Grocery Bag Art

Whelp, I had high hopes for my new series of grocery bag paintings. It’s not that they’ve been dashed yet, but things aren’t working out as I’d planned. I’m going to have to do more research, more trial, error, and maybe more badly executed pieces.

I finally finished that damn watercolor that had been on my drawing table for god knows how long. I don’t even know if I like it, but now it’s in the flat files. I snapped a quick picture of it before I filed it away. Here it is. I’m calling it, Afternoon Pools.

Whatever. At least it’s over. All I wanted to do was get through it and get onto the grocery bag series, which is proving to be problematic. After sketching out seventeen compositions, I was very excited to start, but silly me, I’m too attached to oil paint, and that’s part of the issue. It’s almost impossible to keep the paper bags flat.

I know I can’t unwrinkle them completely. I mean, that would be nice. If someone knows how to flatten them from the get-go, please let me know. But because I’d like to use oil paint, it’s necessary to put down a protective medium between the paper and the color. I probably should’ve used white gesso, but I didn’t. I used a transparent, acrylic polymer. Bad idea. It made the paper all lumpy and bumpy. Crap!

But this polymer is the same stuff I use for collage. And I was going to be using paper and fabric, similar to how I’ve used it on my birch panel pieces.

But it’s not working. It’s all warpy. Looks like shit. What seems to be working better on the paper is straight acrylic paint without any medium at all–right out of the tube. That’s fine for the parts I want to paint, but I can’t stick fabric or paper to acrylic paint. I also don’t particularly like acrylic paint unless it’s underneath the oil paint. I don’t know if that will be a good enough sealant for the paper bag. I don’t know; maybe it will be.

Perhaps I can gesso the back of it, so no oils seep through, just to be safe. In the meantime, test painting number one is looking like shit, and I’m disappointed. I’m not sure if I can save it. I may need to start again. Below is the rough composition for the first piece:

I need an adhesive that will work for the pattern paper (the yellow parts) and the fabric (the pink). Oh wait, to top it off, I have absolutely no pink fabric! I didn’t find that out until I was in the middle of working on the painting. That one little spot requires it, and I do NOT want to change it. Now I have to wait until it ships “special order.” Why is it “special order?” Because people are handmaking facemasks, and it’s near impossible to buy any cotton fabrics right now. Jeez.

I also want to stitch on these things when they’re complete, and I hope that doesn’t ruin anything either. I guess I’ll have to practice on top of the one I have going.

Wish me luck.

2 thoughts on “Grocery Bag Art

  1. Scarlett K Decker April 10, 2020 / 3:59 pm

    Carol, I had the same problem with some collages and they looked like shit because of the bumpy surface. I bought some spray gloss medium and that worked great as a sealant (probably not for oil) but for the substrate instead of medium I used spray adhesive. I think the secret is to find it in spray.

    • Carol Es April 10, 2020 / 5:56 pm

      Thank you Scarlett. That’s incredibly helpful. I wish I thought of it. I hope that will work! I also thought about cutting the collage pieces into small parts instead of trying to cover large sections with the polymer, but I like your idea better. I may just skip using oil paint altogether. Thanks for the helpful hints! 🙂 You are a rock star!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.