Let’s pause and view the in-progress painting for a moment. The purple toned background is created largely with over-beaten abaca and treated with a mixture of water and paper sizing to prevent the surface from absorbing stained water that might leak from the addition of any new colored pulp that is applied. In the case of this painting, that would refer to the green toned pulps in the foreground, which are a combination of cotton and abaca, beaten for 20 to 30 minutes in a hollander beater. The sky area is created with the same cotton/abaca mix, and pigmented in blue tones. At this stage, the painting will be allowed to dry under weights for several days, at which point another review of its completeness will be determined.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Another way to remove colored water before it stains the surface of the painting is to squirt it back into the desired location with water from a squirt bottle. Notice that the pulp I am using is green for the foreground of the painting (the green will eventually represent trees). To accentuate the rough outline that trees would naturally make, I leave the edges of the green pulp jagged, in order to mimic the trees in nature.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Despite my best efforts, the pulp doesn’t always land where I want it to; it spills out from the designated area. as illustrated in the above photo. If left untreated, the surface of the painting will absorb the colored water, thus creating a permanent stain. To avoid the stain (I’ll never be able to avoid the recalcitrant pulp spills!), I treat the surface of the in-progress painting with a mixture of water and liquid paper sizing. I fill a squirt bottle about 3/4 full of water, and then add a 1/4 cup of liquid sizing. I spray the surface of the painting with this mixture and allow it to dry thoroughly. This procedure protects the surface from absorbing the colored water as the sizing creates a tension between the water and the surface. I simply take a rag and apply it to the colored water, and soak it up into the rag.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
A closer look at the painting after the turkey baster has been used to apply pulp to designated areas. See Monday July 20 blog for photo of application of pulp.
Monday, July 20, 2009
The turkey baster is used to apply larger quantities of pulp to the painting surface. I place approximately one cup of pigmented pulp into a plastic container (such as a yogurt container) and fill the rest of the container with water. I then suck the pulp up into the baster and squirt onto the surface of the painting. Old plastic cards (credit cards, hotel room cards) can be used at this stage to gather the pulp into the designated area (shown in the photo above by the red marking).
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
The squeeze bottle holds over-beaten pulp that can be used for detailed areas of the painting. In the photo above, I am squeezing over-beaten pulp, which has been diluted in a cup of formation aid, onto the surface of the painting “Changing Seasons” shown here in completion.
Monday, July 13, 2009
The term “Tools” can be used to describe a lot of the made up concoctions I use to create a handmade paper painting. In the photo above, I am using one of my favorite made up tools: an embroidery needle wedged into the eraser end of a number 2 pencil. I use this tool to guide the pulp, usually over-beaten, into desired shapes and patterns. For example, in the photo above, I am scratching into the surface of the painting newly applied over-beaten pulp that resembles waving reeds, the title of this particular painting, also shown complete
in the photo on the right.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Re-working into a handmade paper painting is tricky. The water used in the pulp that is applied to the surface of the in-progress painting warps it, and it can take a fair amount of labor to re-stretch the painting so that it lies flat again. To off-set the negative affects of adding water to the surface and prevent the warping, I dry the base sheet (the sheet of paper that I will ultimately work on), onto a stretched screen (shown above). The hairs of the fiber cling to the surface of the screen and grip to it, thus preventing the the paper from warping. When the painting is complete, I simply remove it from the screen with my finger tips.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Painting with over beaten pulp can take a while to get comfortable with. Before going into a lot of detail of how to work with over-beaten pulp, let’s answer the important question of “What is over-beaten pulp?” Over-beaten pulp refers to pulp that has been beaten in a hollander beater for approximately 8 hours and is therefore slippery and gelatin-like. Most artists prefer to use abaca (which originates from the banana tree) or flax as over-beaten pulp. The consistency of over-beaten pulp allows it to be used like paint as it spreads easily onto the work surface and retains, without bleeding or fading, whatever pigment the artist chooses to add. The advantage of using over-beaten pulp over traditional paint is the textural surface and flexibility that the artist can achiever, giving the finished product a unique and personal look. The photo above shows pigmented over-beaten pulp in small containers and newly applied over-beaten pulp on a formed sheet of handmade paper. I’ll go into more specifics about how to use over-beaten pulp in my next blog.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
To aid in excess water removal from the surface of the in-progress painting, I tilt the screen the painting is adhered to so that excess water will drip off the surface and onto the vacuum table. I leave the screen in this position for approximately 30 minutes, while I work in other areas of the studio.