Wednesday, June 21, 2017

stamp people



It has been two years since I first encountered Jacki Long's "stamp people." I was utterly charmed from the very start, and I couldn't wait to imitate her style. But the idea must have needed time to ferment deep inside of me, because I couldn't seem to act on my intentions.

Two weeks ago, I was dusting off a stack of stamp albums that remained from a long forgotten childhood passion. This led to the merciless culling of a box full of cooking magazines I'd meant, but failed, to throw into the recycling bin.

Suddenly, the time was ripe, and stamp people collages began popping out of me at the pace of one a day.  It has been LOADS of fun.

The postage stamps themselves are rather boring as stamps go, but the men depicted on them rightly earned their places there, and their stories and characters are fascinating. So here I present to you my first crop of stamp people collages. From the top: Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, John Muir, Albert Einstein, and Johann Sebastian Bach.

Many more are on their way. Prints are available from my RedBubble portfolio.






Saturday, May 27, 2017

made-to-order drink coasters


I've been busy this month with made-to-order etegami coasters.

One customer wanted a specific set of American songbirds, a subject I am not familiar with. Another customer wanted a specific set of flowers that were favorites of her mother in the UK.

Custom orders are time-consuming and materials-consuming, because I always end up rejecting so many completed pieces before I have a set that I am satisfied with and not ashamed to accept payment for.

But work like this forces me to research and compose and paint a lot of subjects I wouldn't ordinarily attempt if left to my own whims. And I do so love to learn new things!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

towel brush koinobori


This big-eyed blue fish is my latest koinobori etegami. Koinobori are carp-shaped windsocks that are flown from flag poles for Children's Day Festival, symbolizing parents' hopes that their children (especially sons) will grow up to have perseverance, strength, and courage. I used a "towel brush" instead of the standard writing brush for the lines in this one. A towel brush is made by fastening a bit of terrycloth towel around the tip of a chopstick. It has the advantage of being hard to control and gives me the awkward lines I love so much. The writing says: "The Word of the Lord is my Lifeline"

Below, you can see two more koinobori etegami out of the many I've painted in past years:


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

golden week


In Japan we are about to enter Golden Week, when four national holidays are concentrated in a period of seven days. The last of these holidays is Kodomo-no-hi (Children's Day, sometimes called Boy's Day) on May 5.

Traditionally the festival celebrates the healthy growth of boys --girls having been covered by the Hinamatsuri Festival on March 3, which is not a national holiday. It is celebrated with displays and food that symbolize strength, perseverance, and bravery. These symbols include ancient samurai helmets, the Japanese iris, kashiwa-mochi (sweet sticky rice wrapped in an oak leaf), chimaki (sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), and most famously, koinobori (carp-shaped windsocks) that are traditionally flown from flagpoles set up next to the house for that purpose. 

These etegami are works-in-progress, but I'll try to post a few completed versions soon. In the meantime, you might like to do a search on this blog for earlier etegami inspired by Children's Day. (Use the "search this blog" box in the sidebar).

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

more fun with etegami frames


It started with a frenzy of decluttering, except that I got distracted by some old Japanese songbooks that were destined for the recycling bin. Without a clear idea of where I was headed with it, I cut some of the colorful pages into strips, and wove them together into mats. I glued them to pieces of corrugated cardboard cut out in rectangles and circles, trimmed the excess paper, and brushed some glossy sealer over the woven paper surface to anchor the strips. After that, my mind went blank, so I set the project aside for the next two months.

Then, last week, a surprise package arrived from an etegami friend in southern Japan. It was a picture frame she had made from layers of corrugated cardboard. You can see it on my received mailart blog. I was too lazy to imitate her design, but it did give me ideas for what to do with my unfinished paper strip mats. 

My original idea had been to display my etegami on the "mats," the four corners of the etegami held down by elastic string threaded through the back of the mat, much like the typical etegami frames sold in Japanese shops. But now I'm experimenting with the possibilities presented by layering two or more sheets of corrugated cardboard with a window cut into the top layer, giving the frame some depth. 



righthand etegami affixed to top of mat;
lefthand etegami nestled in a hole cut into the mat

Monday, March 20, 2017

an ode to the tax code


Ode to the Tax Code
by V. Patschke

There is hereby imposed
on the taxable income
of every individual
(other than a surviving spouse
as defined in section 2(a)
or the head of a household
as defined in section 2(b))
who is not a married individual
(as defined in section 7703)
a tax
determined in accordance
with the following table.

If your taxable income is:
not over $22,100
Your tax is:
15% of taxable income.
If your taxable income is:
Over $22,100
but not over $53,500
Your tax is $3,315
plus 28% of the excess
over $22,100.

If your taxable income is:
The spectrum of colors in the rainbow
Your tax is:
Indigo

If your taxable income is:
A 100-piece symphony orchestra
Your tax is:
Flutes and violins

If your taxable income is:
Geometry
Your tax is:
Triangles

If your taxable income is:
The gift of superpowers
Your tax is:
Invisibility

If your taxable income is:
A bountiful feast
followed by mouthwatering desserts
Your tax is:
Indigestion
followed by a period of fasting

If your taxable income is:
Eight hours of sleep
with lovely dreams
Your tax is:
Loud snoring
with two trips to the bathroom

If your taxable income is:
Unconditional love from family and friends
Your tax is:
Less frequent letters and
fewer phone calls

If your taxable income is:
Peace and prosperity
Your tax is:
A period of political chaos
and discontent

In applying rulings
and procedures
published herein,
the effect of subsequent
legislation,
regulations,
court decisions,
rulings, and
procedures must be
considered.
All taxes are due
on the 15th of April.
In the event of late payment
A 25% fee
and 25 grey hairs
will be applied.