What do they say about dreams coming true? “It is a dangerous thing”. The new studio is set up and ready to go. The frames are built and the kozo paper is stretched. A whole crate of Golden Liquid Acrylics is on the table. Two dozen brushes, new and used, wait patiently. The sun is shining and the espresso is doing its work. The perfect moment has arrived. But where is the idea?
My first work in the new studio in Umbria was a commission for a client who had seen an exhibition of my large kozo sheets in the Asia Pacific Museum of Warsaw. One sheet caught his eye and gave him the idea to commission three scrolls based on ancient haiku. The dream commission, of course! The problem, as we all know, is to recreate the freedom and energy of a piece in a new work. We create in the moment, in a flow of ideas and actions. I don’t know about you, but I do not recall all the spontaneous decisions that happen when the spirit moves me. I grab this brush, a bit of that color, turn the paper upside down, play different music on the radio……..and all of this goes into the work. This process cannot be repeated. Something new has to happen.
It took at least six failed sheets before I achieved something worth looking at. What made the seventh different? I am not sure, but somehow in the process I managed to forget the commission and do my own thing. I can use the first six sheets for all sorts of things: collages, boxes, book covers. Kozo paper is ideal for them all. The seventh sheet has the poetry I was looking for. Two more failures and two more successes. That’s thirty meters of kozo paper to produce the three scrolls!
It can get you down, to be sure. How many of us have moments of fundamental doubt? I have them all the time. Pushing through that barrier takes a lot of energy and courage, both of which I usually manage to find. Here in the Umbrian hills the winds whisper: “dolce far niente, dolce far niente”. But I have miles to go before I sleep.
I have enjoyed experimenting with my Yellow Submarine letters, trying out layers of transparent colors. This takes me back to childhood, when I would scribble a sheet full and then fill in the spaces with colors. Was that the beginning of my calligraphic adventure?