Petroglyph Elves

December 25th, 2014
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Sturdy notebooks with wax paper protecting the inner pages

The holidays were just around the corner. Yikes! What to do for my far flung family and nieces and nephews? I turned to the petroglyph elves. Problem solved! I decided I’d have some fun with little notebooks this year.
I started with sturdy little pocket sized notebooks. These aren’t moleskine but they are well made. (For more about how I use moleskines, click here.) In fact, it was a little bit hard to paint over the cover designs which were pretty fun and interesting. But… I had a mission.

First I wrapped the pages very carefully in saran wrap to keep them from getting speckled and stuck with acrylic. Then I covered each one with several layers of black gesso, which gives me a good ground to paint on and also makes the notebook sturdier.

Painting each notebook with several layers of black gesso.

Painting each notebook with several layers of black gesso.

The next step was to put on an interesting base color. So I sponged the surface with several layers of transparent and opaque warm tones with some gold flecks, carefully letting it each layer dry before adding another.

BEginning the stencils on the warm toned backgrounds.

BEginning the stencils on the warm toned backgrounds.

I’ve been building a collection of of hand-cut petroglyph stencils for years. The designs are all based on actual petroglyphs which I have seen carved into cliff and cave walls throughout the south west.

As soon as the base color was dry, I began choosing which stencils to use to make an interesting design.

What you can’t see in the photo is that each notebook has a metallic gold gleam.  I also glued a marker ribbon in to the back of the book so that you could mark your place in the book.

And here’s the final product!

Finished stenciled notebooks.

Finished stenciled notebooks.

2 Responses to “Petroglyph Elves”

  1. Nanci Hersh says:

    How lucky for your far flung family members to be on YOUR list! and how fortunate for the rest of us to get some insight- with great photos- of the behind the scenes of how your create your beautiful notebooks. May you continue to be inspired in the New Year- and keep sharing with us. Merry and Happy Liza!

  2. Tom Myers says:

    And some of the nieces and nephews were saying “But did she actually MAKE these?” and it simply didn’t occur to me to say “No, the petroglyph elves made them, at the West Pole.” (Pooh seems to have discovered the East Pole, which was inhabited by Wild Woozles at least in his dream, but there may well be petroglyph elves at the West Pole.) Maybe next time.

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