Meg Black Handmade Paper Paintings: Process and technique

Pulp in small jars, ready to be applied to the surface of the painting with a plastic spoon. I love how I can use recycled materials such as plastic spoons in my work. I keep finding good use for cheap plastic spoons.

I am constantly 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!

The painting in progress.

Meg Black Handmade Paper Paintings: Lilly Pond at Dawn

My husband bought two kayaks this summer.  Mine is so small, 9 feet, that I can shove it into the back of my station wagon and shut the back door!  Early in the morning, late August, I drove to Stiles Pond in Boxford, Ma and spent an hour paddling and photographing the pond in the early morning.  I created two paintings from that morning excursion.  The first is titled “The Pond in Early Morning.”  The second painting is titled “Pond Still Life.”

Meg Black Handmade Paper Paintings: Atlantic Inspirations

Yesterday I posted a blog describing my journey to the Atlantic Seaside in Autumn.  Anyone who has ever had the chance to wander around the coastline this time of year knows of the thrill of being alone in such a vast space.  I am working on paintings in my studio of the photos I took while exploring the coast.  Also, very exciting!, the Peabody Museum in Salem Ma. is displaying twelve of my sea coast prints!  I’ve enclosed a photo of the prints installed in the museum.

Handmade Paper Paintings: process and education

I have been a papermaker for 25 years.  The question I am most frequently asked is: how do you make you handmade paper paintings?  Recently, I added a page to my web site that describes my process.  I decided to share it here as I have been receiving positive reviews for my efforts.  Please feel free to visit my web site for more information about my handmade paper paintings!  Thank you for taking the time  to read my blog!  Meg Black