Reading is a great way to nurture creativity. When I am wondering how to approach part of a painting or am just looking for ideas, I often turn to books, and not necessarily books related to painting.
I’ve recently borrowed The Ancient Japanese Art of Papermaking from my father’s library. We often talk about books, mostly unique or older books, and this one piqued my curiosity.
Key Principles of the Art Process
While I don’t plan on making paper anytime soon, reading about the ancient process of papermaking was fascinating. The simplicity of the text and drawings in Echizen Washi are a good example of the minimalist aesthetic and design for which Japan has come to be known. As I read, I started to see papermaking as a metaphor for the art process in general and was reminded of (en inspired by) some key artistic principles. Here they are in a nutshell:
Scrabble and I have a long history. It’s a game I played with my great aunt (she always won) and cousin, with my mother and with my children. At some point, I started to look at the board as a surface I could alter: it’s rigid, can handle mixed media treatment, can be painted on both sides and it comes with its own box. I also like that it can stand on its own, this makes it easy to display.
I did have some reservations about painting over a perfectly fine board game. However, it was easy to find an incomplete (missing letters) second hand game for this project. I didn’t use the letters this time around, I suspect they will show up in other projects.
I’ve been experimenting on a small scale lately. It was initially out of necessity, since work has been keeping me busy. However, I’ve come to enjoy working smaller, at times on shipping tags; they are sturdy enough to receive paint, writing and collage.
Our backyard skating rink is one of my favorite places. On this particular morning, there was fresh fallen snow.
As I set foot on the rink, I started thinking about it as a very large canvas. Every step, every movement of the blade on the white surface became like a brush stroke on a blank canvas.
There was no stuggle as I smoothly skated to cover the whole surface.
My latest journal is a simple accordion fold. I usually work in a sketchbook, but the format really doesn’t lend itself to display. I wanted something a bit more open that could stand on its own.
What you see here are the first few layers of collage, writing and washes of acrylic paint. I’ll continue layering until shapes and meaning emerge.
The collage material that I use serves as a springboard for my imagination. I rarely leave it intact and prefer to transform the whole surface to make it my own.