I am not a big fan of shopping. Don’t get me wrong. I love getting new clothes, yummy food from the grocery store, or pretty new earrings. But I just hate the actual going to the store, picking it out, and paying for it. And living in New York City, that includes schlepping it home too!
But I do have one exception. I love shopping for art supplies. Even if I’m only browsing, it’s fun to see the rainbow of paint colors, try out the newest pens, and fondle the paintbrushes. But my most favorite thing to shop for is PAPER! Collage paper, drawing paper, watercolor paper, pastel paper, and more. I love them all but handmade rice paper holds a special place in my heart. It’s so delicate and comes in so many forms. I picked up these gorgeous rice papers at Blick Arts. Some of them are mulberry paper; some have gold leaf specks in them, and my favorite is the one on top of the pile with the dried leaves embedded into the paper. I’m planning on using them in a commission I’m working on. Have you ever used rice paper? What is your favorite type of paper?
I started with the idea to create a set of matching paintings with lots of 3D texture. I love the soft, white flowers of the dogwood tree but realized I would need a colored background to make the petals show in the paintings. I’ve documented my painting process below. I will flip-flop between the two paintings as I forgot to photograph them both at each stage, but you should get the general idea.
I start by painting a variety of stripes on watercolor paper (glued to cradled wooden panels) using acrylic paint.
Next I glue down strips of different Japanese papers. I love handmade Japanese papers (made with mulberry leaves, rice shaft, and other organic materials) because they add a unique, textural feel to my work. I also include some handprinted deli paper I made using my Gelli plate.
Now come the flowers. First I sketch in the compositions. Next, using Golden’s heavy molding gel, I spread on the petals with a palette knife. When the gel is dry, I sand off any sharp points.
I add in collage paper elements for the leaves and stems, painting some areas to give them more dimensionality. Finally, I add sheer cheesecloth for an unexpected touch and use colored pencils to create some delicate color in the white petals. The paintings are sealed using a clear acrylic medium, and then two layers of acrylic varnish to protect the paper.
Dogwood One, mixed media on cradled panel, 12″ x 12″
Dogwood Two, mixed media on cradled panel, 12″ x 12″
Here’s a side shot to better see the raised texture of the paintings.