Ken Delmar, the Artist Who Paints on Paper Towels

Paper towel painting is a popular children’s learning activity, but American artist Ken Delmar is determined to turn it into a proper art form. For the last eight months, he has been using the flimsy kitchen disposables as canvases for detailed and vibrantly colored artworks.

71-year-old Ken Delmar has been painting most of his life, but he never imagined he would one day be exercising his artistic talents on paper towels instead of the linen canvas he normally used. The Connecticut-based artist had the epiphany one evening in early January of this year, while preparing to close his studio. He was using a paper towel to clean his brushes and knives when  he noticed the paint on the fragile paper looked more brilliant and energetic than the one he had spent so much time spreading on a regular canvas. He figured it was because the paint was being absorbed by the paper which gave it more depth and layers of richness, and started thinking of ways of ways to prevent the colors from blending into one another, or have them blend in an interesting way. He experimented with various paper towel brands and different consistency oil paints, until he found the perfect combination. The colors were astonishing and the unusual canvas made his works “edgy and different”.


To keep his artworks snappy and brave, Delmar added Weber gel to the colors he applied to the towels. The drying agent also soaked into the paper making it as permanent as any other support and paint combination. To make sure his artworks last a very long time, each painting is primed with matte Damar varnish and framed between two Plexiglas panels. Ken says this way his works should last forever.


After submitting some of his early paper towel artworks to a local art show and winning second place, Ken is currently showcasing his unique creations at Manhattan’s George Billis Gallery. The solo exhibition started on September 5th and is scheduled to run for two weeks.







See more paper towel artworks on Ken Delmar’s website.

Photos © Ken Delmar