I am often asked by viewers and other artists: why do you “paint” with handmade paper? Why not use “paint?”, referring to oil paint or watercolor. The direct answer is this: the texture created by the pulp is so unique that it almost creates a three dimensional affect right on the surface of the painting.
Nowhere is this more evidenced than in the seascape series I am currently working on inspired by my visits to the North Atlantic coast. I have taken photos of my latest painting in progress and have attempted to show the different textures of pulp as they are being applied to the painting.
As the painting progresses towards completion, I will include more photos in the composition. Enclosed are several photographs of overbeaten abaca (abaca is the inner bark of the banana tree. Overbeaten abaca is beaten in a hollander beater for 10 hours until the consistency of a thawed can of frozen orange juice) being applied to the surface of the painting using plastic spoons. To create the thicker dabs of abaca, I take a cup of overbeaten abaca and strain it in a strainer until it is the consistency of wet clay. I then freeze it. Once frozen and then thawed, the abaca will retain a chunky quality. I place a tablespoon of the abaca into a cup, add pigment, acid free glue, and three tablespoons of retention aid to the abaca and stir. This mixture creates the affect of crashing waves, barnacles on rocks, and under water pools of rocks and pebbles. I’ll post more photos as this painting progresses!