Last week I visited a fascinating exhibition. The gallery displayed Yoshinobu Nakamura’s wood intarsia art. Yoshinobu Nakamura is a Japanese artist living in Finland. He creates masterpieces by combining tiny wooden pieces. I was deeply impressed how the characteristics of various tree species and specimens showed in his work. I wanted to try the subtle color scheme and some kind of intarsia myself. And I did, only using watercolors and watercolor paper instead of natural wooden blocks!
Love for Tiny Pieces
Speaking of tiny pieces of paper, I have always loved them. When I was a teenager, I cut the pieces from magazines and made a mosaic type of work. Some of them never got finished as they were painfully slow to create!
Years later, I made a pen holder for my husband using paper scraps cut from magazines. I carefully covered every surface that could be reached and finished the penholder with gel medium. It has survived at least ten years!
Watercolor Paper Intarsia
But this intarsia project was going to be different from mosaic work. I would not only cut the paper into small pieces but also adjust each piece in line with others! I started the project by painting the papers. For some of the painted areas, I also added lines resembling wood grains with a black drawing pen.
Next, I tried cutting the pieces. I discovered that they have to be put on top of each other, right side up. The cut line will then fit perfectly.
I used masking tape to attach the cut pieces together.
The big piece that I made looked pretty interesting. But it looked even better when the geometric shapes were cut out of it!
I painted one watercolor paper to look like pine wood. The spotty paper was found from the stash. After hours of cutting and adjusting, the artwork was finally finished. See, all the papers are on the same level, not on top of each other! With intarsia technique, you can use thick papers for collage art!
My belief in watercolors continues to stay strong. I love how easy it was to imitate wood with them!
Once the artwork was put together, I attached the piece, with masking tape background and all, onto a white watercolor paper using gel medium. I think I call it “Rolling Stones.” Have fun with this technique!
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