Inspiration

Easing into darkness and light

I've been invited to participate in Grand Marais Art Colony's annual spring theme exhibit, entitled Rhythms of Darkness and Light. Participating artists will make new work in response to the theme. The show will be held March 23 - April 1, 2012. (NOTE: I'll be teaching a katazome workshop at GMAC this coming summer.) As I delve into this rich motif, I will share some of my process here. I'll be working on several closely related pieces simultaneously, one of which will go into this show.

Playing with leaf bundles (as taught by India Flint in her marvy book) last week felt like the perfect way to begin contemplating the theme, allowing space for my imagination to simmer. My intention is to explore the use of these subtle prints as a background to imagery made with layers of rice paste, stencils, and natural pigments (katazome materials and techniques).

peach and black willow leaves ecoprinted on soy mordanted silk

peach and black willow leaves ecoprinted on soy mordanted silk

Beginning, there many images floating in my mind. A memory of a walk around my local pond near the summer solstice of 2010 is mingling with walks this winter where bare branches - subtle in color - and gray skies are dominant.

grackles climbing black willow © Kit Eastman

grackles climbing black willow © Kit Eastman

red twig dogwood branches

red twig dogwood branches

As you know if you've visited this blog before, katazome is a centuries old Japanese tradition. Sometimes it's perplexing to explain  to people why I am so passionate about these luscious materials and labor-intensive, exacting processes. This article, does a great job beginning to explain it, within the context of an exhibit review. Have a look:  Beauty in all things

 

Craving color

I was thinking today how monotone winter can be. This weekend it's been raining, sleeting, the snow is dirty and the skies are dark gray. Then I found this photo I snapped a couple of weeks ago ...

Sunset.jpg

I'm dyeing this work with fuchsia and turquoisey-teal, and where they overlap makes a kind of violet. Keeping a softer focus with my eyes and a looser grip on the brush feels great after the concentration needed to paste a repeat. Less fussy. And this approach to the painting should give some softness to the details and edges defined by the stencil.

the paste is the yellow part; it gets washed off later

the paste is the yellow part; it gets washed off later

The little tulips that inspired this pattern are the first bulbs to bloom in my garden. We won't see them again until mid-April or so.

Species Tulips - the first bloom in spring

Species Tulips - the first bloom in spring