Wanderlust: found poetry

Series: Wanderlust 2021 #25

I’m not a huge fan of using words in my art but I keep giving it a go in its various forms just in case something clicks with me. However, I did enjoy the process of creating this poem — take random pages from random books, cut out phrases that appeal, spread them out, find ones that fit together and play until you have something that resembles a poem.

Note: If you don’t want to cut up books (I have only a few sacrificial books that I use), then the Internet Archive Books collection is a hugely useful resource, both for text and images. Teacher’s manuals can have some interesting text layouts (especially handy if you’re looking for collage papers that aren’t just solid blocks of text) and some interesting phrasing in the older ones: some of the pieces of this poem came from a book called “Liquid drops and globules“. For some unusual painted patterns and pictures, search for Shin Bijutsukai which was a Japanese design magazine at the turn of the 20th century.

The finished poem on the page neither inspires nor offends me, but the background… I absolutely love this background. With the watery element in the poem, I knew I had to use blue as the main colour — not one of my usual go-to colours — but it works so well here. All the layers of paint: applied with a brush, a palette knife, junk stamping and finally fingertips. Add in some stamping with archival ink and texture stamps and this background makes me happy.

I hadn’t come across the term junk stamping before, though it is really self-explanatory: it is simply stamping with found objects, in this case, tops off different spray bottles.

Kate Crane made simple watercolour flowers for her final layer; with my watery theme I had to make it a little trickier with an approximation of water lilies instead. If I look too closely at them, I think that I could have done better, but when I step back, I think they work well on the page.


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