Color the Emotion

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Intarsia in Watercolor

Rolling Stones - Watercolor Intarsia Art by Peony and Parakeet

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!

Paper Mosaics by Peony and Parakeet

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!

Carboard Penholder Covered with Paper Pieces, by Peony and Parakeet

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.

Watercolor papers by Peony and Parakeet

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.

Instructions for Paper Intarsia, by Peony and Parakeet

I used masking tape to attach the cut pieces together.

Instructions for Paper Intrasia, by Peony and Parakeet

The big piece that I made looked pretty interesting. But it looked even better when the geometric shapes were cut out of it!

Instructions for Paper Intarsia, by Peony and Parakeet

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!

Watercolor Paper Intarsia, imitating wood with watercolors by Peony and Parakeet

My belief in watercolors continues to stay strong. I love how easy it was to imitate wood with them!

Rolling Stones - Watercolor Paper Intarsia Art by Peony and Parakeet

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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27 thoughts on “Intarsia in Watercolor

  1. Oh my goodness that must have taken a long time. I bet it was meditative and the end result is very worth the time. This piece is really nice and so much like inlaid wood. Reminds me of your beautiful ceiling piece.

    1. Thank you, Mary! It took about a day to create from start to finish. So it was not that long, keeping in mind that it included painting the papers.

  2. What a wonderful technique! Beautiful result!! I think this could be used in many different ways. Thank you for such unique inspiration.

  3. Thank you so much for this post. I’ve had some thick papers for a very long time and am now filled with ideas on how to use them!

  4. This is fascinating! I just found an artist Patrick Bremer who does collage portraits. I wish all the artists were as generous as you to show us how to do something so special. Needless to say, I’m going to give it a try. But I think it will take me at least a week to do–and I know the results won’t be as good, but fun to try a new technique.

  5. Beautiful piece!
    I agree with Gloria about you being generous with all the tutorials you share with us. Thank you so much!

  6. I can’t begin to tell you how much your art has meant to me. I found you on Youtube and fell in love with the movement, the joyous colors and inspiration of your art. I have been making mixed media jewelry for twenty years. I love using items that I find at the thrift store, such as old jewelry and men’s ties. Most recently I have started incorporating dry food packaging such as cereal boxes for my earring and necklaces . When I saw your videos I couldn’t wait to put some of my special twists on your techniques and use the result in my jewelry pieces. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Mary Anne, thank you so much! I loved reading your story as I think that art, design and crafts are like sisters – they all have a lot in common!

  7. Wow!!!! I love your work and I am so happy you agreed to be a guest artist on the DLP! I cant wait to read your entire blog!

  8. Hi Paivi! I loved being introduced to you by Sandi today on our Art to the 5th Blog – your work is so full of life! I will really be looking forward to seeing your feature in June! We are so glad you joined us – our members will be so inspired! I will be traveling in your part of the world in June . . . Russia, Finland, Norway – I cannot wait! Perhaps if I get close enough to you, we could meet for a coffee and share some art! Kindest and warmest regards!

  9. I love these mosaics, Pavi! I was also very excited to see you featured on one of the DLP blogs today–Sandi Keene’s blog. Can’t wait to have you as a guest artist there! I think your artwork is amazing and inspiring! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  10. Today I watched your video several times and had a go with watercolors. Lots of fun but the road ahead will be long as i try to move into flowers from the odd looking flying saucers i created today. i learned so much from your video. Intuitive art might be intuitive to you, an accomplished artist, but this neophytes must start to practice water coloring. So much to learn. I will try to make something daily in my No Excuses Journal. this is my second year of journal mania.

    It is thanks to Sandi at Documented Life project i discovered you. Now i think I have you on Bloglovin so will visit you when you post and send out a news letter.

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