Thursday, May 5, 2016

pulp painting

Papermaking is one of the many things I have tried my hand at in the past few months at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center (PAAC). And then a few weeks back Gretchen Schermerhorn (Artistic Director at PAAC) introduced me to pulp painting, a technique that involves the use of coloured paper pulp on damp handmade base sheets.

For pulp painting you need two things: pulp paint and base sheets. The first is your medium, the second is the surface you paint on. Pulp paint is very fine pulp that is made by beating fibers in a Hollander beater for a few hours before adding pigments. You also add something called formation aid that helps with better flow and bonding.

For the base sheets, I used abaca fibers that I beat for a couple hours. I then used a mould and deckle (a wooden frame with a screen and another frame that sits on the mould to hold the pulp) to make sheets, which you then couch on a damp pellon (polyester sheet). You build layers of sheets and pellons to create a post, which then goes into a hydraulic press to remove excess water. (If you want to know more about how paper is made, you can check out a cool video on papermaking and a glossary of common papermaking definitions here.)

You 'paint' by pouring pulp paint on the base sheet in layers. It's a lovely loose way of painting since the pulp paint is quite watery. You can also create specific shapes by making pellon stencils. You can be Pollockesque or Frankenthaleresque or (even better) do your own thing. The basic idea is that the pulp paint sits on the surface of the base sheet, layer after layer, and then fuses with it. Once you are done painting, you put all the sheets in the hydraulic press to get the excess water out. The last stage is putting these sheets in the drying box.

Below are some of my pulp paintings experiments. More to come for sure.

silent conversations
pulp paint on handmade paper, 17x22" 2016

pulp paint on handmade paper, 15x18" 2016
degrees of separation
pulp paint on handmade paper, 17x22" 2016

pulp paint on handmade paper, 18x15" 2016

pulp paint on handmade paper, 15x18" 2016
pulp paint on handmade paper, 15x18" 2016
pulp paint on handmade paper, 18x15" 2016

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

the distant other

the distant other
24x18" acrylic and ink on paper, 2014 

Deep in the puddle
the heavens - 
along its ripples
one orbits 
the distant other.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

when you paint...

When you paint, you walk out the door...
...Into the hurried blur of the busy streets, the little shops and big buildings, the cars, and dogs walking their people. Later, you find yourself in a bus, which turns this way and that, until finally the city is behind you. The view changes to green fields and wild flowers, and a large sky that is a wash of blue. The view is wide, and it makes you not-think. You get off the bus when the urge strikes. Standing there, in the middle of nowhere, you look around to take in the view. Soon you are walking. Maybe something far away catches your eye. Now you find yourself climbing a hill and down the other side. There is a dirt road leading to a farm. Along this dirt road you see cows grazing. You stand there, enjoying the scene and the sounds of the earth. Some time later a farmer drives your way, and you hitch a ride. You say goodbye as you get off near the railway tracks. The winding track is quiet, without traffic and goes on for miles. On either side are tall trees obscuring everything else. You come to a tunnel. Inside the tunnel the air is damp and there is a deep darkness that seems to go on forever. But soon you come out into the sunshine. The clouds in the sky are moving just as you are. Up ahead, you see a dusty old sign post that says '...... Trail'. Intrigued, you take this trail through the woods. The birds are chirping, and a deer stares at you as you walk past it. The evening light, orange, peeps through the trees. Now, night is falling. You don't know where you are, but you sense you must keep walking in a certain direction. Suddenly you reach a clearing. It's a meadow. Stepping into this clearing, you see the lights of a town far away. Then you look up at the sky. The same sky that was a brilliant cornflower blue is now a deep violet. The stars are out, and they are twinkling.

When you paint, you walk out the door and then come back inside.

Friday, March 11, 2016

under dark skies


Under dark skies,
the sound of the chanting ocean
and dancing flames
remind me of something.

*A layer of a painting painted over (detail). Like the memory of a passing cloud.

Sunday, February 14, 2016