Jean Dubuffet was a French artist whose work included paintings and large-scale sculptures. He used a range of unconventional materials such as sand, pebbles, and butterfly wings, and was often inspired by found objects, patterns, and textures. He was also drawn to the powerful work created by children, prisoners and psychiatric patients, who had received no formal training in art. This prompted him to coin the term Art Brut to refer to their art, which was filled with a spontaneity and freedom he greatly admired and was inspired by. Let’s celebrate that spontaneity and freedom children have by playing with plaster and creating some textures.
- piece of wood
- Plaster of Paris
- disposable gloves (optional)
- mixing bowl
- stirring utensil
- texture creating tools e.g. skewer, palette knife
- items to press into plaster e.g. plastic mesh, sea shells, toothpicks, etc.
- acrylic paint
1. To make a textured painting, you’ll need to mix some Plaster of Paris by following the instructions on the package. Make enough to cover the piece of wood you will be using as your base.
2. Once it has thickened a bit, scoop up some plaster and spread it around the wood. Add some sand, and create further texture by dragging tools like skewers and forks through the plaster, or pressing items like plastic mesh, toothpicks and beads on top. Make sure to remove them before the plaster sets completely or you’ll have a tough time getting them off. You can also add a few splatters and dots of left over plaster on top of the first layer, to create further texture.
3. Dubuffet believed colour wasn’t always necessary because textured surfaces had so much to offer on their own. Some of his paintings were monochromatic, adding only one colour like in Lever De Lune Aux Fantômes. The choice is yours. Once dry, you can sit back and admire your work, or add a little paint to brighten it up.
Inspiration for this project: