April’s Painting Project Instructions: Found Poetry & Visual Poems

April’s project is one that can be tackled on various levels, from a five-minute version using a felt-tip pen (a found or black-out poem) to something that could take you days (a visual poem with a complex image to accompany the words you chose from your page).

A found poem is in essence a poem created by words selected (“found”) in a piece of text. This could be a page from a newspaper or magazine or an old book, the back of a cereal box, printed from a digital book, anything really. You circle (“protect”) the words you want to keep and block out the words rest; what’s left to read is your found poem. You then need to decide how much pattern or imagery you might add to it. (The difference to collaging with words is that with this you have to work with the words in the order they appear on your source.)

(See my video: How to Create a Found Poem)

The writer-artist Austin Kleon, who does a lot of blackout poetry, says: “It’s sort of like if the CIA did haiku.” You redact a lot of the text and see what the rest tells you.

INSPIRATION: An artist who’s done a lot of visual, working with one specific book over several decades now, is Tom Phillips and his Humument. It’s worth having a look at individual pages he’s done multiple times, comparing the first and last versions and seeing how he’s developed (for example ). Take inspiration from the fact that he started relatively simply, with pattern and colour, he didn’t do particularly complex pieces initially.

The pages I’ve used in my examples below are from The Practice and Science of Drawing by Harold Speed, an out-of-copyright book. For this month’s project, feel free to use any page, but it’ll be interesting to compare our results if you print your own copies of these pages and use them: pages 1&2 and 3. (I set my printer to “scale to fit page” to make the words print bigger, bug don’t email me to ask me about printer settings if this doesn’t work for you!)

Video: Start Afresh (a found poem using felt-tip pen only)

Video: Draw Fearlessly (a found poem where I’ve painted white around the words, with a view to adding some imagery later, maybe)

Video: Draw (a found poem using acrylic paint)

As always with my monthly projects, if you’d like to have your pieces included in the project gallery, email me on art(a)marion.scot or share through social media. Details of all the monthly projects can be found here; it’s never too late to participate in any of them.

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