So I'm in the middle of doing a whole series of poems and quotes, translated into circular Gallifrey (the language of The Doctor on Doctor Who), and done as mounted papercuttings. This is the last stanza from "Invictus," by William Earnest Henley. It is one of my very favorite poems ever, and means a lot to me for a variety of different reasons. AND AND AND!!! This piece was just published in the Suisun Valley Review art and literary journal!! My first publication!!! I'm excited to get the rest of my pieces done and in the gallery, woo!
Ok ok ok. So this is the last stanza of the poem. Each circle is a line of text, and reads counter-clockwise from the big circle:
It matters not how straight the gate, How charged with punishment the scroll. I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.
For this one, I translated each line of text individually so I could see the full circle as reference, and printed the images reversed. Then I broke out the good ol' protractor, compass, and ruler, and set about the painstaking task of freehanding the translation. I overlapped each line so the circles sort of wove into each other, so that the overlap enabled me to have the circles each share something- a punctuation, a word, a letter grouping, etc. So while each circle is stand alone, they all are also completely connected by shared curves, lines, or symbols.
Yay, more papercutting! Ok, so I love robots (and if you've followed any of my art, you probably already know that). Like, really, really love them. And when I got into papercutting, one of the first things I wanted to make was a robot papercutting. Thus, this precious baby came into fruition:
Papercutting from a single sheet, mounted on top of a watercolor backing, about 7x9". This is actually inspired by one of my favorite images ever, Robot 1920, by Giacobino:
So I set about trying to translate it into a papercutting, which proved to be an enormous challenge and pissed me off to no end. The problem is, all those little pieces where the robot is flying apart, have to be touching in some manner, for the thing to work. I went through several attempts to make it work, before I finally got it. So the straight diagonal lines in the final image aren't just for aesthetic, but also to help hold all the little pieces together, to give the image a framework in which to explode around. Whee!
So below, you can see how I mean. I printed it in black and white, so I could see the primary lines of importance, and began cutting, making sure to go in very small areas, so I could make sure nothing was getting cut that shouldn't be. As I finished an area, I would cut and peel away the reference picture, to reveal the actual papercutting underneath, so I wouldn't accidentally cut something twice.
And the reverse side:
And the final cutting before I mounted it to the watercolor backing. Of all the papercuttings I've done, this is actually one of the most delicate, because there are so many tiny pieces that are connected to the main sheet by hardly more than a hair's width of paper. I just about murdered the parent of one of my music students, who came in to drop her kid off for a lesson, and just scooped it up out of my sketchbook by one of those thin diagonal lines to look at, and almost ripped the whole thing in half (the mom did this, not the kid). I screeched completely unabashedly, and she was extraordinarily embarrassed, and I literally have no sympathy. Ugh, dummy.
Whew, it's been awhile since I posted recent arts, and I have a helluva backlog of stuff to share!
I saw some lovely drawings recently done in lighter pencil on black paper, and was totally taken by the technique. I've never done it before, and thought what the hell, and gave it a try. And since I am in eternal fangirl mode for all things Marvel, here we are.
Loki, done in white pencil on black paper, just the parts where the light reflects on the surfaces. It was a bit of a challenge thinking in reverse (drawing only highlights, rather than only shadows, and still trying to convey some sort of expression), but I loved the effect. Expect to see a lot more like this!
Thanks, all! Jen, I tend to work right to left and try to flesh out the majority of the shading and detail as I go, because I'm a lefty and tend to drag my hand and smear what I've already drawn, otherwise. I used to do the whole thing at once in layers, but it just doesn't work as well for me, with the hook-handed way I hold the pencil.
Hey! I finally graduated grad school! So that means I finally have time to art again, yay! I was feeling really rusty, and thought it would do me good to bone up on drawing male faces and facial hair, so this is what happened. I've been on an Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes binge recently, so of course visions of RDJ have been swirling about like an opiate fog in my head. Mechanical pencil in my sketchbook.
Yes, I am a lefty; put that spiral to the right now, yeeeaaahhhhh!!
How about some process pics, since that's my usual modus operandi?
