I have been a Scherenschnitte artist for over 27 years, much longer than I've been a story book illustrator.( I only began writing and illustrating story books a mere 5 years ago.) If you are not familiar with this beautiful old art form, allow me to introduce you to the very old art of papercutting, also known as Scherenschnitte ( roughly translated from German as "scissors snipping") The piece above is one I designed to become the end papers in my first book, it measures 12" x 24". To create this piece, I used black paper on which I had drawn my design using a white pencil. The image was set upon a self healing rubber mat and then meticulously cut out using a #11 exacto knife. The finished piece was then mounted upon a watercolor background. Except for putting ONE Papercutting in each book, I actually do the majority of my book illustrations as watercolor paintings, and am currently working on a new book.. BUT, I have set aside my book Illustrations for a short while in order to finish a few pieces of Scherenschnitte that have been gathering dust. Allow me to share:
I always cut through 3 layers of paper (my mass production). It just makes sense. On this piece, I used 2 layers of black paper and one piece of antique parchment.
Completely different look.
When the parchment papercutting is painted with watercolor, we have an ENTIRELY different look, altogether. I deliberately painted this piece in a naive and primitive, folk art style, using brighter colors than I normally do. This piece is 18"x24" and has in it: 14 cats, 6 geese. 14 cows, 8 sheep, 4 bear, 1 moose, 3 deer, 4 goats, 41 rabbits, 1 squirrel and 58 birds!
But it is the piece below that I really wanted to finish as I have been using it as an unpainted sample for many years.
"The Basket Makers" measures 12" x14". Wherever you see black, that is where the paper has been cut away. The remaining silhouette is what I will be painting.
This little Nantucket basket in the lower left-hand corner is about 2" square. There are 325 openings of 3 cuts each, making that 975 single cuts in this basket alone. Thank goodness I have already cut it out!
I am ready to paint.
Yes, I know, my paints are a real mess, but that is just the
way it is.
I love these clay pots, all watercolorists should own one or two.
This will take a while, but bit by bit...
Will come alive!
Here are some of my models.
After 40 hours of painting, I am finished.
It is very delicate.
I will mount this between 2 pieces of glass, set them upon a black matboard and place in an antique picture frame.
We will have offset lithographs made from both of these Scherenschnitte, but I am taking the originals to some special art shows in the Fall.
Now, I only have one more piece to paint! I'll show it to you next week, if my fingers don't fall off first.
If you think you would enjoy this art form, follow these 2 links for a little lesson: