Sunday, July 31, 2011

Handmade paper Seascape Painting Process continued...

After the layers applied in the first two illustrations shown above have dried, I re-grid the surface of the painting and add more detailed information that follows the composition of the original photograph. Notice the brown shapely lines that move through the evolving composition. These new lines act as guides for applying the next layers of pulp such as the green mounts of fauna shown in this image.

The painting shown here, completed in 2009, is entitled North Shore Scape III, 20 x 20 inches and is mounted on 2 inch gator board, no further framing required.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Handmade paper Seascape Painting Process continued

In this image, the water has been painted and a pinkish color added to the horizon line of the sky. I use “overbeaten” abaca for these areas. When the abaca fiber is beaten in a Hollander Beater for approximately 10 hours (instead of the more typical 1-2 hours, thus the name overbeaten), the cell walls in the abaca fiber break down and release a gelatinous substance that makes the fiber syrupy. This allows the fiber to be applied more like oil or acrylic paint instead of more bulky cotton fiber. Cotton cannot break down like abaca because cotton does not have a cell wall, thus it will not release the gelatinous substance and remains bulky no matter how long it is beaten.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Handmade paper Seascape Painting Process continued

Wow, does this look ugly! The under layer of a handmade paper isn’t much to write home about. Here, the basic composition is being planned out. Note the grids that separate each section of the painting. I use red china marker for the larger squares (the painting is 40 x 20 inches, the red marker divides the painting into 10 inch sections, four sections horizontally and two sections vertically). I use green marker to divide the red sections in half (in this case every five inches) and brown marker to divide the sections into quarters. I match this grid pattern on the original photograph on a sliding scale and color for color. The green line that moves across the painting horizontally is where the water line will go.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Handmade Paper Seascape Painting Process

figure 1

This blog explains the process I use to create my handmade paper paintings. In this case, the painting I will create is of a seascape which will be included in an upcoming exhibit at Cove Gallery on Cape Cod. Using cotton and abaca (a fiber from the inner bark of the banana tree used in industry to make tea bags due to its remarkable wet strength), and pure pigments that are light-fast (they will not fade), I will explain step by step how I create the painting. The photo shown here (Figure 3) shows the painting in its embryonic state. A mix of cotton and abaca beaten for 11/2 hours in a Hollander Beater (figure 2) was used to create the 40 x 20 sheet. The wet pulp was poured onto nylon screening and allowed to dry. The purpose of using the screening is that it will grip the pulp as it dries thus preventing it from warping and shrinking. Uneven shrinkage is a common problem in handmade paper art. A basic outline of what will become the composition has already been applied. The original photograph (figure 1) which I took during a recent excursion to the Cape Cod National Seashore acts as the inspiration for the painting.

figure 2, Hollander Beater

figure 3

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Looking forward to Cove Gallery exhibit

Have been making panorama images from separate photos to be used for paintings for the Cove Gallery exhibit. This one of the National Seashore at 8:00AM when the place is largely quiet and empty of people is a winner and will most likely be made into an original painting.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cape Cod Travels

I spent last week on Cape Cod searching for inspiration. I explored new terrain and ventured into areas I had not noticed before. After 20 years of photographing Cape Cod, I was surprised at how many new places I found that brought me delight and energy. I will be using some of these images as benchmarks for new paintings. An exhibit of my work opens in August at the Cove Gallery in Wellfleet. I will be posting in progress and finished work that will be exhibited at the gallery.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Latest Work-new seascapes

I just finished these two paintings. I might add more color to the large painting-40 x 20 inches. The square painting, as yet untitled, is finished. They need to be ready for my exhibit at Cove Gallery in August (

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Photos from Cape Cod Photo expedition

Spent last week on Cape Cod photographing new areas for future paintings. I had never been to the Fort Hill area-beautiful. Also took some nice photos of the Massachusetts Audubon in Wellfleet.