Question: Exploring the use of painters tape and tape lines.

Background: Finding ways to make straight lines with unreliable arms.

I was getting frusterated with the unreliable stability of my shoulders. Everytime I try to make a straight line I don’t know how long the line will be able to go for before my shoulder gets tired and my arm falls down. This kept creating aqward curves in my lines. I’m learning to turn my problems into solutions. I originally started experimenting with painters tape to simply help establish large and reliably straight lines, but in the process I found a whole new bucket of inspiration and ideas!


  • Pure Experimentation
  • Logistical Use of Tape Lines
  • Conceptual Use of Tape Lines

I. Pure Experimentation 

To start off this exploration I began with no specific intentions. I created a simple tape pattern and then filled in the triangles with color. I let these backgrounds sit around the studio until an appropriate project arose.

Freedom: A project focused on a contemporary response to the Harlem Renaissance
Gooey Galaxy: Practicing the art of speed painting
Eyes: A painting that somehow emerged out of multiple painting disasters…I really like how the sharp lines create a layer effect.

II.Logistical Use of Tape Lines

Creating Large Fade Effects

Nothing Is Everything All At Once Stage #1: I used the tape to section off regions of the fading colors so that I could create a reverse mirror of the fade pattern.

Creating Rocks

Using the tape lines to help focus speed painting sessions

60 minutes, 24″ x 36″

III. Conceptual Use of Tape Lines

I’ve been exploring the idea of twisting matter and space. The tape line acts as a filter to seperate two different universes which are being twisted together. Along the lines of this, I’ve also been thinking about light as it interacts with surrounding matter. Much of this is inspired by the physics of optics, lasers, and light. I’ve taken  several collage level physics courses, but will have to review a bit more on the equations that describe the behaviour of light before I can continue any more of this work.

Refraction Dance: Exploring the bending of light
Twisted Filters WIP

Conclusion: This project has led to an overflow of ideas! It must be time to slow down on the painting so I can think and plan before I get too far down this one track.

Ideas & notes for the future: 

  • Using tape lines in the background of connective tissue paintings
  • Experimenting with different geometric patterns and effects
  • Using tape lines to further explore lenses, refraction, and the the bending of light
  • Using the tape lines to create a small world inside a big world
  • Work towards understanding how the lines help me stay stay within a specified space: I always run out of space on the canvas so creating a smaller work field should help me avoid sharp cropping of the image