Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Story of the Book Paintings

At last I've opened an online shop for archival prints of my watercolour bookstacks. Hooray! A long-held goal of mine finally reached.

Jodi Wiley - watercolour on paper (L-R Now Write!, Classics Collection, Before You Grow Up.)

My book paintings started initially as a way to document my own collection. The bookshelves were bulging, so I thought if I could paint some I could then cull them.

The project consumed me. I got very excited about the combinations of stacks I could make. I collected them into themes and favourites and even sourced some books from my family to create the vintage stacks. Some of my grandparents' childhood books are in there.

Many of the books represent a period of my life or spark a memory of the time I received it, read it, or even taught it when I was an English teacher.

Eventually I had a body of work, but was no closer to culling the books. The ones I painted seemed to take on even more meaning than before.

Earlier this year I exhibited this work at Blarney Books & Art in Port Fairy in a show called Marginalia and the response I got was overwhelming. It turned out many others feel the same way about books as I do. That even though most of the words we consume now come in digital form, the physical book will always have a place as a treasured object, representing far more than the words between the covers.

Each painting was created with a stack of real books in front of me. The outline of the stack is done first on watercolour paper, then the colour applied with multiple glazes of watercolour. The paintings are time consuming because you must wait for each glaze to dry completely.

But the most time-intensive element is also my favourite: hand-lettering the titles on the spines. I use a combination of watercolour, ink and gouache for this part and love to get lost in the process.

Jodi Wiley - Little Oxford

I revel in making the books look as realistic as possible: the wear and tear of the spines, bowed covers, dog-eared pages and the shadows cast by a skewed stack.

I have been wanting to set up an online shop selling archival prints for ages and I've finally got around to it!

It's open as a pop-up only until the end of the month: from Tuesday 18 July until Monday 31st July, 8pm (AEST). For more information head over to the shop's FAQ page.

Jodi Wiley - The Places You'll Go

I'm so happy with the beautiful quality of the prints. They are outsourced to a local Fine Art printer in Melbourne and are printed with pigment inks on archival, acid-free cotton rag paper. I will be signing and packaging each individual print myself with great love and care!

So here is the shop! Let me know what you think :)