Painting Extra Big on brown paper

Adopt this philosophy: When it comes to art journals, anything worth doing is worth overdoing!
Quote from the book True colors (found at The Altered page)

Love this quote! And so appropriate, because overdoing is my favorite thing to do too.

Painting XL
Last month I did a few flowers on brown paper and noticed how much paint the brown paper can take. I’ve got a few rolls of brown paper for gift wrapping and it is amazing how much paint you can slap on it without it tearing or getting bubbly. And if you roll it out you can also enjoy painting big without the need of a expensive canvas. So if you worry about being neat and producing wall-worthy art when you paint on canvas, this is a great option.

At almost no cost you can paint huge paintings, and you don’t need to worry about the result. If you don’t like it throw it away and then just roll out another piece of paper. If you want to make super cheap art – pick up some brown paper and start painting! You can use the paper from grocery bags, buy a whole roll – or recycle some brown paper like I did (got this one in the mail with gifts inside).

Did you notice the pen on the paper above? It’s there for size comparison:

Painting XL
Because this is XL for crusade #40, called Step up the scale! I thoroughly enjoyed painting these backgrounds, mixing colors as I went along. Experimenting with dry brushing, stencils (both bought alphabet stencil and some round ones I’ve made myself), stamping (my new favorite is a empty sewing thread spool) and some collage (from an old school book, recycled wrapping paper from dad’s birthday plus some labels). You could go in and add details, doodle on top of this, cut out shapes or just paint something figurative on top of it I guess. You could do anything. I kept on painting.

I painted the backside of the above brown paper too. Here it is again, covered in paint:

Painting XL

Then I moved on to another sheet of paper, even bigger this time:
Painting XL

Both of the big papers together (notice the pen again!):

XXL brown paper painted

I promise I will let you know what these are being turned into in my next post!

And check out some close up photos while you wait:

Painting XL
Stamping with my fingers is always fun, making little white dots all over the place.

Paint splatters
Paint splatter. Then letting blue paint with lots of water splash and drip. Blue like rain.

Round stencil made with punch
Stencil made with the round punch. Thick color through stencil, then paint on top of that, then water, then swipe. Then… what ever you want to do.

Painting XL
Address label with my name, glued to the paper and then almost gone again, lost in paint.

Painting XL
Alphabet stencil used. Finally, what took you so long Hanna? Let’s use it every day from now on. At least once.

A wee girl in a colour explosion. I guess it is me as a kid. Or inside iHanna’s head – there is no difference.

Painting extra big took a bit more time than usual but was also extra fun. I’m digging it and will scale up again. Feel free to join the crusade by going small, going large or mixing it up: Step up the scale! Yes, lets.

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35 Responses to Painting Extra Big on brown paper

  1. hanna! loving these huge paintings! isn’t it fun to paint as far as your hand can reach? even better when you can create with abandon since it is less precious surface you are working on (aka cheap). you have some terrific backgrounds here. can’t wait to see what you do with them next! going XL suites you :) thanks for sharing with the team!!

  2. rainshadow says:

    I love the colors in these pieces! What sort of paint did you use? Liquid acrylics? Thanks! (:

  3. Big rolls of brown kraft paper are my *favorite* thing to paint on.

    I use them in workshops to cover the floors and tables, and then keep using them under my work surfaces. Just love the random splotches that build up.

    These papers get used in collage and to make journal pages. So much fun.

    thanks for sharing. now I want to go paint!

  4. iHanna says:

    rainshadow: just ordinary cheap acrylic paints, different brands in different sized bottles. Mixed and had fun, so the colors are random but very “me”.

    Lisa: thanks for you comment, I wish I could take a workshop with you and we could paint some big papers together! Come to Sweden and play with me!

  5. How fun! In the US, you can get rolls of brown paper (the heavy duty kind) at the dollar store. I love that stuff! I’m going to do this with my preschool son soon! We painted wood blocks & boards yesterday, but this sounds even more fun. He loves squeezing paint out, so a big canvas is a great idea for him.

  6. Paula says:

    Very cool, Hanna! I have a huge roll of red…well reddish brown…rosin paper from the hardware store. Looks like I need to get moving and use it! As always, I ‘m inspired!

  7. Ruth says:

    Love it, I’m an art journalist also. I am hoping to post a video clip tonight about how I used a cut up brown paper bag to stencil and color using color wash/spritz/misters.

