Paper Mache – Mahi Mahi Fish
Last year I took a course in oil painting. As someone new to painting I found oil challenging but acrylics more forgiving. Painting on a canvas was not exciting to me then I remembered loving paper mache as a kid. When I searched the web I found two websites that inspired me.
- Gourmet Paper Mache One of my favourite sites
- Ultimate Paper Mache Great ideas on unconventional paper mache
What surprised me was the variety of materials and glues available as well a paper mache clay.
My first idea was to use an old plastic fish I bought at the Outer Banks in North Carolina as a mould. I tried various glues and recipes but the one I enjoyed the most was white resin glue diluted with 10% water. Then for paper I tried several newsprints, tissue and paper towels to name a few but got interesting results with kraft folding paper towels. These are the basic brown towels you would find in a gas station.
While some of the glue recipes would release from the plastic, white resin glue bonded well. I decided to just cover the model with paper and paint.
While reading the Gourmet Paper Mache site I learned about cloth mache and using materials other than paper. I decided to glue lace trim onto the body to create a scale like effect.
Next came the fins. Why not create a rib structure with twine and yarn?
Here is the model with all of the paper, string, yarn, lace and gesso done.
My original idea was to mount the fish on a canvas like a trophy mount.
Next came painting the fish. As mahi mahi are colourful I had freedom to go a bit wild. Then I decided to use a 18x36 inch canvas and have the fish swimming into the scene. I painted the canvas as underwater with the light shinning in. I mounted wood reinforcing to the back to support the weight of the model then glued and screwed the model on.
Here is the final result as it hangs in my living room.
And so started my love of paper mache.