Acrylic Painting and Papier Maché

In 1999, I began a technique in which I attach support structures to a prepared canvas and cover the structures with papier maché.  Then I paint the entire surface (canvas and papier maché) with acrylic paints.  So far, I have created only two projects of this type as it is a tedious process. 


Family Tree, 1999

The most extensive piece of work I've done of this type is my Family Tree.  It depicts my face, divided into three sections (each one tinted one of the three primary colors of light---green, blue and red) overlaying the moon.  A dragon swoops past.  There are pictures of my parents and both sets of grandparents, including my step-grandfather.  Photos were modified in Photoshop.  Older photos needed touching up from wear (as I preferred pictures of my grandparents in their younger days for this piece).  I added effects to my parents' photos for a more surreal effect.  Planters are built into the tree roots so that living plants can thrive in the sculpture.  The roots of the tree spell out the word "love."  Below are some close-ups of different areas of the tree taken in 2006 (so there is a bit of dust and a few branches have cracks).  I currently use the tree to display my Pysanky, so you will see some of them in these photos.

Click on any image below to see a larger view.

dragon closeup.jpg (133008 bytes)  plant.jpg (140880 bytes)  face closeup.jpg (122721 bytes)  

dad.jpg (140803 bytes)  mom.jpg (121865 bytes)  grandparents.jpg (145333 bytes)  


Here is a brief explanation of the process used to create the Family Tree.

family tree 1.jpg (63176 bytes)

Step 1:  Painting---the canvas was painted.  In the future, I would do this later since it was difficult to keep it clean while doing the papier maché part.  Window screening was sewn into place with thick carpenter's thread and tied around the canvas frame for stability.  Real tree branches and wires were used for the foundation.  Pots to put the live plants were secured in place.



family tree 2.jpg (67683 bytes)

Step 2:  Papier maché---paper towels were applied with a simple flour and water paste.  Toilet tissue was used for smaller areas.

Step 3:  Photos---photos of relatives were attached and covered with plastic wrap to prevent the papier maché from getting on them.



family tree 3.jpg (61879 bytes)

Step 4:  Clay---Self-drying clay was added and carved into, creating a bark-like texture.  When completely dried, acrylic paint was used to create color variations.

Note:  In retrospect, the attachments of photos should have been done after the papier mache was painted.

Step 5:  Gluing---A hot glue gun was used to attach dried moss and flowers.


family tree.jpg (83240 bytes)  family tree cut and paste.jpg (114948 bytes)

Here is the final product, although it has been difficult to obtain any good photos of this work.  I made the second scan by attaching a lot of pictures together.  It shows a little more detail than the first picture though.



The Vegetanimal from Outer Space

This is the Vegetanimal From Outer Space.  It was created in a similar fashion as the Family Tree.  Click the link below to see how it was created.

The Making of the Vegetanimal from Outer Space


Paintings on Canvas

The previous works incorporated acrylic painting with papier maché.  Here are a few examples of acrylic painting on canvas.

acrylic painting 1.jpg (119579 bytes)       acrylic painting 2.jpg (74354 bytes)
Acrylic Paintings, 1993


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