Acrylic Painting on Recycled Brown Paper Bags

Use the papers you create in the Dance, Paint, Dance Part 1 demonstration for this project!

(This technique was previously published in Acrylic Painting With Passion by Tesia Blackburn, copyright 2014. It is republished here courtesy of CreateMixedMedia.com and North Light Books.)

The list of artists who use everyday materials is long and varied. I especially love the Reverend Howard Finster, who created art on everything from the lid of a potted meat can to recycled wood to an entire garden of art. It makes a brown paper bag seem almost upscale by comparison! So the next time you’re eyeing that crushed-up can in the parking lot and thinking, “What could I possibly do with that?” know that you’re in good company. Now, grab a couple of brown paper bags and let’s get to work!

What You Need

Setup time: 10–5 minutes
Painting time: 20–60 minutes

3″ (76mm) flat nylon brush
18″ × 24″ (46cm × 61cm) canvas or canvas board
Golden Fluid Acrylics
Carbon Black
Quinacridone Magenta
large brown paper bags, 2
Heavy Body Titanium White
palette knife

palette or palette paper
paper towels
plastic fork, stick, screwdriver or other implement
polymer medium gloss
gloss gel
spatula or Catalyst Blade (old credit cards work fine)
water container

acrylic painting

1. Cover the canvas with a thin layer of fluid Carbon Black and let it dry.

step 2

2. Tear up a large brown paper bag into several different-sized pieces and crunch them up.

step 3

3. Lay down a liberal layer of gloss gel and adhere the pieces of brown paper, allowing some of the black background to show through. Don’t collage anything to the top one-third of the canvas.

step 4

4. Use a spatula, old credit card or a Catalyst Blade to press the paper down to get a good bond. Push air bubbles out with the tool as well. For better adhesion, cover the entire brown paper section of the canvas with another layer of gloss gel, pressing down hard with the spatula to get a good bond, working out air bubbles as you go. Let this layer dry thoroughly.

step 5

5. Tear another brown paper bag into different sizes and shapes. Make a mixture of transparent color by mixing Quinacridone Magenta into polymer medium gloss in a ratio of about 1:10.

step 6

6. Paint several pieces of the brown paper bag with the transparent Quinacridone Magenta mixture and let them dry. Glue them down onto the first layer with gloss gel as above.

step 7

7. Make a bright pink mixture by adding one part Quinacridone Magenta to ten parts of Heavy Body Titanium White. Mute this mixture slightly by adding a couple drops of Carbon Black. Mix well.

acrylic painting

8.  Apply the muted pink mixture fairly thick to the top one-third of the canvas with a palette knife.

step 9

9.  While the pink mixture is still wet, drag designs through it with a plastic fork, a Catalyst tool, a stick, a screwdriver or any other implement you like.

final piece

Here’s the finished piece. What a great way to recycle brown paper bags!

(This technique was previously published in Acrylic Painting With Passion by Tesia Blackburn, copyright 2014. It is republished here courtesy of CreateMixedMedia.com and North Light Books.)

U2175_U2175.inddYou can find out more or order a copy of Acrylic Painting With Passion by Tesia Blackburn, here.

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