Wednesday, August 24, 2005


When I was in college I used to especially like the back to school sales. It was a time to indulge myself by browsing through notebooks, pens, and highlighters, and picking up happy colors that would cheer me up during the hard work of the semester.
So now I'm obsessing about my materials and wondering what to buy for my back-to-art period. Much of my art is a science experiment. I don't have an art background so I don't know much about the interaction of different kinds of paper with various media. I'll buy some pens or paints and combine them with paper, glue, and rubber stamps, and hope the whole thing doesn't explode!

I especially like notebooks. I used to buy 8-1/2x11 spiral bound notebooks by the dozen when they were 25 cents each. Now I have notebooks in a myriad of sizes for everything, it seems. Too many to keep track of, let alone list here. But I want another sketchbook for art journaling and I'm still not ready to mutilate the hardback copy of "The Rubaiyat" that I bought a few months ago for that purpose. I've been mulling over options.

The small notebook in the photo is my garage sale bargain for 50 cents. It is 3-3/4 by 4-3/4 inches and I like it a lot because its small size doesn't intimidate me. At the end of a long day I usually have enough energy to jot down at least few notes and maybe add a few doodles or background color. The large spiral rings have allowed the pages plenty of room as they've expanded in thickness with collage and paint. I think the paper is 40-50 lb. weight; it's bright white and will take a light wash of acrylic without getting too wrinkled. The pressure marks from writing with ballpoint pen can sometimes be seen for several pages and gel pens almost bleed through the paper, but a background wash seems to prevent the worst of those problems.

The larger book is a 6x8 sketchbook of 80 lb. paper. It has a small spiral binding that doesn't appreciate the pages getting fat. I was intimidated by the larger size at first but I like that each page can hold so much more. I think 80 lb. paper may be a little too heavy, as I'm going to be experimenting with gesso, which will add more more weight to each page.

I found this on sale, a notebook similar in size but bound on the long side instead of the short side, and in a 65 lb. weight paper, for under $3. This is a lot cheaper than what I've found in nearby stores. It will be a change for me to be working in a portrait format instead of a landscape format and I'm wondering how it will turn out.

In the meantime, I think I need to do some real world journaling.

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