Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Found!... and passed along to be shared!

Terra Skin Tree Free Paper- A new and exciting tool in my box!!!!

All of us constantly search for new ideas... new concepts... new techniques and new products to either enrich and enliven our own painting processes... or one which provides a new tool for our painting and sketching boxes.

This particular product was recommended to me by my friend and fellow (accomplished) plein air artist and teacher John Anderson. John is the manager of Curry's Art Supply Store in Barrie ON and knows the art business front page to back. He excitedly recommended Terra Skin...Tree Free Paper as multi-media surface based upon his discovery that it fit the bill for people like ourselves who work both in the studio... and in the field... where conditions really can present difficulty and limitation.

Here are some of the "positives" to be considered:

*tree free paper

*subtle tooth, yet smooth

*flexible, easy to cut, won't buck, can be rolled and flattens again quickly

*ideal surface for oils, acrylics, watercolour, charcoal, pencil, pen and ink, printmaking

*it is archival and requires no priming for any medium used

*it is composed of 75% mineral content ground limestone and 25% resi

* non-toxic

*available in 25x17.5 inch sheet $2.29 and 25x35 inch sheet @$4.49

*348 lb weight, comparable to 300 lb watercolour sheet

I am sharing the two smaller sketches that I have recently completed... one in the studio the other in the field. All turned out acceptably... given my first awkward attempts. John simply mounts his sketch-sized sheets beforehand with masking tape on Masonite support. If he is pleased with the outcome... he mounts it permanently. If it misses the mark he simply flips it over and gives the other side a go.

I chose to jump to the more permanent step and mounted my precut paper directly onto the 1/8 inch Masonite panel using acrylic medium gel... applied thinly with a palette knife. I then carefully laid the sheet down on the gel surface and used a brayer to insure even adherence right to the very edge and to remove any air trapped between the paper and the Masonite. With a rag I removed any excess gel from along the four edges. I then applied weight to the entire surface and allowed it to dry undisturbed overnight. The next morning, I used a razor blade to easily trim off the overhang around the perimeter of the panel.

The panels provide a very stable, archival and exciting surface to work on. The paint moves freely... but the surface has enough tooth to create drag and not simply slip and slide out of control. I used it with acrylics in the studio in the first go... completing the Charlevois piece which measures 10x12 inches. I encountered no real difficulties at all and enjoyed the entire painting experience.

The second tome out I used watercolours en plein air, as I customarily do when travelling. Deb and I went out to a favourite spot at White's Falls, Muskoka where I knew there was good subject matter, quiet... and shade. My mistake made was that I underestimated the too rapid drying effect of the deep humidity on the watercolour. It simply resisted any attempt to "make it behave"... as this medium ALWAYS does. It controls you... you are only around for the ride... and must "get with the flow...or in this flow!"

I gave up after the lay in stage was nearly reached... deciding that I could not get what I wanted... so set it aside and simply enjoyed the scenery... the nice day... lunch and outing with my sidekick Deb! Back in the studio the next morning, I resolved to make something of the perceived disaster of the previous day. As is always my strategy when the ---- hits the fan... and I'm not getting anywhere using my "magic formula"... HA HA!!... I reshuffled the deck... pulled out my oils... sprayed the water colour with retouch varnish... then dove into the water alla prima... literally! All the reference required was in the lay in!

I have included the watercolour disaster... and the final oil outcome. You be the judge as to the success of my little experiment! It's framed... and on the wall as I speak... but I would appreciate your feedback!

This post is directed specifically to my pals Suzanne Berry and Keith Tilley... both of whom are adventurous... prolific... gifted... and forever in search of new things to try! Suz... try this puppy... for your puppies! But it is also shared with all of the rest of you who constantly visit... share and support "me" in my journey! Thank you all!

Happy Painting ALL... and Happy Summer!

PS Simply Google Terra Skin Paper for local availability and more facts!


  1. Great paintings Bruce! I'm especially fond of the yellow house. Interesting that you posted about this. I painted with someone in June who used Terra Skin and it was so cool. It took me a bit to get my head around it. I'd forgotten about it but thanks to your post I will make sure to write it down and pick some up the next time I'm at Currys.
    Happy summer!

  2. Thanks Kim!... For the compliments and for your visit!

    This paper would surely be an inexpensive... yet great surface for your wee "Dailys"!

    Good painting!... and Happy Summer!
    Warmest regards,

  3. bruce, wonderful work, these are just beautiful. and thanks for the paper info! who knows i might try working outside when it gets cooler here. hope you are well. happy painting my friend!

  4. I have never heard of this paper - sounds like a great option! The top image has a wonderful luminosity and softness about it - sort of atmospheric. Your studio CPR brought that watercolour back from the dead! I don't know whether it is down to the paper or the artist's able hand! My guess is the latter, but it is certainly worth experimenting further with this nifty new option! That's the mark of a true artist - always looking, no matter how established, for new ways to expand and grow their practice. And I bet you might find some tips next week at Caravaggio!! Love you, Dad! Allie xoxoxo

  5. I just love all three pieces, Bruce. I can't quite tell the difference in the bottom two, though I can see it is there.

  6. Interesting post Bruce! Love both paintings!


  7. Hi Suzanne!... Glad that you enjoyed the post and paintings!

    You will love the Terra Paper for your kind of sharp focus work and colour... especially on the stark white background. The colour really moves well and can be controlled easily too.

    Loved your recent pair of insects - very masterfully rendered! A happy client there for certain!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  8. Hello Sweetheart!... So nice of "You" to pop in and prop up yer ol' Dad! I love that term "studio CPR"... VERY appropriate... because it surely was a Lazarus in its watercolour state of palour!

    I like the oil version well enough to hang it anyway!
    Taking risks... trekking down new trails is truly the only way to advance in anything... but especially in making art! Dead ends and fizzles are all a part of the journey and process!

    Both Deb and I are looking forward to being in your company... as our personal docent... touring the Caravaggio Exhiibit at the National Gallery! What a blast we'll have together!

    Thanks for your ever-present love and support Jemima!

    Much Peace and love as ALWAYS!

    PS Good luck with your last teaching days at Carleton... and final exam! Hope they come up with some "A"s!!!

  9. Hi there Sherry!... Thanks for the visit and compliment!

    Look them over carefully... and you'll see certain areas have more "finesse" than others... and the light is obviously stronger in the better oil version for that reason.

    Warmest regards,

  10. Thanks Jeffrey!... Always great to get positive feedback from those we consider peers... and whose work we admire ourselves!

    This paper is something that you should use on a trial too Jeffrey! Sure fits the bill for your process and painting style!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  11. Hi Bruce,

    Thanks for telling us about this. I don't think I have heard about 'Terra Skin', although I've heard of something called 'Yupo'; I don't know whether they are the same.

    All the best,

  12. Hi Keith!... Don't think that they're the same... but this product is a superb surface for any medium I think... and I plan to push forward to see how it works for the other media I mentioned in this post!

    The watercolours themselves worked well on the surface... only the humidity played havoc.

    Stay tuned... fun ahead!

    Deb used it with her handcrafted card designa as a print surface... and the register for her printing was perfect!

    Good painting! Thanks for visiting!

    Warmest regards,