Sunday, March 18, 2012

Why do I create Mats for my paintings out of Cardboard??

It came about as an accidental inspiration from viewing the original  painting 'The Scream" by Evard Munch at an Art Exhibition at the High Museum in Atlanta back in 1996 when the city hosted the Summer Olympics. You ALL know this painting. You have seen it and more than likely never gave it much thought. I know I did.
That is, until I saw it the original hanging in this art exhibit. It really wasn't that big AT all. It was a significantly small piece next to all the other 'more eye catching, monumentally larger' works that demanded to be seen. I just happened to be standing near to it and I saw it and said 'Hey, I know that one!" to no one but myself. But really, no. I didn't *know* it at all.
I read the placement card for it and found myself amazed. It was painted around the mid 1890's by this artist, Evard Munch. It mentioned that it was painted on cardboard to depict the artist's despair as he was so destitute at the time, he could not afford canvas to paint his images.

What?? on cardboard in the 1890's?? Cardboard existed back then?? I took a closer look at it...and sure could see the corigation under the painting...and it has survived all this time. The paint survived and,  unless it was restored, the colors were still very bright. I was amazed. I also found myself respecting this artist more, because I understood his situation very well. That and he didn't let 'not being able to afford supplies' stop him from creating and doing what came natural to him. To create and express himself by any means neccessary.

So...coming to my own story, I found I was in the same boat. Only, it was to create mats for my artwork. I couldn't afford the price of a matboard- OR to have it cut down to the sizes I needed it cut at. I was on the bus and it was IMPOSSIBLE to get a huge sheet home safely. I also knew my own matcutter was too small to accomodate the sheet as well....what to do??
I bought 'precut' mats and they were so thin that it took NOTHING to crinkle an edge. Just pitiful...

Then one day, at my job, I spied a stack of soon-to-be-crushed cardboard boxes and it made me think of that painting. I also started thinking that if that painting survived since the 1890's..then what were the chances my own paintings on cardboard would survive as well??....hhhmmmm....

Needless to say, I asked for a few of the boxes. Got them home in trashbags on the train (you gotta do what you gotta do) and got to measuring and cutting and painting...and today, thanks to Mr. Munch, he was my total inspiration for how that started...
This is how a few of my paintings look with my handpainted cardboard mats:
1st one is called 'Decatur Cemetery Gate'.
2nd is 'Large Cross from Decatur Cemetery'. Yes, truly an original title.
3rd is 'Bat Folkie Art' I painted the mat to be like the painting so it is an *extention* of the art.

This one was one of my first attempts- before I knew what the heck I was doing! The piece is called 'Destiny'. I have to say, I really liked how the fire looked, but I don't really *feature* is painting anymore. It was the result of one of my own crisis in my life.

This below is the painting by Edvard Munch that you know you know, that inspired the way I do mats today. Thank you Mr. Munch.


  1. Love this classic ! A great diving board for lots of us artists ! Best to you, love your work.

  2. Thank you!!! Thank you for following me too!!