Filling In the Spaces—Art in Antique Printer Trays

antique printer tray

From time to time, I will amble through a flea market to see what there is to see, and from time to time, I will come out with an antique printer tray because these things fascinate me. Imagine the stories they could tell—the stories they DID tell.

What I do with them is this: I take sheets of Arches oil paper, which is paper designed for oil paintings, and I cut them into small pieces to fit the compartments of the tray. I lay these pieces out on boards in the same configuration as the tray, and I begin painting.

painting in progress

Over a period of a couple of weeks, I add layers and layers of oil paint and cold wax until I achieve an abstract landscape, even though, on these boards, it doesn't look like much.

After the pieces have dried, I mount them to spacers and insert them into their respective compartments, leaving some empty for your imagination to fill in, and the landscape appears like magic. 

painting in antique printer tray

Of course, it's a bit of work and not magic at all that makes it happen, but I enjoy the process, and I absolutely love the results. These paintings are a statement—a curiosity—a puzzle to be worked out when you view them from across the room.

HERE is my most recent finished printer tray painting, with a field of wildflowers growing beneath a pleasing sky.

Legal imprint