Pulp painting is a process that uses pigmented paper pulp as a painting medium. These fibers are beaten and combined to form a pulp. I will often swirl inclusions, such as threads or metallic foil, into the pulp to create texture. Once the pulp is formed into a sheet, I place a series of mylar stencils on top of the still wet sheet. I spray finely beaten cotton pulp, pigmented various shades, onto the base sheet. I combine my use of stencils with free-form spraying to achieve gradations of color. After the sheet is pressed and dried, the result is a sheet of unique paper, where the image itself is part of the paper fiber. Even though I use the same stenciled images multiple times, each sheet I create is unique, based on variations of sheet formation and pulp painting.
These pulp-painted sheets are finished works of art, ready to be framed and displayed. Although the pigmented fibers used in these sheets are more light-safe and permanent than using dyes, it is best to keep the artwork away from direct sunlight. If you decide to frame one of my pulp paintings, consider floating the sheet on top of the mat, exposing the unique deckle edge. All of my pieces come with a one-sheet description of the artwork. The artwork itself is signed by the artist.
They're both part of my daily experience in Chicago. Birds fit naturally with the pulp painting process, especially the feathery effects of the pulp paint. Buildings present a different type of challenge. Pulp painting architectural imagery on handmade paper has allowed me to explore the paradox between material and subject matter, described by one curator as “the ethereal nature of the medium married with the hardness of contemporary architecture.”
Artist Don Widmer guides the viewer through this unique process of creating imagery within the fiber of handmade paper, called pulp painting.
Chicago Temple No. 1 (2018), pulp painting on handmade hemp / cotton paper. Size: 36 x 24 inches ; 91.4 x 61 cm.
Ghost of the S.S. Keewatin No. 6, pulp painting on handmade abaca/cotton paper. Size: 24 x 36 inches; 61 x 91.4 cm.
Hook & Hastings No. 1 (2016), Pulp Painting on Handmade Cotton / Abaca Paper. Created in Skokie, Illinois. Size: 36 x 24 x inches; 91.4 x 61 cm.
Scarlet Tanagers No. 11 (2018), Pulp Painting on Handmade Cotton Rag Paper with Flax Pulp Paint. Size: 10 x 12 inches (approximate); 25 x 30.5 cm.
Southeastern Bat No. 6, Pulp painting on handmade abaca / cotton paper. Size: 12 x 18 inches ; 30.5 x 45.7 cm.
All About Lily No. 10 (2016), Pulp Painting on Handmade Daylily / Abaca Paper. Created in Skokie, Illinois. Size: 18 x 12 inches; 45.7 x 30.5 cm.
I Roam the Streets with Chains and Bells, pulp painting on abaca paper with gold foil and twine inclusions. Size: 36 x 24 inches ; 91.4 x 61 cm.