The Gardens in Spring, Hong Kong Parkview
Kari and Kijsa are hosting a Homage to Spring Monday, March 10th on their blog. A little Spring to celebrate it just being a few minutes away, around the corner. Mr. Robin has been stopping by, even though I did see him wearing a little coat. Stop by and see all their links to Springtime Bouquet Blogs. When I think of Spring, I think of pansies, garden ornaments on my front steps, baby ducklings, lambs and white blossoms.
pansies, ducklings, and ornaments on my front steps
Tulips are another wonderful Spring blessing, and I have been working on a series of Canvas Originals in mixed media, trimmed in organza ribbons.
Tulip Canvas Original, mixed-media
Now if you would like to visit all these Spring Blessing Blogs, just go visit Kari and Kijsa's place, or if you have something lovely and celebrating your Spring blessings, just add your link to the bottom of their post.
I have something special that I would like to also share. This is called Chinese Design Influecnes
The Chinese culture has been sewn into my heart, and is so much a part of my sense of design after living there for five years. When our family lived there, it was still a British Colony, so we had the luxury of living in an English speaking country with the exotic elements of being in far away Hong Kong. In 1997, the year before we moved back to America, Hong Kong was handed back over to the Chinese government.
Let me offer you a cup of Chinese tea, as I take you with me through the influence of Chinese design. One of my favorite walks in Hong Kong was visiting an area there called Hollywood Road. Up on the steep hills overlooking the Central District were Antique shops, decorator shops and more than enough eye candy to inspire an artist for a month.
Along Hollywood Road there was the most intriguing little shop. Once inside there were hundreds of calligraphy journals, ink, brushes and all sorts of little objects to do with the art of Chinese Calligraphy. A Calligraphy student would typically write on one side of the accordian bound journal and paint beautiful mountains, birds and landscapes on the other side. All to do with the art of mastering ink, Chinese characters, a brush, and the importance of a simple stroke to tell a story.
Watercolor 1993 Happy Hong Kong Washline
According to a wonderful web site called Art ChinaVoc I found, explaining the Art of Chinese Calligraphy, they explain how it is just like painting. It uses many characters to communicate the spiritual world of the artist.
As I visit the art of altered books, I can't help but see the influences. Here are a few Chinese Calligraphy books I brought back from China. They are covered with beautiful satin material and I have them ranging from very tiny to Huge. I have painted one and decorated the pages of another to be filled with quotes as a gift. I have found many rubber stamps with Asian images and Chinese characters to enhance my designs.
Inside my red Chinese box is one of my favorite treasures.
Some of the many tools of Calligraphy...the ink stick, tray, spoon, my chop and holder for the Calligraphy brushes.
Mr. Chop is a hand-picked carving that was designed with my name in Chinese. The characters are my name and I use it to sign some of my more Asian style artwork.
With my wonderful Chinese tools set up and a bit of the music I remember so well from Hong Kong, the atmosphere seems to guide my designs.
I have found so many wonderful books and magazines that take this influence into the wonderful world of altered books, art and mixed-media. One of my favorites is a book called Creative Correspondence by Michael and Judy Jacobs. It is the most fabulous book creating all kinds of interesting folds, designs and ideas. The Asian influence goes beyond the cover and once inside you learn how to combine this inspiration with a Western flavor. I love how Michael Jacobs spins a tutorial with themes that suggest he must be a thoughtful grandfather.
This card was designed using folding techniques in the book, and a bit of friendly plastic heated and stamped for some added texture and then I added pockets and a tassel enhancement.
Well, I can't take you with me for a walk through the shops along Hollywood Road today, but I can certainly offer you a browse through the pages of Return To Asia, by Somerset Studios so that you can feel the joy of Asian inspiration. I can also offer you a cup of tea from my clever Chinese teapot, which houses hot brewed tea on one side and hot water on the other. This way I can freshen your cup of tea, as the water is surely a bit cold after reading this rather long post.
Living in China made me realize how beautiful the culture is and the many influences that we enjoy here in Western society. Today, there are many resources available to us. We can read numerous books, magazines, web sites and can purchase the wide array of Asian papers on hand for our artwork. Whether seeing the Chinese influences in fashion, artwork or furniture design, the wisdom of ancient history dances around our Western culture almost everywhere we look. The song for this post is my favorite Chinese music called Dragon Song (very lucky), it stirs the magic that you find there, and the mystery that lies in it's ancient history and elegant designs.
Please feel free to freshen your cup of tea with some nice hot water. If you would like to learn more, The Hong Kong Tourist Association offers the most glorious videos of this magical place called Hong Kong.