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by Nancy Longmate



I am bound and determined to learn the technique that Carol King shared on her blog post here. She learned this technique in a workshop she took from Tim Saternow.

The above two paintings are the result of my friend, Nancy Longmate, and my first attempts. It did not go so well.  She feels like she did not splatter enough and I feel as though I splattered too dark and could not soften the splatters down enough.  We refuse to give up. We both have our second attempts started and will post them when they are done.

Meanwhile, I’ll talk you through the steps I did on this one.



We were to create a monochromatic painting in the first step. I used payne’s grey. You can use any color you wish for this phase. Make sure it gets dark enough to explore all value ranges.



Once the painting is dry, drip copious amounts of water with a two inch flat brush onto the surface of the monochromatic study and allow it to dry.  I placed the painting on the floor and dripped onto the surface while standing above it.



The third step is to drip a diluted warm color and a diluted cool color onto the surface of the painting. I chose burnt sienna and payne’s grey I think it would have been best if I stopped here with the dripping. The drips would have read better had I diluted the colors more, too.  This is a bit dark for the splatter phase. I’m guessing!  Anyway, I made the mistake of splattering again.  I did this by standing above the painting and dripping the colors with a two inch flat brush. Nancy felt she did not splatter enough.



This is what it looked like before I began the finishing process. Like I said, I think I splattered too dark and should have diluted my warm and cool colors more.



After the splattered painting dries, begin to add some cool and warm colors and soften the drips where it is needed. The above painting is what I came up with.

I will be doing more of these. I think it is an excellent way to practice value study. It also satisfies my interest in being able to create something beyond copying a photo reference. It made me think about how much white space to leave and how I wanted to design the white space. Nothing more intimidating than splattering a tidy and clean monochromatic study. I like the energy, movement and depth it seems to add to the piece.  Carol kept reminding me that these paintings really can’t be ruined. I think she is right about that. It just opens a whole new set of challenges and suggests something new.

I will post my future attempts with this technique.

Thank you to Ahmed Farahat and his photo I used for reference from Paint My Photo.





This is an example of what a goauche resist looks like before I paint into it. I took this one beyond and became very intricate in my drawing like some of the resists I’ve done of race horses. I waited some time before painting into this one because I liked the original black and white resist. My mind still argues with me as to whether I should have added color. I even almost threw this one away because I became so frustrated with it.  There was so much gray scale to this one that, when I added the watercolor, I could not see the image any farthur back than about six feet and that bothered me. Then, I said to myself , “go back in with white for the shack and see if you can pop it some”. That worked. It brightened up the colors I’d chosen and popped the image of the shack enough that it gave it an eerie time of day, maybe dusk. Sometimes it is just practicing enough with your techniques to bring something around.  There are many artists who resort to other mediums,  like collage and pastels, to bring something back to life. Sometimes it is better not to give up.  Sometimes you just have to walk away and move on. This time, I think it worked to change the plan.






The above two paintings were created by using a gouache resist technique that I teach in my watercolor plus class. If you would like to try one, I have a tutorial on this technique here.

Both paintings were created with the use of one photo reference from wet canvas. It never ceases to amaze me, the amount of variation that can occur during multiple repeats of the same reference by the same artist. I think that is one of the reasons I am so drawn to fine art painting. What was the artist thinking? What was the artist trying to share? What was the artist seeing? Try as I might, I can not make a second painting of the same subject look just like the first one. Things change. I either see new things in the reference material or feel differently the second time through.

Every once in awhile I will give my students the same reference to work from and  they all look so different! Some choose to paint only a portion of the reference.  Their color choices always vary.  Their drawing styles and techniques are different.

For me?  Reading a painting is just like reading a book. There is always a hidden story about their creator in them. Creativity is a wonderful thing!

Cindy Guzik watercolor and ink

Cindy Guzik
watercolor and ink


Nancy Longmate wax resist

Nancy Longmate
wax resist


Dorette Hess citrasolv collage and watercolor

Dorette Hess
citrasolv collage and watercolor


Judy Notestine gouache resist,collage and watercolor

Judy Notestine
gouache resist,collage and watercolor

The above paintings are examples of what the artists in my Watercolor Plus class created.  Watercolor Plus is a nice class to end our yearly sessions with.  They created using watercolor and ink, wax, tape and gouache resists, citrasolv collage and watercolor, and gesso juice surface and watercolor and watercolor and pastel.  If you would like to see more examples of their creations. you can view them by clicking here.

Thank you to all the artists who take my classes and continue to share your creations on the student art page.



