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Painting by McRostie

I was asked by one of my students “How do you start an abstract painting” my response was instant-ish. Think of the most predominant part of your composition & put it in with confidence be bold. Then I remembered a practice I am very fond of, turning common brown paper into paintings.

Preparing four new paintings that started life as brown paper protective sheets on my painting bench. As the month goes by they develop some fantastic texture & marks, the paper is usually 2 or 3mm thick and covered in forty or fifty layers of paint, varnish, and ink. When it reaches this state of maturity I naturally start identifying areas of interest to me. Bearing in mind that this piece of paper is about 1m x 2m I usually work on pieces of 40cm x 40cm & up to 120cm x 120cm but 40cm x 40cm is my comfort zone. I sometimes use a 40cm mount to isolate areas to develop and mark around the outside of the mount in black marker. These are the four areas I have decided to harmonize with a simple pallet being very free and loose as I pull out points of interest, especially in composition. I then cut these pieces out oversize by about 50mm then I cut them to size on a Roto-trimmer. I place the piece on a 9mm plywood board that is cut 40mm oversize, I place the work in the middle of the board. I then use low tack masking tape to form a hinge on one edge, the other three sides are masked off to prevent glue from getting on the borders of the board. It all sounds very laborious but it only takes a few minutes now I simply open the two like a book then spray both surfaces with contact adhesive wait five minutes for the glue to go touch dry. Then I close the two together like a book. The work can be laid from your masking tape hinge, work the paper onto the glued board, remove the masking tape and you should have your work in the centre of your board with no sticky bits. Use a hard roller directly on the painting pushing it firmly onto the board leave for 24 hours so solvents in the glue can disperse.

 Now the real work starts I usually seal the painting with one or two coats of acrylic varnish, and then I have an interesting base to work from. I paint mainly in acrylic, charcoal, ink, gouache, and pastels.


I hope this helps anyone with the Where do I Start Blues

Brown paper painting
Brown paper painting


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