New Hippo Camouflage: Hiding behind Creatures with Antlers
For about six weeks, I was obsessed with anti-climate change convocations headed by Creatures with Antlers who were gathering inside the Hidden Bamboo Forest of Saint Paul. I painted more than two dozen canvases and paint-on-paper pieces that were birds’ eye views of these meetings. It was time to stop.
With more of these images than I could possibly display (let alone sell), Max-the-Cat, my Model, Muse and Snacks Manager, said “The hippos are coming and they need a place to hide.” Never argue with your Spokescat.
Create Hippo Camouflage: Cut Strips, Squares and Rectangles
With more than enough painted papers, it was almost easy to start. But not quite. I love all of these sheets of whimsical shapes and the intense colors from Golden High Flow Acrylic paint. Finally realizing that I could paint more sheets if I wanted, it still took a while to get up the nerve to begin to cut.
Toolkit: TerraSkin, a tree-free paper that doesn’t stretch that I buy from the always-helpful staff at Saint Paul’s Wet Paint, a paper cutter, good scissors (Fiskars), and a Uhu archival glue stick. Gotta have it: good light and a comfortable chair.
Hippo Camouflage: what could it be?
Think of a Hawaiian shirt on colored steroids, melted crayons (before your Mom noticed that you had done this on the floor), adventures in microscope viewing, or for people of a certain age, a very pleasant acid trip,
Hippo Camouflage: it’s working!
What next for hippo camouflage?
This hippo, who has not yet shared his name with me, is taking the rest of the week off while being coated with Golden Glass Bead Gel and Golden Self-Leveling Clear Gel. He sent a message to two of his friends, noting that hippo camouflage is pretty cool. They will get to Saint Paul next week. They hope to arrive in time for Art in the Hollow, an amazing day of art and music and fun and food in the magical Swede Hollow. June 2. Be there. Rain or shine.
There was a holly tree outside the kitchen window in my first “running away from home” apartment. It was tall and wide — kind of dumpy, actually. Bright and green all winter long, it was a high point in an otherwise dreary Washington DC metro winter. Its berries were beautiful. Red and redder than red.
This Holly Tree
I hadn’t thought about that tree for years until This Holly Treeemerged from a stack of “gotta finish this” paintings on my easel. What was left to do? Add the red berries. Done.
Life in the Holly Tree apartment was more or less carefree (except for the general angst of 20-year-olds, my parents’ consternation at this unconventional (gasp!) living situation, my then-boyfriend’s draft status, and my stolen VW Bug.) This Holly Treechannels the memory, employs one of my favorite nanoscapes designs (tiny random shapes), and makes a shameless pitch for a skinny space on the wall. The original is for sale (5×15″ matted to 8.5×20″, $100) at the Vine Arts Holiday Sale (December 6, 12-5), and from me directly, thereafter. I will have prints, matted to 11×14 for $30 each.
Tiny random shapes on TerraSkin™
Each tiny random shapes piece begins with a very sharp General Pencil (6H) and a deep breath. Sometimes I make them in an order (spirals, straight lines) and sometimes their order is random. I drew This Holly Tree on the most wonderful paper called TerraSkin™ which I buy in sheets from Wet Paint in Saint Paul. TerraSkin™ is a tree-free paper made of 75% calcium carbonate and 24% binder. The combination makes a paper that is very smooth and buttery. Watercolor puddles and dries, making almost translucent color. Because the paint isn’t absorbed (it sits on top of the paper), watercolor paintings need archival spray for protection.
It has been a while since I started to paint on TerraSkin®, a tree-free paper that uses no water in its production. Thanks to the great folks at Wet Paint, I have an inexhaustible supply.My favorite is the thickest (16 point . 25×35″ for $7.25/sheet) sheet. It comes in other thicknesses (4, 10, and 12 point).
When I first put paint into water (wet-in-wet) on this product, I said, out loud, “Hyperspace! I’ve seen those movies!” Thus were born the Creatures from Hyperspace.
TerraSkin® is an absolute pleasure to work with. The paint puddles and dries, so beginning a design as a wet-in-wet riot of color is a delightful first step on a creative journey. I approach this in two ways. I paint out a whole sheets or 4×6″ sheets that become Tiny Small Paintings. I mount each Tiny Small Painting archivally on mat board that is sized to fit a 5×7 frame. Each one has an envelope (for ease of gifting), and the painting and the envelope are packed in a Clearbag™.
During my last visit to Wet Paint, I bought a new-to-me bright-white paper called Terraskin™which is made from 76% calcium carbonate and 24% high density polyethylene (a binding agent.) Neither trees nor water are used to make it. The manufacturer politely warns that it will begin to degrade if exposed to direct sunlight and moisture for six to nine months, but if kept indoors (my plan) it will be fine. It comes in three thicknesses, and I bought the thickest. A 16-point 25×35 sheet was $6.85.
Pencil & Watercolor
Unlike Yupo™, which is also tree-free, but is 100% synthetic, Terraskin™ is very smooth and buttery. I have never warmed up to Yupo, and find Terraskin™, very soft and friendly to touch and to work with.
It is very pencil-friendly, and takes watercolor beautifully. After finishing my painting, I hesitated to touch it because the little watercolor puddles looked shiny and wet. Nope.They were dry.
I am looking forward to drawing and painting on this surface.