February 2020 - Haiga - by Riikka Kovasin

Hi there! It’s Riikka here today sharing my project with the monthly theme, color and technique.

Doing a haiga was new to me as I usually do the steps other way around – first make the picture and then find the words to go with it. To be frank, I didn’t do a haiga this time either as the lines I added to the page are more of a short story than a haiku.

Like the technique suggested, I first cut some words our of a book. To avoid spending the whole afternoon thinking about the lines, I randomly chose three pages, cut the first phrases out of them and then added some more words from the pages to fill the story. The first line I got was the first in the story as well – “King held up a hand”. That was the source of inspiration to the whole piece. From that line I knew I needed to have a king and a hand in my page.

After arranging the words into the story, I then started my work with the page. I thought it would be funny to use the rest of the pages as the background, so, I adhered them to the journal using Soft Matte Gel. On top I then layered black gesso, red Impasto paint (because of the theme color), white gesso, red pastels, red wax through a stencil, watercolors, pencil work… As you can see, I really was having fun and just playing. After I had the background to a point what I wanted it to be, I then made the layers on top.

First, I added a die cut bottle on top of the background. Why? It was already on my table, it contrasted with the red and made a cool element anchoring the cluster down. I added some random stamping on top to blend it just a little to the background and added a touch of pastel as well. The main cluster I built with a letter card, stamped hand and a piece of bookpaper. The king is a sticker from the Art Daily Vintage Photobooth sticker album, and his crown is done using stamps and scissors. To embellish the page, I added a strip of tape and a rusty gear – and another stamped hand!

Like I said earlier, I usually work vice versa – starting with the focal elements and continuing with the text. Usually I then make some kind of dada poetry with just random words or a really short story like the one I did here. While I love to work with old book pages in a language I don’t understand for the background to avoid some words popping up in the piece and distracting, I usually pick English for the text part or sometimes Finnish, too. Novels are perfect for this as they have a) a lot of pages to find the words and stories and b) vivid language which then is easy to be transformed into a short story!

Thank you for stopping by today! Now, go find an old book and start making stories!

Xoxo Riikka

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