Artist’s Books

The study of calligraphy involves learning about the history of books, from the Egyptians and Phoenicians up through the Renaissance to Gutenberg. Understanding what makes the book form such a repository of knowledge. The styles of lettering, the materials used and the structure of the book itself have been a fascinating adventure. I’ve been to libraries in Europe a number of times, and have studied the manuscript collections there.

This led me to making artist’s books of my own using the book format, as opposed to a painting or a broadside, to express more complex ideas. Some of my books are painterly, poetic and contemporary, others are more conservative, traditional and legible. I make these books for collectors as well as by commission, and find that they are a most gratifying way for me to work. A book is more private than a piece that hangs on the wall; some of my clients prefer to share their thoughts in the book form, as it is a way to show them to just a few special people, rather than broadcasting them to all visitors.

My books are in the special collections of some notable libraries, including the Yale University, the Lilly Library at Indiana University and the University of Denver, as well as private collections.

Artists Books Tool & Toy Box

Tools and Toys, limited edition, ink jet prints of my drawings, and an alphabetical listing of many of my favorites.

Artists Book Color Progresson 1

Color Progression, Adventures in Color Theory is a little book that explores the steps I use when teaching color theory, with text written as though by the letters themselves. Watercolor and gouache on paper, paste paper cover. Collection of Yale University

Artists Book Color Progression 3

Here we begin adding complements to the primaries.

Artists Book Wedding Vows

A commissioned book of wedding vows, given on the first anniversary, whose symbol is paper.

Artists Book Night Mist

Night Mist
A value study of mixtures of grey gouache on various shades of grey paper, in a Hedi Kyle ‘this way, that way’ structure.
Collection of Indiana University

Free Play
A book made of a random wandering of sheets of paper, with many gate folds, all folding into the closed book. It’s a glorious chaotic ramble through the words of Stephen Nachmanowicz

Artists Book Color Progress 2

The book begins with value gradations of the primaries.

Artists Books Color Progression

By the end of the book, the colors are all working together to make many combinations.

Artists Book Onward & Upward

A commemoration of my trip to Nepal in 2008, hiking to Everest Base Camp

 

 

Artists Books Night Mist cover

Night Mist cover
Sumi ink on paper

Artists Book Free Play 8

The gate folds give you many views of each spread.
Ink on paper, private collection

Steamroller Prints

In 2013, BookWorks hosted Printocracy, a weekend to celebrate printmaking, with an exhibit of work from all over the US and a day of printing large relief plates using a leased steamroller as a press. Twelve artists participated, using almost two gallons of ink and a huge roll of Rives BFK paper. Most of the plates were 3×3′ square, carved in battleship linoleum or MDF. A few were larger, including one printed from a 4×8′ sheet of masonite.

Alas, framing these prints is expensive and they dominate any space they are in, so I chopped mine up, painted and collaged all over the back side, and bound it into the book you see here. The text includes the dictionary listing of the word ‘value’ along with many quotations that relate to this concept, both in the design sense and in the values we have as we live our lives.

The 32 page book is bound in red leather, with end sheets of Lokta paper.

A spread from the (mostly) printed side of Value. The Humanist script at the lower left is one of the entries in the definition of Value, which carries throughout the book. This lead me to find many texts that related to all aspects of value.

In 2014, I used a second print from the steam roller print day to make another book. This one, Balance II uses the same texts as I used in a book nearly 20 years ago, which sadly, was stolen! The media here is similar to Value, with gouache, wasp’s nest, gold leaf, graphite and ink. This book is bound with a leather spine and a cloth cover.

Artists Books Value, the Reverse Side

On the back side of the print, I used many kinds of ink washes, graphite pencil, watercolor and gouache, as well as a bit of gold leaf and a collage of a wasp’s nest.

 

Artists Book Balance II 38-39

The reverse side has a variety of lettering styles and media, from brush Romans to a very loose cap written with watercolor.

Painterly Books

These books began as large sheets with paintings or drawings, a common approach in my work.
They were then cut down to page size with further drawing and text added.

Artists Book Midway

Title page for Midway, Life After Fifty
The book was made from a large sheet of watercolor paper, painted on both sides, then cut to make the pages, with added watercolor and gouache. Private collection.

Artists Book Midway 1

A series of texts about reaching middle age, fifty or so. The windows were cut to solve a design problem I was having, but became a metaphor for time. Each double page spread is the present. We look through windows to see the past, but we never remember it all, and the windows on the right give us only glimpses of what might happen in the future.

Artists Book Elements & Principles Cover

The cover is leather over boards, with embossed and debossed little squares and a wavy line, platinum hot foil stamping. I found a matching paper for the spine.

Artists Book Elements & Principles

The other side of the sheet has a more muted color scheme and a different approach to line quality.

Artists Book Pencil Book text

Based on a book by Henry Petrowski, this book alternates between text and image, all done with pencil

 

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Artists Book Midway 7

Some of the pages are vibrant, some are more muted. Since the painting was so chaotic and the windows were so random, I used a more traditional grid to lay out the text, possibly imposing some order on my life.

Artists Book Midway 2

Is it possible to have a unified life?

Artists Book Elements & Principles 1

The book is made from one large sheet of watercolor paper, painted on one side with bright colors and the other side with a more muted palette. This pages alternate a color contrast as you read the book.

ArtistsBook E&P Detail

This book structure, signatures sewn onto an accordion, allows many of the pages to be seen at once, even if the book is in a case on exhibit.

 

Artists Book Pencil Little Man

One of the spreads from the drawing side of the pages.