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Petals and Stems

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Petals and Stems, watercolor -- stained and painted, 1997, 29.5" X 41"


After working with torn paper collage for a period of time, I began tearing pieces of rice paper, soaking them in pie tins with watercolor in them, and then placing them on a large piece of watercolor paper. After the pieces were dry, I removed the rice paper to reveal the watercolor stains they left.

This technique interests me because while you generally control what is happening, the materials take on a character of their own. Different types of papers tear with different shapes and types of edges. They accept water either evenly or unevenly, sometimes resulting in unexpected shapes and textures when the paper is removed to reveal the stain it left. Giving up some control in the process results in surprises that you can then react to in a controlled way. This tension between lack of complete control and controlled response keeps these pieces fresh.