The finished front cover of the new Timothy C. Ely journal form
I am in love with the Ely journal form. I finally finished the cover last weekend. The perfect Japanese paper presented itself—and I had just enough to finish the covers, using the deep ultramarine blue deckle edge to good effect. It is hand block printed Japanese paper that I bought at Aiko’s in Chicago probably twenty plus years ago, when I was an ungrad at Indiana University. I had this paper stashed in my flat file for the just right project. This beautiful paper finished the Ely journal covers perfectly. It’s tailored and neat. The book makes me happy whenever I look at it.
Working in the new journal is taking some time. I’m always a bit uncomfortable with a new journal—all those blank pages are intimidating. At the workshop I tried Ely’s suggestion of entry points into the new book—though they are not my usual sort of entry points. I may do that with the new journals I am getting ready to bind—create drawings and then mix up the pages before I sew the binding to see where they end up. I have four new books stacked up on my drafting table in my studio, book blocks torn down and folded, covers made, ready to be sewn.
The first page of watercolor swatches, Illustrated Journal, Volume 25
For now, I carry the new journal around and admire it, opening it and appreciating the possibilities of the blank page. I caress the lush grey BFK pages, turning them over slowly.
This morning I was dreaming over the new Daniel Smith sale catalogue, a Wish Book for artists, studying the watercolor charts, looking at the sales on new paints and papers. I reached for my new journal, to refer to the watercolor paint swatches I glued into it. They are now archived where I can find them, and refer to them for my creative research. Dreamily I turned over the pages of watercolor swatches in my journal, filling in the blanks.
I am drawn to the handmade Daniel Smith watercolors with names like Italian Burnt Sienna, Naples Yellow, Italian Venetian Red, and Pompeii Red. Of course I have to have these new colors to round out my palette, to carry with me to the artist residency at Palazzo Rinaldi in Noepoli, Basilicata. My return to Italy begins in Florence, and on this trip I am determined to identify the pigment for Rosa Firentino, Florence Pink, the color of so many of the old stucco buildings in Florence.