Collaboration book 3 – A Dog’s Life

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The 5-way international book collaboration is steadily moving on, and I have now completed my pages for the third of the five books. This one is from Cathe in Minnesota, and her theme is A Dog’s Life, but she has extended it to encompass all pets. I grew up with a dog, but don’t have one now, so I have reverted to when I was growing up on a farm in the UK where we were surrounded by cats which I loved. Most were wild farm cats, but there were quite a few who made themselves house cats, or who were willing to be friendly while keeping their distance from the house. I have chosen 3 of them to draw, all gingers. Orlando was named after Orlando the Marmalade Coloured Cat from a series of wonderful children’s books, Hector was a farm cat, big and tough and Albert was a sweet and gentle cat who took refuge in the house well away from the rough and tumble of the farm yard. I drew them in pen and ink, and added a watercolour wash to give a sense of nostalgia and memory.

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Cathe’s dog Cooper
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Karen’s dog Rosie

Visit the other contributors to this project: To see the works as they progress, all of us (except Gale) are on Instagram: karenbaileystudio, cathejacobi, rebeccacaryandersonart, and me anna_warren_portfolio, Gale is at sticksstonesnpaperstew here on WordPress.

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Next collaboration book – Garden Life

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The international collaboration is moving on another step. I received Karen’s concertina book from Melbourne about a month ago and have now completed my contribution, so today will be sending the book on its way to Rebecca in Sweden. From there it will go to Gale in Oregon, then Cathe in Minnesota. (Click on their names for links to their blogs. All of us except Gale are also on Instagram at Anna, Karen, Rebecca and Cathe.)

Karen’s theme was Garden Life, which encompasses all kinds of plants, animals, birds and insects, but I decided to stick with the Bird of Paradise flower which was in full flower at the time I was looking for inspiration around the garden.

This plant is huge and very old, it was well-established when we moved to this house 35 years ago, so is probably over 40 years old, and it dominates the front garden. I feel it has been a constant companion for that time, watching over us, seeing our girls grow from babies to mothers themselves, so it is significant, as well as being exotic and beautiful. The seedheads have a form that fascinates me too, see here and here for recent drawings. I did this drawing in coloured pencil.

Karen has done an amazing amount of work on this book, making not only a front page cover but a box as well. It is created in her typical style, strong, beautiful forms and rich colours, it is a real pleasure to look at!

So now it will be heading towards Sweden for Rebecca to add her hand to the book! I can’t wait to see what is next!

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The front of the box
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Front cover
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Karen’s spread
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My spread

Small concertina collaboration

The two-part collaboration project with my friend Sue continues – more portraits (see here for previous post) are being done, and the four small concertinas continue to grow. Each has a theme of its own – the garden, household objects, landscape and toys. The one I have found most challenging was the landscape one, but a challenge is good for the brain, and I am happy with my contributions so far!

The first two books (garden and household objects) are bought ones, made by Sennelier – I found them in an art shop sale, couldn’t resist them and when Sue and I agreed to do the concertina collaboration they were perfect for the job. The other two I made, they are the same size, 15 x 9.5 cm, with board ends and folded 250gsm watercolour paper for the pages.

The way it works, we each do a drawing or painting on a double spread, leaving a little bit of the image hanging over to the next spread to anchor the following image. We have taken it in turns to be the starter, Sue started the garden and toys, I started the landscape and household objects ones. The subject matter has been very broad and ranging from very real to completely imaginary. We are working on both sides of the books.

Each one has been a joy to work on, and receiving them back from Sue I’m always excited and curious to see what she has done. Our styles work well together, and the ideas from each push the next forward.

I must apologise for the quality of the photos, I took them quickly before I packaged the books up to send to Sue for her next contribution and didn’t realise till too late that the focus wasn’t great on some of them, but hopefully you get the idea!

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Collaborating across the world

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Minnesota, Oregon, Stockholm, Melbourne and Sydney – five artists who have never met are collaborating across the world on a set of handmade books. In 2015 four of us collaborated on handmade books, and we overcame distance, trepidation and time to have a hugely successful result, and forged firm friendships in the process. So, we have decided to do it again, and this time invited one more artist, Rebecca from Stockholm to join us.

To make it a little different, this time each of us is making a concertina book, with a double page for each person, encased in a cover of our choice. The image on each spread will spill just a little on to the following one, for the next person to incorporate into their drawing or painting. The closed books will be approximately A5 in size, 210 x 150 mm, and the paper weight around 300 gsm, heavy enough to take whatever medium we apply. After a couple of initial hiccups, where we found some papers simply collapsed on the fold when watercolour was applied, we have all taken different approaches to solving this, reinforcing the back of the folds, or changing paper. I have decided to join the pages at the end when the book finally comes back to me, so have supplied the other artists with sheets of unfolded paper to work on.

We each chose our own theme for our book, but agreed to keep the themes within the realm of plants or animals (I think dogs will feature largely as I am the only non-dog owner among us, but I like to draw dogs so that will not be a problem!) My title is ‘Eat Me!’, and will be portraying any kind of edible plants, in any way that works! The title from Cathe in Minnesota is ‘A Dog’s Life’, Gale from Oregon has chosen ‘Yard Friends’, Rebecca from Stockholm is taking us on ‘A Walk in the Woods with a Friend’ and Karen in Melbourne is featuring ‘Garden Life’. All these titles conjure up so many ideas, I’m looking forward to them all. Karen’s book is with me, ready and waiting for the first mark. We each start our own books, then post them on to the next person, who will do her page, then send them on again, until they finally return to the instigator.

The cover of my book is made from a monotype print that I made just recently, it felt as though the imagery spoke to the idea of edible plants. The drawing was inspired by the display on a stall at London’s Borough Market, a treasure trove of interesting food, I loved the different shapes of the mushroom varieties, with the big red chili on top. It is mainly graphite pencil, but highlights of coloured pencil were added to enhance certain areas.

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To see the works as they progress, all of us (except Gale) are on Instagram: karenbaileystudio, cathejacobi, rebeccacaryandersonart, and me anna_warren_portfolio, Gale is at sticksstonesnpaperstew here on WordPress.