Orange art group: July 2020

Transposing from images that are not from our usual referencing.

I am sending 12 little images from a calendar of Japanese traditional paintings and woodcuts.

 Please see the name of the artists, the year and the title of the work under the image on the right-hand side. Read the image and think about the story it is showing you.

Task 1; You may want to google one or two of the artists to gather more information about how they make work and about the artists’ personal journey. You need to try and understand the culture and history so that you can transpose these images, using similar colour, similar themes (narratives) when making your own work.

Task 2; In order for this to work well, you should try to print the images. I can send them to you on email if you prefer. (let me know)

Print them to 10 x 10 cm or 20 x 20 cm. on your home printer or send/take them to Wizards to print. they will fit well onto an A3 page, but smaller is ok too.

Task 3; In order to get to know each piece more intimately please make a few or all twelve images into miniatures;

10 x 10 cm OR 15 x 15 cm. You can do this with pencil crayon, watercolour or ink.

(think about your medium and how your hands respond to fine detail work; like writing, you need to adjust your pen so that you can manage the work with skill and precision to the best of your ability. Shaky hands can do this! Wobbly lines have a way of describing as much as straight lines. There is an added quality to the work, remember?)

Please remember that these tasks are “spring boards” to be worked as exercises OR to start a new body of work.  See how it goes but most importantly enjoy the process and find what you can do and what you want to do and how you want to do it.

 (Miniatures are a specific genre of image-making. You can google examples; many cultures use miniatures for different reasons. Indian, Russian, rock art, etc)

These tasks can take place in parallel with what is happening in your studio.

 Some artists start their studio day with a little nude drawing (Tracy Emin) or a water colour dream piece or a copy from a picture book/photograph. These images from Japan may simply be warm-ups for you; if so make them to the size and with a medium of your choice. 

 I will be “talking to” one or two of these images. It would be best if you could look at them while I talk about what I see. This will be on the Monday WhatsApp group. (learn how to send a voice message and listen to a voice message.)

  • Please note that each image has a narrative: is this why they were made? To tell a story or record an experience? How do you tell a story on a square format, not as a cartoon or comic reading from left to right as we are used to, not by using renaissance perspective to describe space and time? Was Matisse influenced by Japanese painting and woodcuts?
  • Please note that each image is made on a square; this is a challenge in terms of format. It is difficult to get the eye to move around and about in a square. These are masterpieces in my opinion in terms of this challenge. Do you know other paintings made on a square? do you use a square format often? (see Matisse’s, Snail)


  • When I “talk to” the image on the Monday morning group what’s ap, I will comment of shape, line, colour, patterning etc.


  • Just a few clues about keeping your body working with you while you make images; release your jaw, lower your shoulder, elongate your back, pull your scapular down, tilt your chin down and in, open your eyes wide and let your eyeballs wander around the round in every director, spread your toes, shake your knees, sit on your sitting bones with a soft cushion, be warm, shake your hands out, extend your arms and fingers, swing your arms around your body looking around as you swing, (plant your feet securely on the floor when you do this, slowly), roll your wrists to allow a softness into all the little muscles in your fingers. Stop while you are working and repeat all these reminders.


  • NB if you can’t print the pictures please don’t worry, just use your iPad or cell phone. Please read the tasks slowly and if you need assistance let me know on what’s ap.


Task 4; the next step is to transpose the images; to make paintings, collage, mixed media,

about 40 x 40 cm or 50 x 50 cm, on paper or canvas.

(The paper should have a 2 to 3 cm margin, in from all sides. Use good paper.)

You will also be using a medium of your choice so you will not be copying or translating but transposing.

Transpose; here are a few ideas;

Change the people, (men to women/ adults to children for example)

Use the narrative as it is or change it a night story or a summer story for example,

Tell your story of being on a boat or up close to a flower (which flower, a rose, a protea? activate the in-between space and work the surface with care.)

……. your story of isolation or of friendships or of a communal activity or an intimacy with an animal;

 a playground, a tea party, a fishing or swimming gathering…. Etc. Simplify so that we get the message.

There are many ways of laying down colour and making line, making edges; please take this in to account either as you work of by looking carefully after you have been working.

 Revisit, revise, review, reinvent, resolve!

 Task 5; if you make twelve new images, your story in each image, you may have a calendar for 2021 (use the reverse side for dates and months) or a birthday calendar that can last for ever.

Make prints of each work by photographing them and printing at home or preferably at the nearest print shop. 50 x 50 largest, 20 x 20 smallest.)

Print a few copies as gifts; (like a novel made up of short stories about you.)

  • To prepare for this month please find out how to make prints from your phone or email and learn how to listen to voice messages on what’s app.

Jill Trappler. 0825588115 (leave a message)