I know I’m late – it’s been busy. I really didn’t want to throw this last giveaway up without a true and proper book review because Melanie Testa’s book, Dreaming from the Journal Page, is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. She is a talented artist and a gentle soul with a rock hard core of strength and resilience that inspires me. I first met her several years ago and you can read my series of interviews with her here.
I have two copies of her book or there is no way I’d be giving this pretty thing up. It’s very exciting to me that I have one to share because I hope you will love it as much as I do. Dreaming from the Journal Page is a beautiful blend of technique and inspiration for those of us who explore more than one medium.
Both her work on paper and in cloth is deeply textured and layered but manages to retain a clean simplicity and purity of focus. I have always loved her deep connection to her subject matter and her love of decorative forms. This book is a look into Ms. Testa’s process and gives one a glimpse of her work that leaves you feeling uplifted.
Melanie guides you through a basic understanding of some of her favorite materials and techniques. She introduces the reader to basic information on paper, brushes, paints, glues, and gives you the instruction, “Your job is to experiment and learn the qualities of each so that you can pair a technique with a planned outcome.” Then she gives you a detailed chart of which techniques might work well with which materials. Chapter 2 guides you through an exploration of color with different media such as collage, watercolors, and dyes. I find her challenges and prompts to be well thought out – giving enough instruction that the reader will not feel lost but leaving room for playfulness.
The third chapter runs through myriad techniques such as soy wax resist for dye, and frisket resist for watercolors. She talks about solid grounds and gradations, stamps and stencils. There isn’t anything new and earth shattering in this chapter, just good, solid basic information – well written and sumptuously illustrated.
My favorite chapters are in the back of the book with page after page from her journals, her textile art, and even some more low key projects such as t-shirts and pillows. I can spend hours looking into the layers of her creations and always come away happier and with a desire to create something beautiful myself.
Knowing that she wrote this book throughout her cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery process makes it all the more amazing. You can read more about Melanie on her website/blog at http://melanietesta.com.
I can’t wait to give this lovely book to one of you! I hope it will be as inspiring to you as it is to me. Please leave a comment for your chance to win. Do you have any stories about art and healing in your own life? What do you think art is for? Why do you create art?
I’ll draw a winner next Sunday June 9th. If you absolutely can’t wait I highly encourage you to go ahead and purchase the book! If you really want to support the artist buy it directly from her (signed) here!