The drive to doodle: compulsive therapy. I read this review in the New York Times (click the title of this post if you’ve subscribed to NYT online), and I want to head right on over to the American Folk Art Museum. Too bad I’m 1,110.39 miles away.
A few more images of the show are here at American Folk Art Museum’s website.
Spring Haiku — an artist book I made in spring 1997.Covers of handmade paper with turnip greens inclusions, over matboard; Arches Text Wove for text. Oriental paper hinges, painted, cut into 3x-wide strips. Handmade paints — pure pigments plus gum arabic plus (in the case of Alizarin Violet) titanium-coated mica flakes for sparkle. The washes brushed with methyl cellulose — to improve the surface for fine (that is to say, small) lettering. The lettering was done with a #5 Mitchell dip pen. Size: 2 1/2″ x 2 5/8″. Uploaded to test software. Both photos are thumbnails to larger photos.
Each Friday, the folks at Illustration Friday website propose a theme for illustration. And for the past two weeks I’ve enjoyed clicking through the 150+ artists who each contribute by illustrating on the topic and then linking back to the theme page at Illustration Friday.
What a variety of responses! It’s fascinating to page through them all.
My first submission to Illustration Friday is an artist book I did nearly 4 years ago. Click on the thumbnail above for a larger look. The text, an anonymous quotation, reads: “Man, despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication and many accomplishments, owes the fact of his existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.”
I used this same text in the broadside done last month and uploaded to this blog on August 20.
The thing that is absorbing me now is color in calligraphy. So many color courses are geared toward painting or landscaping, where the artist is dealing with fields of color. But in the case of most lettering, we are dealing with two colors: the letter color itself and the background upon which the letter lies.
(I should say: *at least* two colors. If the background is not a flat color, then the color or tint is changing. And whether the color of the lettering is flat or variegated, it is changing against a variegated background.)
And the letters must have at least enough contrast from the background to be read, unless you are simply making a calligraphic painting which is meant to be abstract or representational.
So how do these new parameters affect our study of color? I don’t know. I’m floundering about on this, and have been for awhile.
The solution for many calligraphers is to simply separate a color study from the lettering, as I did in the preceding little landscapes. There are other solutions, all with pitfalls.