Friday, July 17, 2015

Maestro Please! Concertina Book!

Leporello/Accordion/Concertina Book
"Hey, what did you do all day Libby?"

Yesterday I was sort of at loose ends, creatively speaking, and so in order to corral my thoughts I decided to focus on a project. 

I have written several times about being inspired by the artwork of Etel Adnan. If you follow that link, it will take you to her website where not only can you see her paintings and learn about her writing but you can also see something that she makes. They are called leporellos or concertina books. They are folded, accordion style, and create a complete little story board. Kind of like a folded comic strip. I thought that it would be the perfect way to explore some composition ideas in a small format. 

Using just a few guidelines, I tried to make the compositions cohesive via color and background. I did try and make each piece relevant to the preceding piece which was challenging. It requires actively thinking about both pieces at once, how they relate to each other. Making all of the compositions also required thinking about them collectively as one unit. How would they all fit together? 

I find that when I try something new, I tend to forget some of the guiding ideas that I have regarding compositions. For the past seven months I have been working with just a few principles. The overriding factor is proportion. I apply that concept (domination and subordination) to things like color, line and shape. Within that framework, I try to work with two color relationships such as violet blue and yellow orange along with blue green and red orange. This combo seems to be attractive to me and most often represents the things I see in my landscape. Additionally, I have this crazy idea about throwing in the color green as a "neutral." It seems like it can break up and add interest to the other colors. As I was working yesterday it was as if I was starting from scratch. I had to consciously think about some of my ideas in order to work each composition. 

In the end, I was pleasantly surprised. The whole process was like sketching only with paper and scissors (Enter Matisse...). It was great for "what if" idea generating. I had a much harder time though when I was actively trying to create a scene. It was better when I just started with a large shape and built from there. It also showed me that I tend to build something from the bottom of the frame to the top. I really want to focus more on building the image in an overall way. But, I did end up with several ideas for paintings and I did keep my original inspiration at the forefront. It was a great experience and one that I recommend highly. Just paper, scissors and glue.

Hope everyone has had a good week. Let me know what you think about the above.


  1. What fun, Libby! A great way to record ideas, drafts, thoughts, choices, etc. Kind of amazing what you learn about yourself, isn't it?!

  2. Libby- this is great. I had never heard of Leporello before. Love how you pulled each page together. It certainly has great continuity. So glad you shared.

  3. LIBBY, I LOVE this!!!!
    Wow, put me in mind of Matisse immediately!!


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