Back to My Altered Books

Back to My Altered Books

The Art of Happiness :: Page 25

In the two months since my previous entry, I lost my wonderful mother, Sandie, to complications from Alzheimer’s, and my sweet little dog Angel, to blood clots in the lungs. Until just about two weeks ago, when we scattered my mom’s ashes, I had been walking around in a haze, unable to even think about making art. Slowly, I’ve begun to peel back the sadness and have restarted my artful journey.

I want to thank everyone from my Yahoo! Group who emailed me their kind words of support and empathy, as well as those of you who, through this blog, offered encouragement to me during my mother’s illness. You have no idea how helpful it has been over these last few months, to read your touching, heartfelt comments. Thank you so much.


I decided to do a few more pages in The Art of Happiness. Let me tell you a little bit about how I did page 25, which is pictured above.

As per usual, I first prepared the pages by painting on a thin layer of fluid matte medium to protect the text. After I had decided on the found poetry, I used my Masquepen to cover the words. I then drew and painted the orb on the left side using white acrylic paing. Next I covered the entire two pages with Lumiere acrylic paint in Sunset Gold, painting around the white circle.. After the paint was dry, I used the Masquepen again to draw lines over the orb and across the page. I knew that I was going to do a watery color wash over the pages, and I wanted to create the impression of golden threads.

When the Masquepen had dried, I wrapped the book with waxed paper and fastened it up with a rubber band so that only the two pages I was working on were exposed. I knew what I wanted to do would be wet and messy and that I needed to protect the rest of the book. I painted the pages using in turquoise and magenta. I placed several paper towels on my work space, ready to catch the drippings. Then I used the ink droppers and dropped turquoise and magenta FW acrylic inks onto the page. I used a small water spritzer and sprayed into the pools of ink; then, I lifted the book up and tilted it in different directions so the inks would run together and spread across the page. As the ink puddled-up at the bottom of the page, I blotted it with a paper towel. I used a toothbrush to splatter Pearlescent Acrylic ink in Magenta onto the pages, and also used my Pearlescent purple to drop some colors here and there. I sprayed each drop of ink with water and tilted the book. I also used a little red cocktail straw to blow the ink around the page.

I did have a problem with the ink pooling in the gutter of the book. I was worried that it would seep into the other pages, so I used my paper towels and dabbed up as much extra liquid as I could before it could sink in.

When the ink had dried, I peeled away the Masquepen to reveal the poem which says:
sew a thousand golden threads
over her dusty world

I’m happy with the way these pages turned out, even though it isn’t exactly what I expected. I was really hoping for more blueish gray to come through, similar to the color on the white circle and my color square. But I love the way the darker colors got trapped along the edges of the Masquepen. Maybe I’ll try this technique on a larger canvas or on water color paper. It sure was a lot of fun.

P.S. A quick tip — Once you have the Masquepen on the page, don’t close your book! The Masquepen will stick together and pull itself off. Don’t ask me how I know 😉

8 thoughts on “Back to My Altered Books

  1. I just stumbled upon your lovely blog tonight, while searching for some good images and ideas for jump starting a project at my group (Imagination Tribe).

    I love your photos and the fact that you give detailed information on technique. Awesome project.

    I also sympathize with you on the loss of your Mum. I lost my mother four years ago and I just miss her more than ever. Art is my sanity at times.:) Hugs.

  2. I wondered if your absence was to do with your mum. she is in a better place, now, and with your dog, too. I am glad you are feeling able to begin your art journey anew; I have missed seeing what you do

  3. I am so excited that you are back and sharing. Your page is amazing. I have spent hours reading everthing in your blog. I’m new to blogging and now that you are back want to add you to my favs. OK

  4. hi karen, it has been a few months since i jumped in on your page and i changed my email..i am now on your newsletter list..
    i am so sorry to hear about your mom, but bless her heart, i am sure she is in a better place and not suffering anymore..when i lost my mom in 93 i was devastated..it is not easy for any of us to go through..i still talk to her all the time in my mind and i like to believe she is still around me
    i am glad to see you back into your art and i have to tell you, your broken doll books are just fabulous!!!…you have done a spectacular job and oh my God!! where do your wonderful ideas come from…
    i am also mending from a rough few months, pneumonia and such i am pretty much back on my feet and attepting to try some new things…transfers ugh!!! i know i will get it eventually, but gosh i am slow..do you have any exhibits any place in ca. we will be going on our annual trip to oregon to see our grandchild and i would love to see some of your work live…
    ok my dear, you be well and stay cool..i am still trying to figure out why i live in this God forsaken desert????..it is awful this year!!!…take care, hugs, carol fuller tempe, arizona

  5. I am so happy I found your blog, in this big virtual world. I just want to recomanded to all my friends, and I will also put a link on my blog. I will cam back to enjoy…

  6. Hi,

    I just stumbled upon your page you are so talented and have such beautiful work! I couldn’t find your email, but I would love to email back and forth and discuss ideas! I am finishing the last leg of my degree in art therapy and I work with children that have been abused. I would like to see if you could provide me with some new ideas 🙂 I’m looking forward to hearing back from you!

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