I finally finished my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project 2013 and mailed it out yesterday. You can see all the pages here, (or click on the tab above) in their proper order. My theme was “memoir,” and was all about my son, Michael. I did not have the time, or the fortitude, to create enough pages to fully explore Michael’s too-short life. But, the whole process was cathartic for me. It was therapy. And it’s finished. I will either go to bed for a week, or I’ll start a new project – I haven’t decided!
My book is a mixed-media creation – I used watercolors, pencil, Micron pens, charcoal, water-soluble pens, Photoshop text, and a photograph. Most of the music was copied from sheet music, but there were some songs I could not find sheet music for – for example, “Sweet Zoo,” and “Irish Heartbeat.” I sounded out the tunes and wrote out the music the way it sounded to me – but not with the proper notes or bars, etc. But, hey, it’s art!
This book contains some cherished memories, but it is also a statement about mental illness. As parents, we may do everything right when we raise our children – despite our human foibles and failures, of course – but when mental illness insinuates itself into the life of an adult child, all we can do is…nothing. I hope this will change. But there is no easy solution. Meanwhile, I prefer to remember the good times. I prefer to remember my Michael.
This is another two-page spread – pages 7 and 8 – for my contribution to The Sketchbook Project. In my previous post, “Starting Over,” I briefly explained the project.
I am skipping around, as the mood strikes me – so, I haven’t yet completed pages 5 and 6. In most of my sketches of Michael, he will be smiling! Out of the hundreds (thousands?) of photographs, there are perhaps three in which he isn’t smiling. Love that smile!
“Starting over” is an apt title for this post, as I haven’t posted anything here since February of 2011! The year 2012 has been the most difficult year of my life. I have turned – or returned – to art as my therapy of choice. I am pretty much starting over with drawing, sketching, watercolor – these seem to be the only things I can concentrate on at the moment, although there are so many other things that I “should” be doing! (Laundry, making dinner, finding room for all my “stuff” – and the list goes on!)
One project I have become involved in is the Sketchbook Project, through Art House Coop in Brooklyn, New York. When you sign up to do a sketchbook, they send you a small 5×7″ book. You pick a theme and then fill the book with whatever you choose to create. You can also make a book out of your preferred paper, as long as it remains the prescribed size. I have decided to make my own book out of hot pressed watercolor paper. I chose this paper because it accepts watercolor well, and is smooth enough to write on. The theme I chose is “Memoir,” which, of course, will be all about my son, Michael, who passed away in February at the age of 33.
I had dozens of ideas for the book, which was driving me crazy, and finally decided to do watercolor backgrounds on the pages, beginning with a bright, cheerful page and getting slightly darker as I work through them. I also wanted to include bits of songs, because I love music, and so did Michael – although we had quite different tastes in music! Here are the first two spreads.
Using the heart that I painted last year, my photograph of the Eiffel Tower, and Photoshop’s layering properties, I created this card. The quote is from Balzac, “Love is the poetry of the senses.”
I painted a rather simplistic Christmas card, and used Photoshop to enhance it. Inside I wrote, “Share the Wonder.”
I painted a flower, “Rose of Sharon,” and sent it to a dear friend named Sharon (of course!).
In October, our children gave us a surprise party to celebrate our 60th birthdays – my husband’s was in July, and mine was in November. This is the thank-you card I created afterwards – depicting the makings of a Cosmopolitan (the featured drink at the party, and one of my favorites!). Rather than trying to paint bottles of vodka, triple sec, and juices, I chose to paint their origins in the form of potatoes and grains, and oranges, cranberries and a lime. On the back of the card, I printed the recipe for Cosmopolitans.