Sign up for my monthly Newsletter for special promotions and other interesting slices of an artist's life at GalleryJuana.com.
Part I Types of Rice Paper
Recently I got a question about balls of paper forming when mounting a rice paper painting.
"I find that while applying the paste to the back of the painting, little balls of paper can form sometimes. I find this very disturbing. Have you had this happen? Under what circumstances, and how did you correct it?"
I have had that happen, sometimes it has been the paper. So let's first take a look at types of Rice Paper.
Even though the paper used for painting Sumi Ink Paintings is not made out of rice, Rice Paper is a popular name for this Asian paper in the West. Other common names are Washi and Xuan or Hanji, depending on the country of origin (respectively, Japan, China, Korea).
Rice paper can be machine-made, hand-made, raw or sized. Each variance gives the paper a different texture and absorbency rate.
With handmade rice paper, I have noticed that the ball is already in
the paper itself. The first picture shows the fibres and knots that travel throughout the handmade paper.
Before I paint on the paper, I check for any
inconsistencies like thinness, thickness or knots that might interfere
with my image. Sometimes the knot can be taken out of the paper when
it is dry, but the risk is that a hole will be left in its place. If
I am going to use the paper with the inconsistencies, I just make sure
those points are outside of my image and aren't in the focal point of
my painting. The only safe option is to discard that part of the
paper. Since paper is expensive, I just work with it.
Other times, because the paper is thin or fibrous, the balls form when
mounting. At times, I have been able to remove the knot by gently
brushing it out or picking it apart to lessen the size. Again, I run
the risk that a hole will be left in its place which has happened in the past. Sometimes, it's reversible.
When mounting a painting on rice paper, it's important to use the proper brush for applying the glue which lessens disturbing the paper's surface. Also, use a light touch when spreading the glue.