Saturday, 27 March 2010

A Trip to the Library, Part 1

I think I'd like to talk about some art & craft books I borrowed from the library over the last few months. Firstly, I borrowed The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery by Karen Michel.

I'd heard quite a bit about this book from other journal artists, and I have to say, I was a bit disappointed. Perhaps it was just because most of the techniques didn't fire anything up in me. Maybe it was because some of the materials are quite hard to come by. Perhaps it was because I don't like the author's style of art - which is completely a personal thing and has nothing to do with the content of the book. I put it aside for a couple of weeks, and when I picked it up again, I started to see it in a different light. I started thinking about which techniques were more 'me', and how I could apply them to my art journal.

The first section deals with altering photographs. There is some amazing stuff to be done with rubbing, scratching, colouring and bleaching original photographs. Unfortunately they're a lot harder to come by than they used to be, especially since the Polaroid camera was discontinued. All of my photos these days are taken with a digital camera and then printed out with my mini photo printer (I love it! <3 ) However, Boy has informed me that techniques involving chemically altering the image emulsion are not going to work with photos printed in this way, which was a bit disappointing. The last part of this section has some interesting examples of how to incorporate the altered photographs into a collaged and painted artwork.

The second section looks at altering images digitally using photo-editing software. It has some interesting techniques, some of which I hadn't thought of before. It doesn't go into the nitty-gritty of how to use particular programmes - there are so many out there, it would just be impossible. There's some food for thought here, though.

The third section covers altering found images (from magazines, etc) and incorporating them into artworks. I've seen all of these techniques before in collage books dating back to the 1970s, but it's nice to see them presented in a new way - and in colour!

The fourth and last section is a gallery of pieces by artists working in the altered and/or mixed media genre. Some of these got me really excited. I started to think about which particular artists, both in this book and online, I like the most. And looking at their styles got me thinking about what my style might be when it eventually emerges. I haven't come to any firm conclusions yet, but there are certain techniques and juxtapositions of elements that I seem to be using more than others. I'll do some scans soon and show you what I mean. I know I've only just scratched the surface when it comes to using different materials and techniques, and I know I'm a long way off from being able to define my style, but I feel I'm inching closer and closer.

In other news, I've been writing away furiously at my new zine - and I've started a second one! Busy busy writing time.

Have a great weekend!

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