the first day of your life and the very last day
Then you will have spent this day very well.
Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open
That incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us
For pure enjoyment
Look at the sky
We so rarely look at the sky
We so rarely note how different it is from moment to moment of clouds coming and going
We just think of the weather
And even with the weather we don’t think of all the many nuances that make it up
We just think of good weather and bad weather
This day, right now, it is unique weather
Maybe a kind of view that is never exactly in that form again
Formation of clouds in the sky will never be the same ever again
Open your eyes look at that
Look at the faces of people whom you meet
Each one has an incredible story behind their face
A story that you could never fully fathom
Not only their own story but the story of their ancestors
We all go back so far
And with this present moment, on this day,
All the people you meet
All that life from generations
And from so many places from all over the world
Flows together and makes you
Like a life giving water if you would only open up your heart and drink
Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us
We flip a switch and there is electric light
You turn on a faucet and there is warm water and cold water
And drinkable water
It’s a gift that millions and millions in this world will never experience
And these are just a few of the enormous number of gifts to which we can open our heart
So I’m wishing that you would open your heart to expressiveness
And let them flow through you
That everyone who you will meet on the street will be blessed by you
Just by your eyes
By your smile
By your touch
Just by your presence
Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing one another
Then it will really be a good day.

other videos by Louie Schwartzberg: