Discussion in 'Support the small press' started by bospress.net, Apr 10, 2011.
The book is much better on the inside.
Sample inserts for the Bureau edition. A postcard from The Ringmaster to The Mannikin:
Daffy Duck Comic UFO art:
Yellow parakeets in the bombed out apartment:
More duck art 1958:
And another oil painting:
I hadn't used oil paints in years and it took me a while to warm up to them again, but now I love using them. It's a much slower process than watercolors or acrylics, which is good if you aren't in a hurry, because it forces you to think about the next step, what you might do, what you should avoid, and the results are less muddy than many of my watercolors. I may just stick with oils for a while, after the 10 paintings for the Bureau Edition of Death at The Flea Circus are done.
I can't stand birds, but there is something about the parakeet painting that I really like, cant put my finger on it. What size are the paintings?
They are 4"x6" on stretched canvas.
I just finished splicing the genes of Hines and Barker together (for Alligator Stew) and then what do you know, my landlady arrives with a treasure chest. She'd opened it thinking it was that Jesus Crochet kit she'd ordered, only to be confronted with three strange little books (Barker, Winans,and Creesh). Having a two year old daughter, I have of course hidden them under armed guard on top of my wardrobe, but give me 10 years and I'll feel safe to get them down and let you know what I think. They look great though. Too good for the likes of me. The workmanship has now confirmed that I will be calling my small press operation, 'Pig Ear Press'.
A chest full of books, a small child and a wardrobe ... almost sounds like you've already read Flea Circus.
A laudanum bottle, from which the Victorian detective transferred the contents to an innocent looking chemical bottle:
The beach at Goleta.
Another Daffy Duck UFO frame:
If you're in the Salem, Oregon area, I'll be reading from and talking about Death At The Flea Circus tonight at 5:30 - 7:00, at Brigadoon Books (in the Reed Opera House, downtown). Well, I'll be reading regardless of where you happen to be, but if you're in the area, you might want to drop by. Or maybe you'd rather not. I'll be handing out free broadsides from the book, letter-pressed by our own Bill Roberts. Here's a link:
David & Bill, you guys really outdid yourselves. The book is gorgeous! I was out of town for a few weeks, and had the extreme pleasure of getting into the shop today and seeing it there on the shelf. Just a beautiful book -- can't wait to dig into it!
the digging is the best part...
got mine today. just finished a book last night, so this is now on top of my pile.
looks very, very nice Bill. you worked your crazy artistic bookmaking mojo again.
What a great looking book! Man--gorgeous!
Say--look who's now on Goodreads...
Cool. Must be one of those automatic computer magic things.
James: many thanks for making the trip down for the reading. I enjoyed meeting you and talking, and the crowd was so thin, it made a huge difference having you there. Not that more people would have lessened the impact of your being there. You know what I mean...
More of the non-automatic, 'manually add this book' magic...so the folks there could find yet another glorious offering from Bottle of Smoke Press.
This book is why I love small presses, not to mention it will look spectacular on my bookshelf once I'm done reading it. Now its just a matter of keeping the book in perfect shape as I continue to read it, I may need to get a pair of those cotton gloves.
I considered that, Bill, the possibility that what I was ascribing to mindless machines was actually done by you slaving away in the night.
DirtyJersey13: as an author, I look forward to my books showing signs of wear, a few even being trashed looking after use. It would be a really bad sign if all copies survived in mint condition. Speaking of white gloves, I bought a few pairs cheap on eBay after I borrowed a set of manuscripts on the condition that I would always wear the gloves while examining them. I got like 6 pairs, brand new, for $5.
Due to some recent purchases of mine, I've had plenty of free time the past couple of days. I've been saving up for awhile to purchase a new car and sort of got sidetracked (Buk or Buick? That is the question). Well, I thought I had made the wiser choice but a certain girlfriend (who - whom? - I didn't consult prior to aforementioned choice) went Chernobyl on me and said some unpleasant things about my decision-making skills. Anyway, I was free to do as I pleased Sunday and read Death at the Flea Circus. And pleased I was. The chapters hit hard and fast creating a mad, frenetic mosaic. There's this sense of Lovecraftian-like dread that runs through the novel that makes the lighter, more comedic moments all the more disturbing.
Good stuff, Barker. Another stellar piece by BoS, also.
Thanks, Stavrogin. Glad it did not disappoint you. Funny you should mention Lovecraft. The only chapter where I think his influence is highly visible, stylistically, is the long one towards the end where the narrator is traveling through the jungle with the insurance salesmen towards the dark tower, and the scenes at the big house/tower. I discovered Lovecraft in the late 60s -- while I was writing Death At The Flea Circus. Much later, I wrote some overtly Lovecraftian short stories -- in the 80s and 90s, but I like the fact that his influence can be felt somewhat in this earlier work.
By the way, four small oil paintings are varnished and will be ready to ship in a couple days. These are for Bureau editions. Another is done but needs to dry more before I varnish it, and two others are partly done.
how long do you let your paintings dry before you varnish?
These I let dry between 4 days and a week. I used Retouching Varnish, which allows the oil paint to continue to dry over time (it breathes so to speak). If you use a regular varnish, you have to wait at least 6 months for the painting to dry before you varnish. I hadn't varnished an oil painting since the early 1970s. I did it on these paintings for the Bureau Edition because it felt and looked right, and I wanted to use the same methods I used back then, when the book was written. I love the way the varnish looks. It livens up the colors, makes the paint look as fresh as when it was wet. Much richer looking.
David, good call! I think varnish is a good move. I don't know the exact format for the bureau edition but I guess it is sort sort of box. Movement and handling of paintings leads to wear so varnishing protects the paintings to a degree. Varnish also unifies the picture surface, something handy when you have a mixture of matt and gloss on a picture, different textures and materials etc. So aesthetically and practically speaking, varnishing is a wise choice.
You must be painter, Joseph K. I'm just relearning these things. I hadn't oil painted in years. It can get quite technical, compared to water colors or acrylics, which I find interesting. At first I just went to the art supply store and bought a bottle of regular varnish for oil paintings, but when I got home and started reading about how to apply it, realized the paintings wouldn't have time to completely dry (6 months at least), and that I would need to use a Retouching Varnish instead, so I returned to the store and exchanged it. It's kind of fun playing with these materials. I like the slow, deliberateness of oil painting. Lots of time between layers to think about what you're doing. The need for paint to dry before you go over it with a different color layer makes you take your time. I have 6 more paintings to do, but three are already half done or more, so I really just need to come up with three more ideas. I may do another of a single parakeet (instead of a pair of them). I like how that first parakeets picture came out.
I should mention that all the photos I've posted are of unvarnished paintings. They look a bit flat compared to the final, varnished versions.
does retouch varnish lose it's varnish sheen after awhile? i've never used it.
you could mix a dryer with your paints to speed up drying time. liquin is good - non-yellowing and
available in different consistencies etc - gloss, gel for impasto etc then you could use proper varnish
without the long wait.
but like i said i've never tried it, so i may be full shit...
Varnish is the first thing they remove from old paintings when they restore them, keep that in mind. You know, if you are painting for future centuries, as I'm sure everyone is. Contemporary oil painters don't use it much anymore.
Speed isn't really supposed to be a consideration when you're working in oils, but I know the reality is sometimes it has to be. Certain colors of oils dry slower than others as well, with most yellows taking the longest. Living with an oil painter you learn some of these things by osmosis. But only some. In fact the above may be the extent of my knowledge on the subject, but possessing a limited amount of knowledge has never stopped me from chiming in on any other subject.
well, they need to remove the varnish in order to get to the painted surface to restore. once that's done,
they would re-varnish with a contemporary varnish - ie one that doesn't darken and yellow with time
like the old stuff did.
a big problem can be if the painting had been varnished without enough drying time. then removing
the varnish can remove/damage the paint itself.
i'm not sure about contemporary painters varnishing less. it still serves a very important function which
is freshening up the colors after they've dried and become relatively duller. it also protects it from
does carol varnish her paintings?
see ya got me started.
Thanks, David. I know a bit about painting.
Retouching varnish degrades as all varnish does - but very slowly. And the point about varnish is that it is a clear protective coating which is not integrated to the paint, so can be removed without affecting the paint and new layers can be applied. There are various reasons why varnish fell from favour (aesthetic, practical, the use of impasto (thick paint)) but there are good conservation reasons for using it and I think that if painters don't have a technical or aesthetic objection (and remember there such a thing as matt varnish) then it should be used more often by them.
The problem with speed is that oils need to dry before damar varnish can be applied and with impasto that can be almost never. I think David's idea is a smart compromise, considering buyers of the B. ed. version don't want to wait 6 months for their copy.
No. And yes, you can see the variations in the surface of the paintings - different amounts of reflection depending on the paint and the thickness. But to me that's part of the work.
Mjp -- you're right about some colors taking longer to dry. The red I'm using takes forever. It's still a bit wet after about 2 weeks. Good thing I didn't use it much, nor on all the paintings. I was reading there are fast, medium and slow versions of most colors, depending on the chemistry of the pigment. Something I'll keep in mind when I buy new paints. About old varnish -- the really old stuff does seem to yellow badly, or even turns brown. I checked a couple of paintings I varnished in the late 60s/early 70s and the varnish is still very clear and the color good. I must have lucked into using quality varnish (I'm sure I was clueless about it). The retouching varnish I bought is very light and clear. Not cheap: $10 for a small bottle. It's a quality brand and should last a long time with no problems. Not sure really how long I let the paintings dry as I've finished them at different times -- could be up to two or three weeks, but at least 4 days on the one I finished last before I varnished them all as a group.
Started a new painting today. I like the one I did of the two parakeets, so I went back to that subject: this time one parakeet, closer up view, he's sitting in a window in the bombed out apartment, with Carpenteria beach in view behind him. It's coming along well. I seem more at ease with the oils now, like I almost know what I'm doing.
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