Fine Art Kites
Dolly Cahill Johnson creates art kites using watercolors.
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Dolly Cahill Johnson enjoys using her work to capture moments of emotion that elicit memories and experiences. She worked for years doing watercolor paintings toward achieving that artistic vision. Recently she has incorporated that vision into her art kites, which she feels are "paintings set free," even though they never will actually fly.
She starts with material that is stretched on a board. Then the painting process begins with watercolors, creating a light wash background. She then goes over the watercolor with airbrushing; this softens lines and adds depth to the colors. Yet another layer of color is added with pastels, adding vibrancy to the painting. Once all the drying of the layers of paint and pastels has happened, the collage process begins. She tears rice and rag paper by hand into abstract shapes and places them down in layers on top of her painted designs. The paper is adhered and heated to seal the adhesive.
Johnson returns to pastels to add highlights around the collage. The shape of the kite is then cut out in the proper size for that piece. A bamboo frame is constructed and the material is attached. This is the step when this piece begins to feel like a kite. The material is glued to the bamboo; holes are drilled and wire is added for hanging ease. The final step in making this a true kite is adding the tail. Johnson takes ribbon and ties it on the bottom corner of the kite, adding cross pieces in the traditional tail style. The cut edges of the ribbon are protected from fraying with clear nail polish, and the kite is complete.
The kites are light and fun, but they are also serious works of art. They are designed in a spirit of play with a feeling of space. When hung in a room, they take viewers back to a time when running against the wind, flying a kite, was the best part of a day.