Who would have thought it, the art of making a humble ink-blot painting has a name – Klecksography. My tutor suggested that I look at ways in which Victor Hugo and Alexander Cozens used the ‘accidental marks’ to invent compositions. This I did several months ago but appear not to have written anything about it (until now!)

It seems that Cozens produced a wide variety of landscapes based on instantaneous blot paintings using ink that had been drip,thrown or splashed onto a page and a landscape fashioned out of the result. He used the technique to invent compositions. They are amazingly effective. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/cozens-11-objects-or-groups-of-objects-placed-alternately-on-both-hands-gradually-retiring-t11458

Victor Hugo seems to have been less discerning using just about anything that stained a surface to create marks which he then turned into more dark surreal drawings, such as his Octopus (licensed by creative commons). Others are more indistinct ink blots formed from folded paper producing symmetrical shapes


Victor Hugo Octopus
Victor Hugo Octopus

Justinus Kerner practised the art of klecksographie. In the late 1870’s he used smudges on letters to ‘doodled’ on creating little creatures, real or imagined. I love these. 575px-KernerKlecksographie 296px-Kerner_Kleksographien_07

There is a real entomological beauty about some of his work. Check out others here: http://www.theinkblotbook.com/552/justinus-kerner/


Turner, C (2011) ‘The Deliberate Accident of Art’ Tate etc. issue 21 http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/articles/deliberate-accident-art


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s