The Not-So-Blank-Page Journal: A Peek

June 21, 2013

See the full page for for details.

Above: A page spread from my Not-So-Blank-Page Journal. Each page is 8.5 x 11, with color toner copies of contributors' background art, and my artwork on top. Here I added the Piecemeal sketch on toned paper, red lettered text (outlined with Pink Soufle pen), speech balloon, and bird (cut from a failed watercolor painting of mine).

Earlier this year the MCBA Visual Journal Collective started a collaborative project called the Not-So-Blank-Page Journal. Each artist was asked to create two pages of "background" art that would be printed back to back on 8.5 x 11 inch sheets and coil bound into a journal that we would each get a copy of. Each artist was then tasked to work on the backgrounds through the rest of the year.

We will be having a continuous, simultaneous showing of the finished journals (with a blank one for comparison with the "blank" pages) at the December 16, 2013 meeting. (You're invited even if you aren't working in one of the journals!)

I was late starting my journal. We got them on April 15 and it was May 21 before I started in. Then, I sprinted on and finished it on June 16. (I have been having a lot of family-related tasks and in my downtime I just couldn't stop myself from working in this journal.)

My response to the pages was different from what I originally intended when Suzanne Hughes and I planned the project. I'll have something more to say about that at a later date when I have a moment to compose coherent thoughts, but I thought I would start to show you a few spreads from the journal in the next few weeks.

This is a middle spread but one of the first I worked on (I didn't work chronologically on the pages in this journal). I had a huge Piecemeal sketch that I wanted to save, done on toned paper. I decided it would be fun to bleed the sketch across the page. That meant I had to take the book apart, so out came the coil. 

It was totally liberating. I put this face sketch down and trimmed off the overhang and repunched the holes. But I didn't return to journal on the spread until much later in the process. I see it's one of the spreads that didn't get a date. I know I did it around June 10 or so. The caption is something I either heard on a TV show while I was decompressing or something that Dick said to me. (He often says such things to me. I do tend to act as if I were a secret agent.) Frankly I was running on heavy sleep deprivation at this point and I couldn't tell you.

One of the things that struck me about this journal is how much of the approach of my 2013 fake journal I carried forward—pages with no explanations.

I had a lot of fun.

Besides sharing more of my version of this project (and in particular what I did next before journaling on any of the pages) I will be documenting the project with a video made at the showing. The video will include the not-so-blank pages in their "raw" state, followed by the final versions created by the 28 participating artists. I'm very excited about that. So there is much more to come.

    • jacki long
    • June 21, 2013

    What a great page and great idea initially. I love that we can feel the fun you had in the process. Thanks Roz.

  1. Reply

    The bird is beautiful, with lovely gradations and personality! I have a ” cat sitter” video am going to use next week to sketch some birds–lots of variety in breeds and interesting habitats…

  2. Reply

    jacki, thank you—I’m glad that you can feel the fun I had, because I really did have a lot of fun working in this journal.

  3. Reply

    Ellen, I’m glad you like the bird. It’s much looser than I usually work and came out of a large painting of many very loose birds who didn’t work at all (Well I do use one on a later page in this journal). I like cutting things up and making new things.

    I think the cat sitter video is a great idea for bird spotting. I never would have thought of that! Have great fun with it.

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