Pat’s Technique

Upside-down and Backwards

After studying and meeting my Dutch husband, Peter, at California College of Arts and Crafts, I moved to the Netherlands in 1971. We started exploring the many possibilities of using paper pulp to create art. Working with fibers on a flat sheet and sometimes working three dimensionally, I’ve discovered a whole world of paper.

Over the years, I’ve developed a very personal technique of painting with many different paper fibers in an aqua solution. By varying the milling time, a hollander beater can produce a large variation in textures from even one type of fiber.
Paper is not just an image bearer, but becomes the image itself.

I work from the front of the painting on the surface of the vacuum table. Using the colored pulps, I pour thin, often transparent, layers of pulp, next to and on top of each other, sometimes shaping them with a knife as I go along. As the water drains down, I gradually build up the pulp layers to the back, finishing with a layer of hemp pulp overall, for strength, and then a layer of cotton pulp overall, to act as a cushion for drying on a board.

I feel like a modern alchemist, in my studio, surrounded by pots of all kinds of colorful paper pulp, transforming humble plant fibers into large paintings. My choices of subject matter closely relate to natural fibers and water, my building materials. They are living plants or animals or the nature of my motherland, California, with a hint of the psychedelics from the sixties. As you look at them, they seem to move. When you see the pieces, it is very hard to believe that the illustration is created with paper fibers, not with paints and paint brush.

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