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Creating Art at the Speed of Life: 30 Days of Mixed-Media Exploration Paperback – September 19, 2013
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"Even from the outset, this book captures the reader's attention. Rather than ruminating on how to be inspired, it launches straight into a short tutorial on how to make a simple but effective journal of your own using watercolour paper and adhesive canvas paper. It is to the point and perfect for warding off procrastination about how to get started. I found this part of the book made such sense that I made one immediately. It took me a couple of minutes tearing, folding, sticking and I was there. You start with something so simple you can't talk yourself out of it and then you have the perfect canvas to start looking at each lesson." --Workshop on the Web
About the Author
Pam Carriker has created art with a variety of media for more than 20 years. She has been featured in several leading mixed-media magazines and currently teaches a successful online workshop series. Her first book, Art at the Speed of Life, was released last year.
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First of all, the handmade book: Just know that you are not making an especially well-put together book with these instructions Carriker provides. I followed them to the T, but found that the Sticky Back Canvas did not stick well enough even on the outer paper, so the spine of the book was not held together well enough with the two pieces of tape she specifies. That said, I put twice the tape and used Archival PVA and some cheesecloth over the spine and glued it to the front cover, as a sort of homemade 'super' cloth. BTW, I had to research several websites and Youtube to find better ways to bind a book. I think a list of resources to make a better quality bound book (as an option) would have been nice. After all, you're putting hours of work into this thing--you want it to last!
Also regarding the book, Carriker states she uses 90 lb paper, and I could only find 140 lb Hot Press at the local stores. I am so glad I used it instead! I honestly don't think 90 lb. would have stood up under all the multiple processes described in her instructions. It's not as easy to fold and tear--I had to score it a few times and bend the paper both ways. Some people not experinced with heavy watercolor paper may not know to do this.
I've been doing artwork for some time now, and still had to do practice pages of some of her techniques, which I recommend, as I think she does assume some prior knowledge of how to use paint and so on. About the art supplies themselves, I'm glad she listed alternatives as I have yet to find a "Bingo Dauber" after visiting our town's 3 art supply stores.
All this being said, I really appreciate Carriker's book as it's helped me get past a creative block I've had for over two years. It was fun (but expensive!) but worth it to make the handmade book, as that way there's more of a sense of the entire book being a work of art.
I'll try and update this post when I'm done with the book.
Her tutorials on using expressive line, the chapter on greys (using values) & grisaille struck me as well. None of the many books I've looked at having to do with art journaling have really covered the "art essentials." I have begun to assume that the reason so many so-called workshop instructors stress the fact that there is no wrong way to be creative is that they are merely responding to their own thirst for self expression and promoting the heck out out of their own artistic methodology. The fact is that there are some intrinsic things that art historians have seen commonly in art that really speaks to people through the centuries and Pam does not neglect to touch on some of these essential things. She starts with the color wheel but as the book goes through the daily steps of creating, - yes by the time you are through the book you will have created an entire book, - she has exercises to help you learn how to create with expressive line (an artistic element) positive and negative space (another), and even the use of shading and values. And she makes it fun and engaging and appealing. she is a superb and passionate teacher.
I am an artist but as most artists would tell you we always study new things and new ways to do what we already think we know. I am having a lot of fun being a student in this book! I don't need to use the templates provided ( a thoughtful inclusion in this book) but I am following the guidelines as though I knew nothing just to see if I can learn like a newbie and I have learned some things!
So get this book even if you never get another this will launch you in a most positive and creative direction.
Carriker is a gifted writer with a wonderful way of taking you step-by-step through each project without overwhelming you, nor boring you silly. She is truly an amazing teacher. Her project illustrations are pure eye-candy: beautiful to see and inspiring in their own way. I found some of the projects challenging, and was thrilled by that. Carriker's explanations of how (and why) to do them are spot on. The "open studio" images at the end of each section from contributing artists are a huge bonus, as are the Q & A sections where these same contributors share their perspectives.