Saturday, April 28, 2012


Just have to add a bit of detail to the tiny painting-within-painting.


Friday, April 27, 2012


It's the Blaug's birthday today. We are among the veterans, those who started and kept going in a cyber world that was still a novelty nine or ten years ago. People used to ask: what's a blog? Now everybody knows and nearly everybody blogs, even politicians. Along with FaceBook, Twitter and umpteen other forms of internet-based socialising, blogging has become as ubiquitous as a mobile phone.

I'm certainly not one of the most regular or consistent bloggers but I'm hanging in there and I hope that what I do post has some interest and value to others. On the other hand, even if no one was coming to see what's up on Blaugustine, it would still be valuable for me to keep blogging. It gives me a window to look out of and look into, a way to escape from ivory-towerism. And it's provided me with some wonderfully creative new friends and connected me to the world in ways that would never have happened in the pre-blog era. 

So happy birthday to Blaugustine and thank you very much to all who have visited her and all who have stayed and all who drop in and all who comment. We are truly, deeply appreciative of your support. 

Here, to celebrate, is a photo of a puppet I made some time ago to practice stop-motion animation and two ferocious creatures found at the Natural History Museum which she seems to be taming.


Sunday, April 22, 2012


Update: 12:30 am, April 23 -   Success! It took the whole of Sunday up to this early hour of Monday but I've done it - solved the Photoshop disappearance mystery. Don't ask the details. Unless you're an uber-geek (like me) you don't want to know. But below is the more manageable-sized image, via the restored Photoshop CS2. Bravo moi!

Suddenly today my Photoshop CS2 stopped working after about six years of pretty good service. Yesterday it worked, today it just quits immediately on launch. I've tried everything, including re-installing, but so far nothing works. This is disastrous because I need to be able to edit images, re-size them for uploading. sharpen etc. and refuse to buy the latest version of Photoshop, nor do I want to upgrade my Mac which still works happily on OSX 10.4.11. 

I just wanted to upload a picture of this new double page of the accordion book but the original (which sits in iPhoto) is huge. I was able to export it to InDesign and scale it down a bit from there but can't make any other adjustments. This can't go on! And suddenly all the photos below this one have gone pale and faded-looking...why??? Does anyone have solutions to all this? 

By the way, if you're wondering what these two new panels mean, stop wondering. I'm not going to provide the story behind all the images in this book since this is strictly a visual, not a verbal autobiography. You can interpret them any way you wish and whether your story corresponds to mine or not is irrelevant. 


Saturday, April 21, 2012


These photos don't show that the profile and the lettering are gold (the close-up on the left is better). If the profile is reminiscent of masks on Egyptian sarcophagi that's because it's intentional. Not only do I have a thing about ancient Egypt but I was thinking metaphorically: the masks of identity,  individuality, personality hiding something impossible to pin down. All the images in the book are really just symbols and the memories they represent have been given substance on these accordion-folded pages but they will eventually turn to dust.


Sunday, April 15, 2012


Here are the last two panels of this side. The title page is also done but I may alter it so I won't post it now. The second side is under way but this technique demands such an enormous amount of energy, I have to keep going downstairs for coffee and stroking the cat. Pushkin is now a daily visitor and spends most of his day here. I'd like to train him to be my studio assistant but unfortunately he doesn't have the personality or stamina for it.


Saturday, April 07, 2012


To make amends for the long pauses between blog posts, I thought I'd share some photos of the rather complicated technique I'm using to create images for the accordion book. Of course it would have been simpler and quicker to draw directly onto the blank pages but I love the bold-edged shapes, textures and unexpected effects that can be achieved by printing. Normally I would use my etching press if printing from stencils, collagraphs, plates or blocks but it's not possible in this case because the bound book would be damaged. So my only tool is a wooden spoon and a great deal of hand/arm pressure as well as tons of patience. 

After making a rough pencil drawing for each double page, I modify and cut all the shapes out of thin card with a scalpel and/or scissors, deciding which parts can remain joined and which must be inked separately. Here's a sample of some stencils for two current panels.

Old telephone directories make good inking surfaces so there's always a clean new page for each stencil. Am using oil-based relief-printing inks so it gets very messy and there must be frequent cleaning of rollers and stencils, and therefore constant inhaling of noxious solvents' fumes. Yes I get groggy and wobbly but c'est la artiste's vie! Supposedly safer solvents have an unpleasant smell too and water-based inks do not produce the effects I want. 

Stencil being inked. 

The dark area behind the man's coat after printing. Below are the two new panels, finished except for a few details to be drawn in.

A very happy Easter, if you'll be celebrating it, or a very happy Sunday tomorrow if you're celebrating anything religiously or non-religiously. There, how much more all-inclusive can I be?


Tuesday, April 03, 2012



At last I'm back. Please ignore the long wait between posts and stick with me, I have no intention of disappearing. Working non-stop on this project, it's going well but I really can't concentrate on anything else. Have almost reached the end of the recto side and will be moving to the verso (adulthood) this week, so I'm halfway to the finish line. 

Am having difficulty photographing the panels - can't get the right focus or angle or lighting. Any suggestions from photographers of artwork?