‘Blue Moon’ by Kathryn Lovejoy, Second Series. ‘Inspired by the mood of a spellbinding moon and living in the tropics. Created in 2011 and later published by World Wide Art Books Santa Barbara CA–“International Contemporary Masters”, Volume 7, in 2013.’ (Hand Drawn Ink and Acrylic Painting on Archival Paper) Artwork courtesy of Kathryn Lovejoy.
Sometimes life can be hard and it takes a lot of courage to pursue your passion. But now my hobby is my job and it makes me so happy.
People find Kathryn Lovejoy’s bookplate designs particularly intriguing and her first commissioned artwork was the much celebrated ‘Sacred Kingfisher’ bookplate for Dr Mark Ferson.
For the benefit of a younger generation who perhaps aren’t as familiar with bookplates as older people, bookplates, also known as ex-libris, are small, decorative labels, which people paste into the front
of a book, or into photo corners, to mark ownership.
Individuals usually choose a design because they like the artwork or because the bookplate reflects their interests,
and they commission them for the same reasons. An average bookplate usually measures about 8.5cm x 12.5cm and is printed on 90GSM acid-free paper. Kathryn’s bookplate designs are hand-drawn and feature inks, acrylics or water colours.
The New Australian Bookplate Society was formed in 2006 to raise awareness of bookplates, both historical and contemporary. Members include a number of bookplate designers who have received
commissions from fellow members and from other booklovers. Some people own hundreds of bookplates.
Kathryn Lovejoy became a member of the society in 2010. ‘I joined
NABS because it’s fascinating and I wanted to know the correct way to design and print bookplates. Bookplate art is very delicate and detailed and there are traditional woodblock printing and linocut printing methods which I would like to learn, given
‘I think it’s helpful to belong to professional or social organisations dealing with your area of expertise and whose members share your passion. As
a member of the Royal Queensland Art Society and The New Australian Bookplate Society, I get a lot of support from a creative group of established artists.’
enjoy my bookplate art very much,’ Kathryn says. ‘Each bookplate is unique, with the opportunity to be very expressive and imaginative whether I add colours or not. The lettering in bookplate art is also fun and complex. There are so many font
styles to choose from and a great deal of thought has to go into how to match the style of writing with the artwork theme. I really enjoy this and in some ways it reminds me of my days learning shorthand.
‘It’s a complicated piece of work and rewarding too. When I design a personal bookplate, it’s so interesting to create something which reflects another person’s interests. There is so much to learn and no time to be
In 2011, eight of Kathryn’s limited edition ex-libris were collected by the State Library of Queensland. ‘Eight bookplates were collected by the State Library
of Queensland and each one has a little story attached to it,’ she says. ‘All the artwork was my own design and I chose the way the stories were expressed and the direction the artwork took.
‘These days I work full-time as a painter and bookplate artist,’ Kathryn says. ‘There have been a lot of articles to write recently too, one for Portugal’s ‘24 Female International Ex-Libris Artists’. It’s
a lovely book to be a part of and I’m very excited about it. There are not enough hours in a day generally. When I’m not working on commissions, I’m working on art for the next exhibition.
At Kathryn’s art exhibitions a lot of individuals simply stand around looking confused. ‘At my exhibitions people just stare at the art almost in disbelief, as if they’re mesmerised or something and asking, ‘What am
I looking at?’ Kathryn says. ‘It’s not like any art that they have seen before.
‘I love to step back quietly and watch the reaction, but eventually
I end up talking non-stop because everyone likes to ask questions about the paintings and the bookplates.’
Occasionally life throws you a curve ball and it’s
hard not to lose focus. ‘Hope’ was my first painting after the Brisbane flood event in March 2013,’ Kathryn says. ‘It was a story board of work based on a dream I'd had earlier in Japan. I had been about to move house but had to fly to Japan unexpectedly with my father for his friend’s funeral.
‘When I returned, I went to pick up my artwork, which had been stored at my parents’ place. The force of the flood water had broken a pipe during the January rains and the water had wrecked
almost everything in the room. My artwork had been in there rotting for about seven weeks and it was sodden and covered with mould. Seeing it all so damaged and then having to dump it was horrible – like a death.
‘It was really strange. I was moved and not in a good way. I truly felt like I couldn't paint. I was drawing everything in black. I had lost perspective and felt that I was drowning. Nothing was clear and
I didn't know why I was an artist anymore. I felt removed from everything.
‘My eldest son Adam saw that I was struggling and encouraged me to start the drawing of the
dream I’d had in Japan – concept drawing again. It was a very vivid dream. I was looking toward a cliff edge and the ground opened up at my feet and my soul fell into the water.
‘This is what I mean by a natural process. I was eventually able to paint again but only with a change of style. After ‘Hope’, came ‘Man and Boy’, then ‘Carla’, ‘The Rainmakers Portal’
and ‘The Rainbow Bee-Eater’. Eventually, I found that I was still able to draw, design and paint bookplates in the earlier style of the ‘goats’, and I created ‘Nude and Moon’ in January 2014.
‘Sometimes life can be hard and it takes a lot of courage to pursue your passion. But now my hobby is my job and it makes me so happy.’
KATHRYN ELISABETH LOVEJOY is a full-time painter and bookplate artist. View artwork on her much improved
website at http://www.kathrynelovejoy.com and her new Artist
Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/kathrynlovejoyartist, both of which were updated
in July 2014. For more information on how to commission or purchase Kathryn's artwork please call her on 0424 063 527 during business hours or contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org.
OTHER INTERESTING LINKS
Find more of Kathryn's art at the Artavita website (a subsidiary of World Wide Art Books where Kathryn had two publications in Volume 7 and Volume 9) at https://artavita.com/artists/5596-kathryn-elisabeth-lovejoy.
You can also check out an article on Kathryn Lovejoy in Australian Artist – the magazine for artists by artists at https://www.australianartist.com.au/issues/search-articles?keywords=+Kathryn+Lovejoy&x=13&y=15.
International Contemporary Masters IX - Premium Pages 42-5:
The New Australian Bookplate Society: http://www.bookplatesociety.org.au/kathrynelovejoy
The Royal Queensland Art Society: http://rqas.com.au/kathrynelovejoy
Interview with Lynn Reinacher: https://www.augustana.edu/Documents/businessadmin/australia/Artpace_Lynn%5B1%5D.pdf
Australian Artist Magazine Issue # 341: https://www.australianartist.com.au/issues/view/issue/341
Bookplate Artists And Their Bookplates by Andrew G Peake: http://www.adelaidebooksellers.com.au/?page=shop/flypage&product_id=112114
Literary art form revived with Bookplates on show at The Kogarah Library:
Volume 7 of International Comtemporary
Artist Showcase Magazine New York, Spring 2014: http://artmarketpublications.net/pdf/showcase-09-spring2014.pdf
THE NEW AUSTRALIAN BOOKPLATE SOCIETY
is devoted to collectors, bibliophiles, artists and others interested in the idea of the bookplate or ex-libris. The Artists’ Gallery provides information on members who are artists and are willing to undertake commissions to design a bookplate. Visit
the Society’s website for more information at http://www.bookplatesociety.org.au/artists-gallery.
You will also find an impassioned discussion by Bryan Welch, London, about the wanton removal of collectible bookplates from the books they previously adorned at http://www.bookplatesociety.org.au/images/stories/Bookplate_Content/tnabs_newsletterno_13_web.pdf Shame!