Hairlock Paintings by Gale Bellew

 Featuring a Unique Fiber Art Form




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Hairlock Painting™ is an art form that I created and trademarked in 2007. It blends my years of raising llamas with my study of Sumi–e; Asian Ink Painting. Most of my work is monochromatic as is traditional with Sumi–e painting.

I begin by creating the canvases which I paint on. Using felted wool as a background, I add a layer of paper pulp leaving an edge of felt to act as a frame. The painting is done using animal fibers; locks of hair, as my paints. They are carefully placed on the canvas and adhered into place with a paste that I make at home.

A puff of air, a misguided hand stroke or a tangle in the hairs can ruin the image that I am trying to create. At the same time, a purposeful adjustment or a gesture of “splitting hairs”, can change the personality of an image instantly!

It is difficult to appreciate that the photos of painted images are created with the laying and directing of hairs into just the right spot, at just the right angle, and at just the right density to create not only the right image but the depth, movement and personality of each piece.