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Monday, September 6, 2010

The Art of the Torn Edge: Painting on Paper

How I've missed having a good Art Deckle! We always had them available in art school, but for my studio it always seemed like a frivolous expense. Since I've been painting more work on paper lately, though, it seemed like an appropriate thing to have on hand. And so, I finally have that simple but effective tool happily residing on my table!


What is an art deckle? It's basically an artist's straight edge (shown above with the bottom edge straight and top edge ragged) allowing you to tear your quality art papers to give them that lovely ragged hand-made paper look (shown below).

"A Little Hidden Treasure"
Original ART Available on ETSY


For my Acrylic paintings I use either an Arches Cold Press Watercolor paper or their more versatile mixed media paper. Since I buy my paper in large rolls, I have to cut it to size for the paintings I'm doing. I use my carpenter's square to measure the correct size and mark the edges with pencil. (The square helps me to ensure right angles on the corners.) I then line up the art deckle along the line (deckle side to the right, as I'm right-handed), wet the paper along the deckle with water using a paintbrush, hold the deckle down firmly with one hand and pull the paper up from the top right corner finishing toward me until the paper is completely cut. Presto. Paper fit to leave un-matted!

After I have my paper in the appropriate sizes, I then lay them out and coat them with a layer or 2 of gesso. The gesso gives the paper a little more weight and prevents the acrylics from soaking thru to the back of the paper.

I now have 5 papers prepped and drying and I'm looking forward to painting on them tomorrow!

Happy Painting (and deckling)!

3 comments:

Crimsonfirestudios said...

Thanks for sharing. How do you prevent your paper from warping when you gesso it? I have tried paper that is for acrylic and the 140lb cold pressed. I have taped it down and I still have waves or warping.

Jennifer Lommers said...

Usually my paper 16x20 or smaller just left to dry on a flat surface (no taping) will dry fairly flat. If I do have warping or wrinkles, I just flip the paper over (non-gesso side up) on a flat surface, spritz with a little water, cover with a thin towel, and then lay large heavy objects on it (a board works great, for smaller papers books work well) until it is dry. I have known watercolor artists who have ironed their paper from the back with a thin towel, but I've never tried that with acrylic. I paint so thickly that typically, warping naturally takes care of itself by the time I'm done.

Hope that helps!

Crimsonfirestudios said...

Thanks Jennifer great ideas. I will try them out!

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