Home > Collage, Shellie Lewis' Art > Altered Book Art Page

Altered Book Art Page

Altered book art page

One big benefit of living in a major city is the random finds in alleys I had found three older large format art history books and a damaged encyclopedia of mythology.  I took the books for the interior color art prints but later realized the real value is in the volumes themselves.  The heavy covers and thick archival cotton rag interior pages with the silk head-banding and sewn pages of the older art books at 9.25″ x 12.75″ are amazing.  They were expensive books made in the 1960s, having the good, heavy papers and the color prints of paintings tipped in by hand.

I am trying out making my first altered art book out of a former volume on the works of Renoir.  This is just a personal project for enjoyment and to explore mixed-media / multi-media art more.  I tired the painted waxed paper collage technique again and went looser with the process, working it more rumpled and distressed with the wax paper.  I painted reds and a dark metallic bronze color on the book page.  I used a gold leafing pen, iridescent white paint, craft glitter paints, gold metallic and pearlized jewel tone paints on the wax paper, again painting in reverse.  Some areas I painted very sheer on purpose.  The creases and rumples come out fairly opaque; the waxed paper has to be smoothed down for lowers payers to show through.  The layed wax paper effect is similar to an encaustic painting in that the translucence and gloss do not show well in an image and look a lot more interesting in person.

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  1. A. Catherine Noon
    September 30, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I love the background. The mix of yellows, blues, and silvery-whites is stunning.

    What is “encaustic” painting?

    Thanks for sharing your experiments! What a lovely alley find, eh? I’m amazed what folks throw out, what I’ve thrown out myself.

    See you Weds at PS1!

    • October 1, 2013 at 10:08 am

      Encaustic is painting in wax, especially beeswax. It has to be worked hot / melted. Good historic examples are Egypto-Romano sarcophagus portraits, some good ones are the Met NYC: http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/547861?rpp=20&pg=1&ft=encaustic+painting&pos=15

      • A. Catherine Noon
        October 1, 2013 at 12:58 pm

        Wow; what an amazing image that is. I swear, I stared at her eyes for several minutes. It looks so real. I was struck by HOW real, given that it’s Egyptian; you can really see the Roman influence in the drawing.

      • October 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm

        It’s kind of both thus the designation Egypto-Romano. The Roman occupation of Egypt lead to some fusions of religion and culture. The Roman citizens in Egypt became more culturally Egyptian and adopted face plates for sarcophagi, mummification and a few other things. Some of these funeral portraits buried with mummified bodies have a more Egyptian art style and some a more Roman; some are a fusion of styles. ☺

      • A. Catherine Noon
        October 1, 2013 at 2:31 pm

        I can see what you mean. It’s funny; the more I learn the more I learn I have to learn. I thought I “understood” Egyptian art, at least as much as a layperson with an appreciation for museums; every time I go to the Art Institute or look at stuff with someone who has a knowledge about it, I find out there’s more stuff I don’t know. There’s so much heritage there.

        I think the part that surprised me was how “real” the image was. It looked like something out of Renaissance Realism, not something on an Egyptian or even Roman tomb.

        Is encaustic related to egg tempura painting? And is the tempura painting the same as the Japanese style of cooking, or am I making a massive typo there?

      • October 3, 2013 at 3:47 pm

        Not related. I will explain:

        Egg tempera painting is putting pigment in egg white or the whole egg to stick to a surface. Botticelli painted egg tempera on canvas. It’s similar to watercolor because it is water soluble: the binding agent in watercolor is Gum Arabic from a tree instead of egg. In oil painting, the binder is oils from linseed [linen], sunflower seeds and walnuts. All paint is two things: pigment [thing with color, usually finely ground solid mater] and a binder [some substance which sticks color to a surface like egg, oils, tree saps]. ☺

        Japanese tempura is a cooking style given to them by the Portuguese. “Tempero” is Portuguese for “cooking” so “tempura” entered the Japanese language as an approximation of the Portuguese word. Like “miruku” is and approximation and adoption of the English word “milk”. The original Japanese word for milk means “pus from a teat” in a kind of disgusting way because it was not much of a food item before Western contact. Portuguese traders in the 1600s were little horrified the Japanese did not have oil, by their understanding here was this whole island of people who did not have cooking since that meant frying, so they brought cooking oil and the technique and it stayed around in Japan to present day.

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