I was teaching a paste-paper workshop several weeks ago when one of the attendees said “This is just like finger-painting.” I don’t think she meant it exactly in a good way. But her comment got me to thinking. Paste paper is like finger-painting; only with much better materials and tools other than your fingers that you can use to make the designs.
Way (way) back in the private Quaker school I attended in the 60’s, we did finger-painting now and then, and we learned that the coloring material we were using was called “tempera” --ringing any bells with you artists and teachers out there? Tempera was cheap, came in great colors, washed off hands and clothes, and we kids didn’t much like the taste of it, so were not inclined to eat it. All really great “must haves” on a materials-list for kids.
Now-a-days, paste paper colorant can be acrylic, water color, food color---all good. But the least expensive and least fussy to clean up after remains good ol’ tempera, from a bottle, pre-mixed, and in a large variety of colors, including glossy versions.
For the work in this image, I decided to step out of my personal box a little and try applying the paste-paper medium and technique on a sheet of recycled paper I’d made. Ingredients for the recycled paper were cold water, shredded medical records, a page from an old American Airlines flight manual, and a used Lake Hodges kayaking pass. For the colored paste, I used undiluted wall-paper paste and acrylic paint. To make the designs in the colored paste, I used a Speedy Cut rubber stamp and various foam brushes I had around. My fingers stayed mighty tidy.
I think my friend was right in making the finger-painting connection. I’m guessing paste-paper has its roots there. Just another reason to restore art classes to the early grammar-school curriculum.
Finger-painting, bring it on!!!