Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Nihonga (Japanese Water-based Media)

raw pigments
pigment being ground with water in a mortar
From Wikipedia:
Nihonga are typically executed on washi (Japanese paper) or eginu (silk), using brushes. The paintings can be either monochrome or polychrome. If monochrome, typically sumi (Chinese ink) made from soot mixed with a glue from fishbone or animal hide is used. If polychrome, the pigments are derived from natural ingredients: minerals, shells, corals, and even semi-precious stones like malachiteazurite and cinnabar. The raw materials are powdered into 16 gradations from fine to sandy grain textures. A hide glue solution, called nikawa, is used as a binder for these powdered pigments. In both cases, water is used; hence nihonga is actually a water-based mediumGofun (powdered calcium carbonate that is made from cured oysterclam or scallop shells) is an important material used in nihonga. Different kinds of gofun are utilized as a ground, for under-painting, and as a fine white top color.
Traditional Nihonga examples from 18th century painter Ito Jakuchu:

New York-based Dillon Gallery has been hosting an annual exhibition of new approaches to Nihonga:

Makoto Fujimura + Nihonga mixing

Makoto Fujimura mixes mineral-based pigments in the tradition of Nihonga painting (Japanese coloring techniques). His application is contemporary and tends toward abstraction (see below)

Anne Austin Pearce

More info on these pieces here.
Artist's website here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

nola avienne

In the spirit of past artists, who collected squid ink (sepia), lantern scrapings (lamp black) or dirt (burnt/raw umber, burnt/raw sienna, terre verte)... force-fed mango leaves to cows (indian yellow)... crushed countless red-shelled beetles (carmine)... (etcetera), Nola Avienne works with a pigment that is very close to us all-- reddish-brown, iron-rich blood. See her website for amazing work also with iron filings and magnets.