It’s time to get the studio up and running in the new place. Since it’s been a while with no regular art production, I thought it best to start with some small exercises to get back in the swing of things. In the move I found this project, a book of nature poems I got at a library book sale years ago that I felt needed “alteration.” Altered books are a new phenomenon to me, schooled as I was never to write in books or deface them in any way. I’m not sure I’m quite ready for some of the more radical alterations I’ve seen, but this book seemed to be crying out for more and different illustrations than it was born with upon publication, a sample of which is shown above. There are 3 or 4 more of these, one at the start of each section, and that’s it for illustrations. The paper is nice and thick, with good tooth but no noticeable texture and it has aged to a lovely cream. The poems are organized seasonally, so I decided to add little illustrations of my own surrounding the poetry in the generous margins each according to it’s season, like this:
Now, that’s more like it for illustrations in a book of nature poems for me. Spring in my new neighborhood means Loropetalum Chinense, also known as Fringe Plant, blooming wildly in almost every yard, including my own. After bloom, these shrubs provide the red contrast that every landscape designer seeks for relief from overabundance of green. It used to be only Flowering Plum provided that in these parts. Happily, we now have many more choices. My favorites are red Japanese Maples and certain cultivars of Heuchera, also known as Coral Bells. I’d like this Fringe Plant much more if it wasn’t so ubiquitous all of a sudden. Plants go in and out of fashion in just the same way that hemlines go up and down on the runways of Paris and New York and this is the must have shrub of the moment, at least in my new neck of the woods.