Compost Pile

I’m doing a new experiemental piece using red onions. I lay sliced red onions on unprimed canvas, cover it with plastic, and wait a few weeks or so until the whole thing turns moldy. During the waiting period, I hope that bugs and mildew don’t get to it. Some bugs will eat right through the cotton, and mildew leaves unsightly black marks. The end result is the imprint of the onions on the canvas in earth tones. It can be very beautiful, or not. Here’s the “before” picture:

Red Onions on Canvas

It will be several weeks before I can show you the end result.

Is it a painting if you don’t use paint? It’s on canvas like a painting, and will be stretched like a painting, but the colors come from stains, not pigments. Is that considered painting?



  1. I was just thinking how “under the house” would be a good place to keep the onions in a stable temperature, where the sun wouldn’t bleach out the results…but then I thought about how it might make the house smell – like something died under there! So what are you gonna do, stink-up the studio?

  2. No, they’re outside in the backyard. There’s no way I’m crawling under the house with the mice, opposum, snakes, spiders and whatnot. I’ll leave that to the cats.

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