Newspaper Masks

Essays > Skill Development

Second painting tutorial about one of Shivananda’s favourite techniques.

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Shivananda, whose first job as an adolescent was that of a typographer, has a deep connection to paper and in particular to that of newspapers.

In this tutorial he shows how to create masks using a newspaper page. It is important to know in which direction to tear the paper. During production the paper fibres align vertically to the rolls, so tearing the paper along the fibres will create a fairly straight line, while in the opposite direction it will tear in diagonal.

Shivananda demonstrates how to paint a frame with uneven edges (or shadows as he also calls them) using a newspaper torn along the fibres. Then, knowing about the properties of acrylic paint (not water-soluble when dry, but workable when still wet) the edges of the frame are smoothed even further with a wet sponge.

And to show what can be done if the newspaper is torn in the opposite direction, Shivananda takes a painting previously worked on. This time the paper will be more difficult to tear and so by hand a zig-zag motion needs to be applied — which can be more or less controlled. He reminds us to paint ‘away’ from the edge of the paper so that the paint does not seep under the edges. The free area is covered in white paint creating Swiss mountains (“they are Swiss because the newspaper is Swiss!”) and, to create crevices and valleys, he applies the paper-wrinkle technique demonstrated in session 1 (Paper-wrinkle with Acrylics).


Watch the previous session (and all future sessions) by following this link.

The video was filmed by Govinda (Guy-Claude Sthioul) in the location where Shivananda’s painting workshops take place every year (from May till September): Alexis Zorbas in Corfu. Greece.


ShivanandaShivananda was born in Switzerland. He worked as a trained typesetter and graphic designer, silkscreen printer, bookbinder and photographer. Twenty years ago he fully engaged himself as a painter, working in Brazil and Switzerland. Music, another expression of his creativity, has been his companion for all his life. He plays the guitar and sings. In summer he lives in Arillas on the Greek island Corfu, where he facilitates painting and singing workshops.

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