Sunday, April 18, 2010
Welcome to the fourth edition of The Pulse -- The State of the Art -- a survey in words and pictures of the online artist community. Nearly 150 artists have answered a list of questions which make up The Pulse. Their responses will be presented as a series of online and print projects. Secret Sunday was the first project and the links to all the secrets can be found on the sidebar of my blog. The Book Guild is the second project and Chapter 4 starts right now!
All artists participating in The Pulse were asked to name their favorite art books. The Book Guild will present this list, along with links, book reviews, giveaways, and interviews with many of your favorite authors. And as members of The Guild, I am hoping YOU will participate by leaving comments related to the books in each post - for example thoughts, book reviews, personal experiences, or a link back to your own blog posts that include artwork based on a project in the listed book.
Chapter 4: Lynne Perrella
When I think about mixed media art, one of the first names that comes to my mind is Lynne Perrella. And clearly the same is true for many of you. Of all the authors mentioned in the survey, Lynne was mentioned the most. I am not at all surprised as her books are unique, creative, inspirational, informative, beautifully photographed and well designed. I find myself going back to them frequently for both reference and inspiration.
Three of Lynne's books were sited in the survey. The most popular, Artists' Journals and Sketchbooks, was a favorite of azirca, Erin Perry, Roben Marie-Smith, Lyle Baxter, and Laura Pace. Laura adds "I have had this book since it came out in 2004 and I peruse it often! I find it a good source for inspiration that goes way beyond art journals."
The second book of Lynne's that was listed as a favorite was Alphabetica. Kathryn Antyr notes "This book features many artists and it is packed with lots of techniques and ideas."
Pam McKnight selected Art Making, Collections, and Obessessions , the third book of Lynne's that was mentioned, as a favorite.
Lynne is a pioneer in terms of mixed media. The force behind True Colors, Lynne continues to push the envelope as an artist and a role model. Having had the pleasure of taking two workshops from her, I can state first hand that she is a talented artist, a creative soul, an affirming person, and one of the most kind and generous individuals you could meet.
In Lynne's own words:
In 1968, I was eagerly looking for an entry-level job in an art department, and was sent by an employment agency to the offices of the Vogue Pattern Company. Soon, I was sitting across the desk from a woman who would become one of my most influential mentors and dearest friends, Pat Perry. Pat was about to embark on a two-year odyssey and bring a personal vision to reality. With her depth of experiences… working with the top couturiers in Paris, plus her vast knowledge of fashion and editorial marketing, and a thorough knowledge of construction and tailoring….she proposed to write “the ultimate sewing book”. In the highly-competitive, fast-moving world of publishing, she wanted to devote a significant period of time and resources to the task of creating a book that would redefine the genre and become the gold standard of sewing books.
I can still remember the moment when she turned in her swivel chair, and reached into a bottom desk drawer and pulled out a bundle, wrapped in a nest of dress patterns. She set it on the desk between us, and then peeled back the layers. Inside was her handmade “dummy” version of the Vogue Sewing Book. The outer housing was an orange slipcase, and the volume inside was filled with her own sketches plus ruled lines indicating text. She had selected an elegant ivory paper stock, imprinted in brown ink, with some of the headlines in a deep rust color. I had never seen a replica (or a “maquette”) of a book before, and had never given much thought to the “beginning” process of doing a manuscript or a published project. I had the great fortune of working for Pat for two years, and it was one of the best learning experiences of my life. And, sure enough, the published sewing book looked just like the handmade version she showed me during our first meeting. Her vision was realized, intact.
Years later, I had the opportunity to do my first book. (“Artists’ Journals & Sketchbooks”) Working in my art journals, I had redefined what I wanted to do with my artwork, and made the transition from commercial illustrator to mixed-media artist. The process of working in the journals, in a totally unguarded and unscripted way….after years of working “to assignment” and bending my ideas to suit a client or art director….was an important awakening. I felt a huge shift, from doing art that was “product” to doing work that was personal. Thinking back to Pat’s example, I realized that a book would be a wonderful vehicle for letting others know about this process and encouraging them to explore.
The idea of doing a “how to do it, step by step” project did not interest me, so the first assignment was to convince my publisher that I could impart a lot of information and motivation in other ways. I felt that inspiring examples of journals, from many respected colleagues (plus my own work), would provide a lot of inspiration and make the reader want to “go to their studio and MAKE something!”. Although I never needed to make a full-size replica version of my book, like Pat did, I constantly worked through my ideas with small thumbnail-sized layouts, called a “book map”.
Lynne adds: "I have kept the heavily-notated, revised, high-lighted, paper-clipped, and taped book maps of every book I have done, as visual 'souvenirs' of each project." And she was kind enough to share her book maps (as can be seen above and below) from her most recent book Art Making & Studio Spaces.
Book Map pages 132-133
Actual pages 132-133
Writing the book was a welcome challenge, and I eventually learned that writing is a discipline, just like running or body-building. The only way to keep fluid and lubricated is to just, well, do it. Whenever I would feel dull-witted or “fresh out of words” I would look around me, and see the mailing cartons full of art journals sent by Juliana Coles or Lynn Whipple or Teesha Moore, and I would get launched all over again. The personal nature of the books, so vivid, intense, and wonderfully-diverse, would excite me and the words erupted.
I experienced a lot of “dual” emotions while I was writing the book, and realized that there was a surprising number of push/pull balancing acts that take place. (not easy for a Capricorn, I can assure you!) On one hand, I always had to hold my personal vision of the book as the final arbiter of any decision about content or style, and yet (as a new author) I knew that advice and guidance from an experienced editor was invaluable. I eventually learned that being a strong advocate for the project is just part of my job, and I grew to love that role. I am sure that, at some subterranean level, I was guided by the memory of Pat holding firm to her vision of the Sewing Book, and always staying true to her vision. Also, I realized that “objectivity” was completely out-of-the-question, and surprisingly unnecessary. I discovered that my mission was to be passionate, energized and committed to the subject of art journals, and to drive that enthusiasm across the Finish Line.
It often takes months for the first “author’s copy” of a published book to be delivered, following make-ready work in the US and abroad, and the first moment of sitting with the completed book, paging through, can be totally surreal. Suddenly, all the computer files, the cartons of artwork packed up and sent along for photography, the endlessly-revised book map, and the initial spark that lit the fuse in the first place…..all of that (and much, much more) has now been distilled into an actual BOOK.
My first author’s copy of my first book has a special place on my shelf…..right next to a signed copy of The Vogue Sewing Book. Thanks, Pat.
Visit Lynne here. And tell her Seth sent you!