  8. Lay Hoon says:

    Hi, that’s beautiful XL Pages.
    I make the XL try too :)

  9. this is beautiful! thanks for sharing! will be fun to do with my 5 year old to add some “color” to our house!

  10. Susan says:

    These are just great! The colours are fabulous, and they’re all so free and fun-looking.

  11. ro bruhn says:

    I love these paintings and I adore your postcards in an earlier post.
    I love Kaffe Fassett’s philosophy about colour if in doubt add twenty more. This can also apply to our art, I never just stop, I always end up going back and adding more.
    Thank you for visiting my blog too.

  12. Ingrid says:

    wow, love it! the way you use colors always makes me so happy. i discovered brown paper a little while ago, and used some it to make blank art journals for my etsy shop! ( i need to get my hands on some more – it’s so much fun to paint on..

  13. Chris says:

    Hanna, I’m going to borrow this, because just today I got a whole MESS of brown paper in a shipment, and I’ve been dying to go huge. I want to make another piece for this challenge, because my first one just wasn’t huge enough! And you have really done it right! I love orange right now, and all your bright colors do it a great service. So pretty!

  14. agnespterry says:

    Oh, that looks like so much FUN! :-D I even have a big roll of brown wrapping paper that I bought for my Christmas presents (I like the simplicity against a pretty ribbon, and it’s cheaper than wrapping paper), so I may have to try this after clearing off my desk.

  15. Seth says:

    Go big or go home they sometimes say. And this is big! Looks like it must have been freeing and a lot of fun. Love the close ups.

  16. Gina says:

    Simply beautiful, Hanna!

  17. Helena says:

    Hi Hanna! Thank you for this post – it not only made me paint (using paper bag, although I covered it with gesso), but it motivated me to continue with my blog in english and to participate in different projects like this Crusade no. 40… Thank you again!

  18. cyndee says:

    love all the colors, and the little things you’ve hdden in the painting. i’m going to have to find some brown paper bags.

  19. Baye says:

    What great work! I look forward to seeing what you do with it.

    I am new to your blog, but have put it on my Google page. I don’t want to miss anything! Off to check out all your other work.

    Thanks for sharing.

  20. Karin says:

    Hanna, you create so wonderful pages…thank you for sharing

  21. Violette says:

    These are lovely! Sometimes i use brown paper for painting on and then use in collages but not often enough. Thank you so much for the push to do it more often and to “go big or go home!” ha…….

    I’ll ask Roger about the song he created to see if he can make it available as an MP3!

    Thanks for posting on my site.

    Love, Violette

  22. Pingback: iHanna’s Blog » Blog Archive » Booklet Journal using Brown Paper

  23. Jane says:

    These are gorgeous! AWESOME and what a great idea to use cheap brown paper – I have a roll in the basement, I’m off to paint now.

  24. linda says:

    Wow, super inspiring! I’ve always had a fear of going large…something about the giant size and being in your face just scares me! Using brown paper seems a lot less intimidating of course… still scary though :)

  25. lisa says:

    those are lovely and the colors are fantastic! love all the hidden elements too.

  26. BrigittevT says:

    Wow, I love your big paintings ! And what a wonderful idea, just using the cheap brown paper. You are so right, one of the reasons I am afraid of BIG is that I don’t want to ruin very expensive canvasses LOL You inspired me, I will try this too !

  27. Helen says:

    Love your XL paintings. I am following you blog for some time now, it is so inspiring, thanks! Helen

  28. Pingback: iHanna’s Blog » Blog Archive »

  29. I have come back for a second look. I just love the colours and I am in awe of the big size that you worked with in this crusade.

  30. Pingback: iHanna’s Blog » Blog Archive » Big Brown Paper Doodle

  31. K Hutchinson says:

    OMG I missed this the first time! LOVE LOVE LOVE these! You are inspiring me to try this! I know the crusade is over and I just could not do it! WORKING LARGE freaks me out- you inspired me I am going to give it a go! Beautiful works of art!

  32. Cath S says:

    Oooh these are great – I love the colours you have used and your mark making really appeals to me. Very cool indeed!

  33. teri says:

    Wow, I love these yummy colors. You are fearless. xo-teri GPP street team member

  34. Pingback: iHanna’s Blog » Blog Archive » In change there is power

  35. Kirt Barrett says:

    Pretty good idea. However, if you go real big let’s say 4’x12 the paper will tear. I’ve been painting XL for years. Pollock style. Brown paper is a great idea but does not structurally hold up when trying to stretch

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