I used heavy watercolor paper, same as what the backing is painted on. It doesn't tear as easily, but you will probably go through more blades and have to take more breaks, because it's harder to cut through. I used the heavy paper since my mentoree artist had never done this technique before.
When I'm cutting, I generally pull the blade towards me, and I'll use a finger of my other hand to hold down the area from where I'm pulling (does that make sense?), so that the drag of the blade doesn't pull the paper apart. If it does tear, no big deal. Press on a little piece of tape or glue a little paper brace over the tear, then cut away the excess. The map that we did had several braces, oops! Sometimes the blade just runs away from you, lol.
Honestly though, thinner paper is a lot easier to cut because you can move the blade much more fluidly, like drawing a pencil across paper, rather than drawing a knife through a steak.
So I just posted about the big art project that I did for the "Art for Arthritis" benefit in my hometown, so I'll paraphrase here. In addition to the big auction piece, the artists and their mentoree artists also create a smaller piece for a silent auction. We made this papercutting, called "Even This Gecko is Meta."
It's (obvs) a big gecko, but all the lacy cut-outs are smaller geckos, each a little different. My mentoree artist came up with the concept and design for this one all on her own! We did the watercolor backing with the same blending technique as the other piece, but in vibrant greens and blues. I stupidly didn't get a pic of the framed final product before it went to auction, but I framed in in a black gallery frame with a wide charcoal outer mat and a thin, dark teal inner mat. It looked really sharp. This one is 18"x18".
Work in progress. We both went through a box of Pac-Man bandaids over the course of these two projects. I've been preparing a collection of papercuttings for an upcoming show (I'll post pics soon!), and I think I might be single-handedly keeping X-acto and Bandaid in business.
yoopidou Thanks! We took a lot of breaks, and did the work over several sessions, so it was definitely manageable. She was really a trooper, though. She just picks up on technique so fast, you can't even tell which parts she did and which parts I did.
leather and lace OMG. OMG! You need to realize that I literally (LITERALLY) just ran a lap around the house squealing! I'm completely honored and flabbergasted and humbled that you've followed my work through all this time! I can't even express how much it means to me that anyone finds my stuff appealing enough to remember, let alone inspiring. Thank you, thank you so much for your kind words. I do hope you'll share your paintings soon, I can't wait to see!
So my city has a big art benefit auction called "Art for Arthritis" every year, to raise money for juvenile arthritis research. Local artists are paired with a child who has juvenile arthritis, and they create a piece together to be auctioned off at a big fancy gala with all the city bigwigs. This is my second year as a mentor artist for the event, and it's a lot of fun.
This year, my mentoree artist and I created a lacework papercutting of a map of our city, Wichita, KS, entitled "Home, Sweet Home." The benefit auction was last night, and it took the second highest bid of the night, with an outright bidding war! Anyway, this took us about 20 hours, and over 100 x-acto blades (the tips kept snapping off). Most of the streets are 1-2mm wide, and the whole thing was as delicate as a spiderweb when it was done.
We mounted it on a large watercolor background that we did using a lot of water and a lot of pigment, letting the colors flow and blend without brushstrokes. We used shades of red and orange to reflect the colors of the city flag and the patina of our iconic Keeper of the Plains, by Blackbear Bosin (a 44-foot metal American Indian sculpture that stands guard over us at the city center, a symbol of our city). The finished piece is 18"x24", and 28"x32" framed, with a red and grey double mat. Stay tuned for process pics!
We drew the map out, using Google Maps as a reference. You'll notice that we drew it backwards, so that when we cut it, the clean side would face the right way. Bonus kitty helping.
Started from the center outward, saving the big pieces for last.
My mentoree artist, working hard! She just turned 13, and is such an articulate, intelligent, thoughtful young lady. This is our second year working together, and we've had such a great time.
All cut out! We just loved how it turned out- you can see the cloverleafs on the highways and the rivers, with the big stripe across the middle and up and down the center US-54 and I-135 respectively; all the random white squares are some of the larger parks, and the two masses on the bottom left and right are Mid-Continent Airport and McConnell AFB, respectively.
This is the most accurate pic of the watercolor backing, I couldn't seem to get a good pic of the color once it was framed and glass in the way.
And a bonus pic of the Keeper, part of our inspiration: