Meg Black is the featured artist in Helen Hiebert’s The Sunday Paper

Helen Hiebert is recognized as an expert in the papermaking community-from her knowledge of properties of various pulps to sewing and binding techniques for handmade paper books, Helen is a vital presence in educating papermakers around the world. Given her recognized expertise, I was honored that she asked me to be featured in her blog.

Helen shared my recent commission, Seafoam, which I created for a corporate space in 2018, as the featured image for the blog-good choice, Helen, its one of my all time favorites.

Seafoam, 2018. Corporate commission. Photo: David Margolis

Here is the text from Helen’s blog:

Meg Black is an artist who has earned an MFA and Ph.D. in art history. The subject of her work-both as a researcher and a visual artist-is the study of nature and its impact on our sensory experiences. Black creates her work with pulp – largely cotton and well beaten abaca – for two reasons: (1) this material has not been widely used as a painting media, thus she is constantly discovering its potential and is challenged by its capacities which allow her to be a pioneer in this process; and (2) the texture of this media provides an almost three-dimensional quality to the finished surface, thus mimicking nature in all its splendor. Black’s unique process and careful attention to craftsmanship provide a seductive, textured surface that lends itself to the natural subject matter of her work. In 2014, Black was the recipient of a 1% for art grant awarded to her for her installation of six large pulp paintings featuring the white birch, the state tree of New Hampshire. Other examples of her pulp paintings are in hospitals, corporate offices, private collections, and town halls and libraries throughout the United States.

Thank you Helen for featureing my work on your blog. I have been following Helen’s blog for years-so happy to have my own feature and am enjoying my 15 minutes of fame with Helen’s readers.

Using overeaten abaca and a spoon to paint a garden in bloom.

Join me, Thursday, August 20, IG Live, 4:00 PM, EST. How to add “water” to a pulp painting.

https://www.instagram.com/megblackstudios/

I will demonstrate my pulp painting technique for adding water imagery to the painting. I’ll discuss the materials and process I use to make the water shimmer and flow. These are some of my most coveted trade secrets so you won’t want to miss it! Post your questions in the question box and I’ll happily answer them. See you at 4:00 EST. Videos are available on IG TV after each session.

Follow me as I paint the sea: an explanation of the medium I use.

The painting as of August, 7, 2020.

At first glance, my paintings appear to be oil on canvas or similar. It is upon closer inspection that viewers observe the textured surface of the work. In fact, the most common comment I receive is “I love the texture of your work-it is so engaging. It’s like I’m actually there. Just what is the medium?” The medium I use is abaca, an extremely strong fiber from the inner bark of the banana tree and is used for marine cordage and sails for sailing vessels.

In the 16th century, Venetian artists-Venice at the time was a powerful seafaring nation state-began using the canvases of sailing vessels as surfaces to apply their paints. These canvases were made from durable fibers such as linen, flax and abaca.  It is for this reason that these now famous works have survived to us through the ages. 

Using these same fibers, I have embellished on this idea and created an actual painting method that is just as durable and permanent, and pigmented with light-fast colors to match the rich hues of nature.

My process provides a textured, almost three-dimensional quality to the painting’s surface, thus mimicking nature in all its splendor . . . from its rocky crevices along the ocean shoreline, subtle shadows in a garden path, the fullness and detail of a treed landscape, and the smooth surface of a still lake.  

Natural fibers, beaten into thick coats of pigmented pulp, provides the perfect media with which to create these modern interpretations of representational art.  

painting detail showing texture.