She sat by a window and peered out.
The windows of the sitting room
were thick with spiralled frost,
and her breath showed on the air.
Winter, she thought, had its back up.
Outside, hills and meadows, pastures and swamps
lay silent under a stiff crust of snow.
Sun glittered along the crust and the moon
hung pale in the east.
Sometimes she thought of spring.
She seemed to smell it in the air
like Flowering Almond blossoms.
The snow whirled between the house and the road
but she did not mind
even if the snow should cover the windows.
She knew things would be different in the
clip art modified in PhotoShop, photocopy onto a
transparency, acrylic paint, acrylic ink
1) Transparencies don't bend; it's not easy having them lay
across the gutter on a double page spread.
page was pretty complicated. It's difficult to see here, but
the image of the woman at the window is printed on a
transparency. I used Photoshop LE to scan and alter a piece
of clip art that I had. I wanted it to look like we're
looking through a window at the woman who's looking out the
window at the scene from the next page. I am a real novice
with PhotoShop and it took me quite a long time to figure
out how to do this so that it looked the way I wanted. I had
to position the window just right, so the edge of it
wouldn't be too close to the gutter. And I didn't want the
woman's face in the fold either. It was quite a challenge!
When I was done, I printed the picture and then had the
transparency made at the copy shop.
acrylics to paint the back of the transparency in the places
where I didn't want the book text to show through: the
woman's hands, face, collar, and apron. The acrylics dry
pretty fast, so you have to blend quickly. Whatever color
you lay down first on the film is the one that's going to
show through on the other side, although a cool thing you
can do is scratch paint away from the transparency in
the transparency was going to cross the book gutter, I had
to do something to allow it to fold when the book was
closed. So I carefully measured and cut down the center of
the transparency. I used a piece of scotch tape to tape the
two pieces together again and created a flexible hinge that
allows the two sides of the transparency to fold together
when I close the book. The scotch tape is completely
invisible behind the transparency. I hope it holds up
I cut a
shallow niche in the space where the smaller window is. I
glued several pages together, marked the spot with pencil,
and cut the pages out using an exacto blade.
painted all over the book pages with silver acrylic ink
which is just transparent enough to let some text ghost
I went on to do the
next page and took a picture of it, which I then scaled down and glued
into the window niche. I then glued the transparency onto the book pages
using gel medium. I initially tried to adhere it using double stick
tape, but I really messed that up. It was very difficult to place the
transparency on the page in a way that it would lay flat when open and
not buckle up when the book is closed. You can't tell from the picture,
but when the book is open, the transparency doesn't really lie flat
on the page. I'm not sure that I'll do a transparency across a double
page spread again. It's just too inflexible. I think a
would be a better choice.
me a couple of hours to write the poem that goes with this
page. I had cut out some sentences when I first started
working on "Winter," and then I needed to put them together.
I used bits and pieces of sentences and phrases and
rearranged them and cut and glued and added new words from
other pages I'd cut out until I got the poem just the way I
wanted it. But then, the text wouldn't fit around the
outside of the page, which is how I intended to place it. It
was a little tricky finding a place to put the text that
wouldn't cover up the picture. I considered several
different ways of doing it and ended up with this, which I
think worked out okay. I used Perfect Paper Adhesive matte
for this work because it's so light and
There were a lot of false starts on these pages. I orginally
painted the book pages a flat gray acrylic, but when I put
the transparency over it, it was just too dull. I tore those
pages out and used the silver inks instead.
painted the flower pots what I hoped would look like terra
cotta, but they ended up too red. My son liked it, but I
just looked at it and said, "yuck." I used a piece of cheese
cloth dipped in water and elbow grease to scrub off the
wanted the text to go around the outside of the page, but it
wouldn't fit. Then I tried sewing the words together - very
creative sounding, huh? Did not work at all. Luckily, the
little sewing needle holes on the text strips are barely
As I worked past
midnight writing my "found" poem, I wondered why I was making all the
effort. Every time I have given The
to someone to look at, they never read the words, just "oohed" and "ahhed"
over the pictures. (Which is of course a wonderful reaction to have.)
I keep wanting to say, "Slow down. Read what it says. Those words
took as much time as the artwork. Those words are what guided the
I made for the artwork."
the bottom line is, I have to remind myself that I'm doing
this just for me. Even though I'm sharing my work with
others on the Internet, when I'm writing the poem, or
scrubbing off the gross colored paint, or cutting out unruly
threads, I'm doing it just to make myself happy. Just to do
the best I can at that moment. No real disasters for me,
just constantly learning.