cooking the books

i was so excited by the rain we had here yesterday that i plumb forgot to do my blog post last night.  so, this is two days of work.

i believe i put the trim on his jacket yesterday, or rather, two nights ago somewhere around 3 in the morning.  i’d blown up and adjusted the perspective of a photo of the duvet they use on the beds in the sponsor’s hotel, then printed it on good paper, and cut it into inch thick strips on a paper chopper.  then i picked sections that didn’t clash with each other, and glued them onto the edge of the painted jacket with acrylic gel medium.

and coated it out with gel medium when it dried.  and coated it again.  and again.  all day yesterday, and all day today.  i want a really thick coat of plastic over that sucker, because i don’t want it peeling up.  i’m not sure how i’m going to handle this when it comes to all the paper glued onto the base.  i’ll probably freak out and think about covering it with laminated plastic sheeting.

i’m beginning to shadow the books now.  the first coat was to establish some sort of base color.  the next coat deepened that, and then the coat after that tended to be opaque and thin, so it would sort of cover, and after enough coats of that, it would be hard to see the pencil lines.  that’s the theory, anyway.

and many coats later…

i started to get tired of putting on many coats.  i might seem like a go-ahead kind of person who isn’t afraid to make decisions and live with them.  but i’m a deeply conflicted person, and will stay in bed for two years in my mom’s basement rather than making a mistake.  well, no, that’s either my sister or my daughter, but it was never me.  the deeply conflicted part, no problem, however.

what i do is waffle.  second-guess.  i’ll put down a blue, then spend ten coats of thin black on it, and five coats of thin white on it, and then paint it blue again.  or bring it all the way back to white and paint it yellow instead.

anyway, all those thin coats makes for a richness you can’t achieve with a couple of thick coats of paint.  so i’m right to waffle.

i’ve been around the dolphin i don’t know how many times now with all sorts of different colors.  at this point, tho, i’m running very thin black down the sides of the books, to give the edges some depth, and the same black over the blue, to dull it down some.  and judiciously over some of the reds.

and there’s a light gray i’ve been using to cover some of the more streaky darks so i can build them out dark again.  because if you don’t have a solid base, then you can put down as many transparent layers as you want and still have a splotchy area.  which, when you’re going for the old book effect, is a good thing.  but i got impatient…

this is the second day’s work.  last night i ended up painting in the bottom row of books before going up to enjoy the storm.  i took my list of georgia fiction and narrowed it down to 18.  then i looked up how many pages each of those books had, and then i alphabetized them and drew them in.  i measured my shelf length, which was 20 inches, and added up all the pages, and divided.  so 400 pages would be about an inch.  something like that.  anyway, i went around with my pencil and ruler, and sort of estimated how thick the books would be.  i had to do it twice or three times, and in the end threw the ruler down and did it by eye anyway.

gone with the wind is almost 900 pages.  so is uncle remus.  and prince of tides isn’t much smaller.  so i’ve got these huge enormous books at the bottom.  i spent some time just now downloading pictures of the books’ actual covers, which means nothing if i’m showing them by their spines.  but it gives me an idea.  i will probably make these books well-thumbed paperbacks, instead of hardbound books like in the rest of the library.  so they’ll have gaudy covers.

we’ll see.  that’s a lot of work.  i still have the book on the tailfin, don’t forget.

you can see where the books are starting to look three dimensional.  that’s all shadowing.  that, plus i mixed up a stronger black and have started putting the deep shadow into the bookshelves.  the shelves themselves are only temporarily black – i’m going to bring them back to a nice rich brown.  and the shadows in the bookshelves will go much darker.  i’ll put the details onto the bindings tomorrow, and then i’ll be ready to do the lettering.  oh boy.

for now, tho, it’s still daylight out, i’ve been down here for 10 hours, working most of it, and now it’s time for a walk with the dogs and something to eat.


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