Are you an adder or a subtractor? When I first started to work in wax for lost wax casting I hadn’t even considered the fact that it might entail adding layers where I might need them. I thought of it as a sculptural endeavor where I’d be removing little wax bits until I had the shape I wanted. I guess up until that point I hadn’t really thought of wax or my art in terms of being additive or subtractive. Now, I think of it that way all of the time.
No matter what you are working on jewelry, clay, quilting, painting, and so on you can look at your creation and say to yourself if I add a little something here – or remove it there can I enhance this piece of work. Lampworking is more additive but if you cold-work or sandblast the bead you are adding another dimension by using a subtractive process on it.
And that doesn’t even begin to cover what you can do with subtractive appliqué in art quilts, or wood sculptures ala’ Henry Moore. Then there is always subtractive color theory (trust me – I can’t even go into that here without putting myself to sleep) but you can click on those words and there is a fantastic site with incredible works of art that explains that and other color theories far better than me.
Okay – so all of this might be a little boring – you just want to make art. Me too! But this subtractive thing had rung a note when I saw an article in O – The Oprah Magazine. There is an artist who does subtractive poetry. His name is Austin Kleon. He has a site called Newspaper Blackout. It sounds like a fun thing to do when you are experiencing writers block or if you’re just done reading that old newspaper or book. Amazon carries his book – and I’m sure all the regular bookstores. I think I’ll have to add a sharpie to my purse for when I’m riding in the car or somewhere and have a peaceful moment.
He also has another book coming out in March of this year called How To Steal Like An Artist – 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. You really need to go to the site; by clicking on the book title, he has these great visuals and explanations that run you through the quick version of what his book is about. It reads so true and it’s such a shocker. Sounds to me like this artist is on to something and I have a new form of writing poetry.
Like any of us need something else to do!