I have a thing for Robins. They are a symbol of the joy I feel in spring after the long, dark winter. A certain robin, the same one for 3 or 4 years, has raised, along with her mate, 2-3 broods every year. She builds her nest on top of a sheltered post on our open back porch. I lure her back to this spot with raisins. She and her mate show up in April, “asking” for raisins with a plucky stance as they gaze up at me through the glass of the kitchen door. In feeding them this occasional treat, I always remember my mother, who started this activity many years ago and derived great pleasure from it, as I now do. Both male and female are devoted and energetic parents.
It is now mid-July, and I think the Robins have moved on for the summer.
Here is some new work using my new Spring stencil. First I created the background water pattern, using the water stencil featured in this post. I pasted my Spring stencil over that background. One of the challenges for me was getting the values dark enough in contrast to the background. This was in part due to my tendency to be tentative with use of pigments. Also, the work looks darker when it is wet; nevertheless I still had trouble getting dark enough values. I painted probably 4-5 layers of pigments and soy. In the top image, the darkest values in the branches and buds were painted on after washing off the paste – a method of fixing it when you wash the paste off too soon!
Another general challenge in katazome, which I really felt while working on this piece, is that the yellowish rice paste resist covers the lightest values in the work, so what you see is not really what you get. This adds to the excitement (and/or disappointment!) when you do finally wash off the paste! I’ve posted more photos of the work in progress in this photo album on my Facebook page.
I stitched the piece to a sheet of handmade Japanese moriki kozo paper from Wet Paint Art, treated with konnyaku starch (to give it texture and strengthen it for stitching).
In the example above I added an image of a cardinal before pasting the Spring stencil. The cardinal was dyed and covered with paste before adding the primary Spring layer.
A cardinal takes flight from a rain garden near my house – a surprising flash of red that always makes my heart skip a beat!
The Redwing Blackbirds are singing earlier than usual.
Cattails with morning sun…
So far, the only minnows I’ve seen are the ones coming out of my studio. This piece approx 24×60. I wanted to try 2-colors (instead of 4). My friend Maddy, who can’t get enough indigo these days, would like to see dark indigo minnows on a lighter indigo background. I think I’ll try that next.