Different Strokes: Molding Paste

Molding paste is the foundation of all my mixed media work. It forms the first layer on the gessoed canvas. I throw a lot of paint around. This layer begins in the same way.

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One big gob.
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Several big globs.

Throwing gobs of molding paste

Taking a good scoop out of the bucket of molding paste (four litre containers are my size of choice) I throw the gob onto the canvas. Two or three flings later I begin to cover the surface roughly using semi-circular movements to avoid symmetry in the patterns. The thickness of the layer of paste varies from very thin or non-existent to thicker, enough to hold some scrapes and impressions.

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Corners and edges.

Corners are important

Carefully moving across the panel, I include the edges paying particular attention to the corners. The canvas folds disappear under the layer of paste becoming one with the rest of the prepared surface.

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Random swirls with scraper.
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Not perfectly smooth.

Scraper smooth

Once the entire canvas is covered I use the scraper to smooth out the higher lumps and bumps before I move in with the rest of my tools.

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Almost ready for impressions.
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Ready for the onion bags.

Onion bags

Random is the key. Pressing the different patterns from the plastic onion bags into the molding paste I move quickly over the area. Once finished I press them into a container of water so they will not dry while I continue the mark making.

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Done with the mark making.

Fine tooth comb

Beginning again with long swirling strokes of a fine tooth comb I create some movement in between and through the existing patterns. Last, but not least, I use three different tools to create the circle marks, a bottle lid, a tube from an adding machine paper dispenser and a watercolour brush container. The size grows smaller with each. It is important to do the circles last as they tend to get lost in the other random marks otherwise.

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Ready for gesso.

Ready for gesso

No longer shiny, the molding paste has dried with the impressions of each tool evident on the canvas surface. Ready for the next step, we will add the gesso and layering,  the next topic in “Different Strokes”.

A nice selection

Don’t forget to check out my solo show opening on June 1st at 6pm. There are twenty paintings illustrating the end result of this molding paste!

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