Pair of Towhees No.5 (2020), framed (Male and Female Eastern Towhee, Rufous-Sided Towhee) - bird pulp painting on handmade paper, no. 327.05

Pair of Towhees No.5 (2020), framed (Male and Female Eastern Towhee, Rufous-Sided Towhee) - bird pulp painting on handmade paper, no. 327.05



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  • Handmade
  • Materials: kozo, hasta, cotton, recycled paper, flax pulp paint, pigment, wood frame, archival mat, museum glass

  • Height: 22.75 inches
  • Width: 24.25 inches
  • Depth: 1 inches

This handmade paper artwork is "painted" completely with pigmented flax pulp on top of a base sheet made from hasta, kozo and cotton. The entire process, from forming the base sheet to painting my image, is done at the same time while all the fibers are wet.

The fiber used for my base sheet is a combination of hasta (which I cook down from the raw plant material), kozo (inner bark of a mulberry plant), and cotton. The hasta and cotton are pulped in a Hollander beater but the kozo is hand-beaten with a wooden paddle. Recycled paper scraps are swirled into the pulp to create interest and texture. Once the pulp is formed into a sheet, I place a series of mylar stencils on top of the still wet sheet. I spray finely beaten flax pulp, pigmented various shades, onto my base sheet to create the image. After the sheet is pressed and dried, the result is this sheet of unique paper, where the image itself is part of the paper fiber. Even though I use the same stenciled images multiple times, each sheet I create is unique, based on variations of sheet formation and pulp painting.

The artwork consists of two sheets of handmade paper in a single frame. The male is titled "Revelation" and the female is titled "Biding Time." The towhees are part of my series of pulp-painted birds and bats which can be spotted throughout the Midwest region. The eastern towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus), also called a rufous-sided towhee, can be found throughout the Eastern United States. In my research into the folklore of this bird, I discovered the towhee has two distinct, yet balanced, natures. Mostly secretive, the birds can be heard scratching while hiding in a thicket of leaves. During nesting season, the males become bolder, taking to high branches to sing. These two natures can be said to symbolize the wisdom of biding one's time, keeping a secret until the right moment to reveal what is hidden.

This paper is pH neutral and archival. The museum glass provides UV protection. Although the pigmented color is more light-safe and permanent than using dyes, it is best to keep the artwork away from direct sunlight. This piece comes with a one-sheet description of the artwork. The artwork itself is signed by the artist. Created in Bridgeport (Chicago), June 2020.

This piece is professionally framed. The faux-distressed wood frame (off white with dark brown edging) gives this artwork a rustic feel. The paper artwork is floated on top of a brown archival mat which highlights the paper's deckle edges. Non-glare and UV resistant museum quality glass highlights the fibrous texture of the handmade paper.

Artwork Size: 17 x 9 inches (each) ; 43 x 23 cm. (each)
Frame Size: 22.75+24.25 inches; 58 x 61.5 cm.
Package weight = 8 lb.; 3.6 kg.; free shipping includes packaging cost plus insurance


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Ships from Chicago, IL
Don Widmer

Don Widmer

Owner of DonWidmerPaperArts

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56 shop reviews

5 out of 5 stars

kstephen3 Apr 12, 2018

5 out of 5 stars

Love my scarlet tanagers!! Really brightens up the room.

Purchased item:

Bradley Wadle Mar 30, 2015

5 out of 5 stars

Everything shipped promptly. It's a beautiful painting. We just got it framed -- we floated it above the mat so that the rough edges of the handmade paper can be seen. It looks great, and we highly recommend that strategy to anyone else who wants to frame one of these pieces.

Purchased item:

kstephen3 Nov 30, 2020

5 out of 5 stars

Love this beyond measure! Amazing what this artist can achieve with pulp painting! I treasure my collection of his works! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

Purchased item:

isingonrooftops Feb 24, 2020

5 out of 5 stars

Everytime I get one of Don's works, it comforts me but also challenges me (I really don't mean to sound pretentious or make his art sound pretentious because really - it is the opposite of that) - reading his books are some of the happiest, most thoughtful moments in my life and the fact that someone can create something that another human being connects with or relates to is amazing and peaceful

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Listed on Jan 7, 2021