Wedding Guest Book, 1987

Wedding Guest Book
Bound by Minsky 2016
10" x 12"
Alum tawed goat, recessed 6" x 9" panel by Minsky, lacquered oil glazes over inkjet on canvas.
Onlay border, lacquered inkjet on paper

The bride selected this as the cover design based on the guest book Minsky had made for her aunt in 1987 (right, click to visit that page), who was married in the same location, which is at a family home. The 1987 panel was drawn in pencil and painted in acrylics. Since then the weeping cherry trees had gone down in a hurricane and were replaced with a different species, and the landscaping modified, but the feeling of the place is much the same.

The last three decades have seen the advent of digital photography, inkjet printing, and the Internet. The challenge Minsky gave himself was to apply these technological developments and the evolution of his creative process to the project. For the first step he shot dozens of photos of the location with a Canon Eos Rebel T2i.  The area around the stonework bench and statue was in deep shade, and the camera optics foreshortened the view, compressing the space, as seen in the photo to the right. There were bare spots in the cherry blossoms that detracted from the effect of an arched bower. Several images of the trees, bench, statue, branches, and lawn were digitally montaged in Photoshop to create the depth of space and feeling achieved in the cover panel.

Adjustments in the brightness and contrast of each area were made in the montage process to bring a Pre-Raphaelite inspired bucolic light to the scene, as though shafts of sunlight were filtering through the trees onto the statue. The image was then printed in archival pigment inkjet (Epson R1900 with Ultrachrome II inks) on BF Inkjet Media PC12.1 canvas. This was mounted to Strathmore 2-ply museum board,100% cotton fiber using Jade 403 PVA.

Drawing on the Renaissance technique of underpainting and glazing to create luminosity, oil glazes were applied over the printed image, starting with the cherry blossoms. This made them advance visually from the picture plane, creating depth. The hot pink of the blossoms employs Hans Hoffman's concept of color as a push and pull of the picture plane, and in keeping with this theory, blue sky was added behind the trees, eliminating some branches in the background, making the illusion of space deeper. Below is a snapshot of the panel nearly finished, before trimming, which enables you to see how the oil glazes were applied over the image.

An illusionistic picture frame was made by stretching a picture of a frame to the right shape in Photoshop and printing several versions by inkjet in different colors to see which worked best with the panel. The frame and the panel were coated first with clear gloss lacquer and then a thin coat of satin finish lacquer.

The bride's favorite color is pink, and a search of the Internet turned up many cherry blossoms. None were the right color pink.  An image was cropped, re-colored to match the trees on the cover, and flipped horizontally to create a canopy.

Click here to see more guest books and blank books.

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