I had every intention of spending the whole weekend in my workroom cooking up something new and fantastic. We have some very exciting exhibition opportunities planned for the next year and it's not too early to start getting to grips with new work. Unfortunately everything conspired against me. The garden was the worst offender. Never turn your back on courgette plants for a week in August!! What should have been tender little fingers of deliciousness had so loved the warm weather and frequent showers they'd swollen to mammoth proportions and me being so mindful of waste had to make soup. Lots of soup! The freezer is beginning to groan with it all but we'll be glad enough come autumn. As an antidote to the time spent slaving in the kitchen I did finally make my escape to start a new altered book.
Now I know those of you who were raised by parents who discouraged scribbling in books will surely not approve of such defacement but I make no apologies. I love to take an existing book and make it my own. I was never the sort to write notes in the margins when I was a student so I'm not sure how I've become so liberated.
I'm starting by eliminating all the stuff I don't want to keep - the modern photographs and the text. The pages are a soft creamy colour so I've added a squirt of yellow ochre to my white gesso and applied it in a rough layer thick enough to almost obliterate the original images and words. The hint of ochre will also suggest age.
Some of the illustrations are gorgeous and will be kept. Pomegranates are one of my favourites, beautiful to look at but in my experience, very difficult to paint! I don't mind a hint of text remaining visible but will consider adding more paint and/or gesso as I work through the book.
Many images have been cropped to fit the page layout or they've been framed in a little box, but I plan to fill in any gaps created by the labelling and extend the images by drawing into them. The gesso will provide a lovely surface for the drawing.
Being impatient to make some progress, I couldn't wait for individual pages to dry before moving onto the next - hence the improvisation with the water pot and gesso tub. Note to self - make sure to move pots before they glue themselves to the acrylic!!
I'm looking forward to filling these pages with lots of drawing and painting - I hope you'll drop by again soon to see how that goes.
PS I can't even begin to tell you about the cucumber situation - he who gardens presented me with 10 yesterday! Needless to say we are having Raita with everything and anyone who pays us a visit leaves with at least one. My poor mother left with 2 this afternoon and she doesn't even like cucumber!