The Empty Space, Womb of Shape
2-Day (9+ hour) Workshop Available through June 1, 2022
All Skill Levels Welcome
Lettering • Design • Drawing • Journaling • Painting • Book Arts
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Most of the time in Western art the empty space is considered as background or blank space. Something that is spared and must be filled in. Whole libraries have been written about the fear towards the empty space, the white canvas, so how do we start when we have a blank page before us? how do we intervene the white space?
For Eastern art the empty space is the fourth of the principles of the Taoist Rules for Beauty. “Being and not being engender each other. We mold clay to make pottery, but it is in the empty space where the utility of the jug resides, therefore, we should take equally advantage to what it is, just as we recognize the usefulness of what it is not”. Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, XI. The Taoist painters treat the empty space as a positive matter, not as something to be filled in or to spare, but as the origin of form. Considering these rules we will find new ways to work with space, to see the empty space! The balance between the use of positive and negative spaces is key to aesthetic compositions. This workshop starts from an experimental alphabet or a formal one with a personal twist and will work the space issues, trying to accomplish new compositions where space is not the blank portion of the paper. Claude Mediavilla says in his book Calligraphy: “In Eastern compositions space is used in particularly surprising and stimulating ways. The surface is seldom fully occupied and seems to be waiting for our gaze to penetrate it and discover its myriad of possibilities. When we look more closely at the way in which surfaces are apparently left blank” we find that the spaces are in fact far from empty, they are alive, they turn into the womb of shape, they create tension and give way to a broader world of imagination Venture into the world of space and prepare to open your mind to a new way of perception!
List of materials
You will need to bring a couple of your favorite experimental alphabets you could have developed in some other workshop or a formal calligraphy with a personal twist. Remember that we do not create an alphabet but work with the space and composition issues.
- Some of your favorite tools: ruling pen, cola pen, folded pen, Automatic pens, nibs and any tool you may have used to perform your personal alphabet.
- Medium-sized brushes (# in between 3 and 6) and a thin one to draw contours or outline.
- Bottle of black sumi or 2/3 single tubes of preferably dark color gouaches. 2 or 3 tubes of a good quality watercolour like Windsor & Newton, Schmincke, Van Gogh, Grumbacher or similar.
- Layout paper like Strathmore Drawing 400 series 80 lb, 12´ x 18´ orAccademia Arist Paper from Fabriano per artisti 120 gs, A3 or XL Mix Media from Canson, 98 lb, A3 or similar.
For our ﬁnal we will need a good quality paper.
- Two sheets of Rives BFK or Canson Edition or Fabriano, or something similar no more than 140 lb
- One needle for a simple Japanese binding. Thread, matching the color gouache you have chosen, Awl. Little hooks to hold paper on place while binding. A straight edge metallic ruler.
- A portable light table would be very useful, if you don’t have one you could bring a portable easel with a light underneath to be able to trace in a comfortable way.
- Pencil, color pencil matching the chosen colors, eraser. Palette for mixing colors and paper towels; tape, scissors, good cutter or Xacto knife, glue stick. Fiber tip pens for quick writing and contour delineate.
- A selection of two or three short poems, haikus, quotes or even your own words will.
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Sequence: Journey of Experimental Calligraphy
The Unconventional Pointed Pen
Drawing the Fibonacci Sequence
Beginning Copperplate Script
A Letter and a Rectangle
Ben Shahn Lettering
(M) Handwritten: The Art of Tattoo Lettering
(M) Learning to Sketch Out Celtic Knots
(M) A Meditative Calligraphy Technique
(M) Learn to Sketchnote!
Loosening Up With Calligraphy & Paint
CAROL MEASURES SCOTT
(M) Captivating Color in Calligraphy
The Empty Space, Womb of Shape
ELMO VAN SLINGERLAND
Broad-edged pen: Roman Capitals
Colorful Lettering Composition
Akim Variations and Long Compositions