Saturday, October 29, 2011

illustration friday (scary)

Scary (and likewise: spooky, horror, creepy, occult, etc) is a theme that I generally avoid in art, books, music, and movies. I do have a seed of an idea that I think might be fun to express as an etegami. However, it will take me a bit longer to finish it. In the meantime, here's an etegami collage I made last year to make your neck hairs stand on end.

Japan has many spooky stories of people (usually young women) who commit suicide by throwing themselves into wells. Their restless, unhappy spirits often return as ghosts to terrorize the living. I've seen many old wells like this one-- moss growing in the cracks between the stones, and the openings covered with half-rotted wood planks or bamboo poles tied together with decaying ropes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

illustration friday (fuel)

As soon as I heard what this week's IF topic was, I knew what I wanted to draw. But it took me forever to think of words to accompany the image. I originally planned to write "cow chips, a sustainable fuel," but it sounded soberly PC when I really meant to be tongue-in-cheek. I finally gave up trying to be clever, and prosaically labeled it "cow chips." Booooooring.

miniature art

Until I met Vika, I had never considered that buttons could be works of art. Vika is an artist/craftsperson who makes buttons, pendants, and brooches from clays and metals. My ignorance probably has a lot to do with the fact that I never learned to sew or appreciate the tools and materials associated with clothes-making or fashion.

I was absolutely dumbfounded when Vika sent me some buttons she said had been inspired by my etegami (not pictured). Recently, she startled me even further with her earnest questions about the aesthetics and processes of Etegami. Her questions --and my answers-- resulted in an intriguing post on Beads of Clay, a blog for ceramic bead artists. It opened my eyes to the connections that she sees between Etegami and other Art in miniature. What do you think about the issues Vika raises?

Friday, October 14, 2011

reminder: etegami call "breakfast"

Submissions to the Breakfast Etegami Call are starting to come in, but in case you missed my invitation, please check for details on this post. The deadline is November 30, so you have plenty of time. Submissions will be posted here on this blog on December 1.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of breakfast etegami that I painted this week. A bowl of cold cereal with milk (left) is a typical hot-weather breakfast for me. Or, if I have any over-ripe fruit sitting around, I might blend myself a yogurt shake (top).

Cold-weather breakfasts are an entirely different matter. I get ravenous in cold weather. I'll see what cold-weather breakfast etegami I can come up with in the next few weeks and post them as further reminders that I look forward eagerly to seeing your breakfast etegami!

illustration friday (scattered)

Rose Pogonias by Robert Frost

A saturated meadow,
Sun-shaped and jewel-small,
A circle scarcely wider
Than the trees around were tall;
Where winds were quite excluded,
And the air was stifling sweet
With the breath of many flowers, --
A temple of the heat.

There we bowed us in the burning,
As the sun's right worship is,
To pick where none could miss them
A thousand orchises;
For though the grass was scattered,
yet every second spear
Seemed tipped with wings of color,
That tinged the atmosphere.

We raised a simple prayer
Before we left the spot,
That in the general mowing
That place might be forgot;
Or if not all so favored,
Obtain such grace of hours,
that none should mow the grass there
While so confused with flowers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

illustration friday (contraption #2)

At our wedding, 34+ years ago, a friend gave us a pair of Swiss army knives. My husband lost his fairly recently, while he was hiking in the mountains. But I still have mine. It's one of the few-- maybe only-- wedding gifts that we still possess today. I'm very fond of it, but the only thing I ever use it for is to break down cardboard boxes to put out for recycling. Poor, under-used army knife...

Friday, October 7, 2011

illustration friday (contraption)

This week's IF prompt is a troublesome one for me, as I rarely draw anything man-made. But, for that very reason, it's the kind of challenge I particularly appreciate, because it forces me out of my comfort zone. While I work on a new idea for this topic, here's an etegami I made some time ago, using liquid coffee instead of sumi ink and gansai paints.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

hand-painted mini-fans

Though Etegami is-- in principle-- a form of mail art, the most common form being a postcard, there are other forms an Etegami can take without compromising the mailart factor. One of these forms is a miniature version of the hand-held flat fans (uchiwa) that I introduced in this post. The mini-fans are small enough, and flat enough, to slip into an envelope and send through the post. They're especially cool (pun intended) as shochuu-mimai greeting cards in mid-summer. Summer is a long way off for most of us, but you might want to try this as a Christmas gift idea this winter. There are more samples in my Etsy shop

Sunday, October 2, 2011

etegami call "breakfast"

Some of you may remember that I used to post fairly regularly about Etegami Magazine, a monthly publication from the Japan Etegami Association. Membership is a bit pricey, and I had to let my subscription expire at the end of the first year. Recently, I decided to treat myself to another year of the magazine, and was thrilled when the first issue arrived yesterday. One feature that immediately caught my eye was a collection of etegami on the theme of "breakfast."

Some of the breakfasts were planned around a bowl of rice (top), others were planned around bread (left). My Japanese acquaintances often ask me if I'm a "bread breakfast person" or a "rice breakfast person," and are a bit startled when I explain that my breakfasts don't fit their tidy categories.

I'm curious what you, my dear readers, ate for breakfast this morning. And as it's been such a long while since I put out a call for etegami, I thought this might be a good topic to try out. What do you think? It should be fun!

These are the rules:

1. Submit an etegami on the subject of breakfast. You may send it by post or by email attachment (jpg file). My postal address is at the top of my mailart gallery blog, and my email address is on my profile.

2. Submissions must be postcard size: approximately 10 cm x 15 cm (roughly 4 x 6 inches).

3. Any medium is allowed. It doesn't have to be watercolor on washi.

4. To qualify as etegami, it must have words on it.

5. Submissions must reach me by November 30, 2011 (Japan time) at the latest, in order to be posted on my blog on December 1.

Submitted etegami will not be returned, and there will be no judging or awards. It is not a contest. I will, however, try reply to your submission with an etegami of my own, as I always do when anyone sends me etegami.

Ask me questions if you are confused about any aspect of this etegami call. I'm looking forward to lots of submissions! Have fun!

illustration friday (hibernate #2)

I’ve always had a fascination for ladybugs, and use one as my avatar. Ladybugs hibernate in groups, and I often think that these inert ladybugs would make such great Christmas tree ornaments or decorations for a Christmas Wreath. Or, how about hanging a bunch from the ceiling or door frame instead of mistletoe? It’s kind of fun to imagine, don’t you think?