Marina Soria - Empty Space, Womb of Shape - February 9, 16, 23 & March 2

If you are interested please contact Marina through email:

John Neal Books is not hosting these classes.

The empty space, womb of shape

In Western art, the empty space is sometimes considered a ‘blank’ space to be filled. The perception is that empty canvas is something we must ‘conquer’. In Eastern philosophy, however, the empty space is a positive, fruitful place of beginnings — the origins of form. “Being and not being engender each other. We mold clay to make pottery, but it is in the empty space where the utility of the jug resides, therefore, we should take equally advantage to what it is, just as we recognise the usefulness of what it is not.” (Lao Tzu)

In this workshop, we will journey to find new ways to perceive and to work with space, to seek the balance between positive and negative spaces as a key to aesthetic compositions. Beginning with an experimental alphabet or a formal one with a personal twist, we will explore and accomplish new compositions where space is not just a blank, but the essential crucible of form. Venture into the world of space and prepare to open your mind to a new way of perception!

Using a ‘flipped classroom’ approach, this workshop will employ Prezi presentations, where participants can study and enjoy a treasure trove of videos, exemplars and works before each ‘live’ session. Videos of each ‘live’ session will be available for viewing up to a month after the conclusion of the ‘live’ sessions.

4 Online meetings: February 9 • 16 • 23 & March 2 , 2022 | 8pm (Singapore) • 9am (Argentina)

Fees: SGD 240 | USD 180 | EURO 160


Some of your favorite tools: ruling pen, cola pen, folded pen, Automatic pens, nibs and any tool you may have used to perform your personal alphabet. (N22, N208, N27)


Medium-sized brushes (# in between 3 and 6) and a thin one to draw contours or outline. (BR26)


Bottle of Black Sumi (I70) Or 2-3 single tubes of preferably dark color gouaches, the ones you like best, White gouache.  (WNG1) (WNG2) (WNG3) (WNG4)


Layout paper preferably a thin one so that you may see through. We will do several pieces amongst them a sculpture book so we will need a good quality paper as well. (P32) (PA42)

You may purchase your paper in the form of a block or separate sheets but if you chose the block, nevertheless you will need two big sheets of paper of around 56 x 76 cm (22”x 30”)

1. Characteristics of the paper block:

- Watercolor Paper.

- Size: 24 x 32 cm (9”x 12”) or A4 or letter.

- Weight: 90 lbs or 185g/m2. Underneath 300gs

- Color: Natural white or off white.

- Surface: medium or smooth texture.

- Preferably separate sheets not glued on all four

sides or separate them before the class.

2. If you chose the big sheets you will need four sheets of Arches Text Wove, 120 gsm.

Arches or something alike. Remember Underneath 300gs (PS01, PS104)


  • One needle for a simple Japanese binding. Thread, matching the color gouache you have chosen. (S825)
  • Awl. (S255) 
  • Clips to hold paper on place while binding.
  • A straight edge metallic ruler. (S270, S271)


  • A portable light table would be very useful, if you don't have one you could use a portable easel with a light underneath to be able to trace in a comfortable way. (S752)
  • Pencil , color pencils, eraser. (PL21, PL38, PL05, PL28, E13)
  • Palette for mixing colors and paper towels; tape. (S679, S817)
  • Scissors
  • Good cutter or Exacto knife (S417, S130)
  • Glue stick (S391)
  • Fiber tip pens for quick writing and contour delineate (M17)