OK, I’m going to send you to a few places if you want to go and explore this citrasolv use in art. I love it!  It was first introduced to me by Carol King on her post here. She is the one who gets the blame for why my garage smells like this cleaning agent about three times each year when I go to work making colored papers from National Geographic photos. I explain the process of how to make these papers here.  If you really want to know all the neat things that can be done with Citrasolv and view a huge artist gallery of art created from them, you can visit this site provided by the Citrasolv company here.

My students just shared their creations this week. They each used these wonderful papers in their own creations. There will be a few of them shared on in their student gallery I post in a few weeks. Thank you to wet canvas reference library for the reference image for this handsome turtle. It was not named in the photo, but one of my students looked him up and found this. He is a red-slider turtle. I have also done two collages, without paint,  here and here. When I use them this way, I call it drawing with paper.  I never set aside time to keep one of these going on the side. Maybe I should start doing that this summer. They are time consuming, but so worth it!




The scene, above, is a view of a private pond north of where I live. The owners have been kind enough to allow me to take photos of and paint scenes from their property.

In class, right now, my students are creating paintings in watercolor on different surfaces or incorporating different mediums. We do something different each week. Week before last was the crayon resist. This week we painted something on a surface that we prepared with “gesso juice”. I wrote a post about how to prepare the surface of your paper here. I actually added sand to the gesso when preparing this surface. If you enlarge the above painting, you can see evidence of the sand in that large tree trunk on the left.

This surface is very FREEING. It is not as slippery as Yupo, so it is easier to apply the pigment. You also have the ability to lift color and to play around in the image. I always spray these with acrylic matte fixative when I’m done. Otherwise, a drop of water could do damage.


The above painting was created with the use of regular Crayola crayons and watercolor.


After drawing the subject, I applied crayon where I thought it was needed. The reference photo does not show all the places I applied the white crayon. The white was the most difficult part of this painting because it is not visible against the white of the watercolor paper once it is applied. I was able to tilt the board this way and that, under a light, and see some of it, but had to remember where I had gone with it while I worked it in. For this reason, I worked the whites into the surface in one sitting working from the left side of the page to the right so I could remember where I had applied it. I was able to use colored crayons on the flowers of the vase portion because the base color of the vase was an off white. Crayon applications will be most visible if they are a contrasting value or color to the watercolors you use around them.  The wax of the crayons resist the watery applications of watercolor.  Also, make sure you apply the crayon to the surface with a lot of pressure. Light applications of the wax crayon does not show up as well because it does not lend enough resistance for the watercolor to slide off its surface. The crayon lays on the top bumps of your textured coldpress watercolor paper ( even more so with rough watercolor paper). This effect helps to add texture to your finished painting.



In the next steps, I painted the flowers and vase and few petals laying at the base. All the speckled whites in the petals of the flowers and strands of spiky grass-like stems are where I had applied crayon.


This is the first application of my background. It sort of set the pattern of what I wanted to happen and I waited for it to dry before the final application of color.

orangeflw   finished painting

In this final step, I darkened the background and the shaded side of the vase to pop the flowers forward and accentuate the light.

I use crayon resist in a lot of my watercolor paintings to accentuate little light spots sparkling off the edges of things, especially if I want it to appear textured.

My students created their paintings for this week using wax resist,  tape resist or both for this week’s assignment. It is a handy technique to have when faced with needing to save whites or add texture to a watercolor.

Thank you to Wet Canvas for the photo reference for this piece.



The above painting was a result of an accident. I was just working away at creating another abstract using rice paper and watercolor. I was paying attention to my color choices, values and areas of interest and not trying to come to much of anything of an image. In fact the image I was working on was this one:



I took it outdoors in the sunlight and photographed it. I had already planned to title it “Torque”. It looked twisted and sort of like a landscape in turmoil from wind or avalanche or fire.  So much of this that we hear on the news.When I came back in from doing that, I set it, turned a quarter of the way around, quite by accident. When I turned to look at it, I saw this:



Immediately I saw the figure in it and the guitar, the hooded jacket or sweatshirt he was wearing.  How exciting. The whole time I’m telling myself, “Don’t ruin him.”  I like this idea of working with the elements of composition and arriving at something new. It is as though the mediums and the artist come together and work together, one influencing the other. It is so much more fun!

I put a few finishing touches to it and called this done:



Alan Clayton

Alan Clayton

Mary Smierciak3

Mary Smierciak3

Cindy Guzik3

Cindy Guzik3

The above three paintings were created in the Exploring watercolor class, this spring. They worked on the basic skills and techniques from learning the different brushstrokes, some basic techniques (wax resist, salt, sponging) and basic color theory. They created paintings of foliage and trees, little people, buildings, and a scene that was backlit.

Leslie Vrchota3 Masa Paper

Leslie Vrchota3 Masa Paper

Sue Mendenhall3 Abstract Rice Paper

Sue Mendenhall3 Abstract Rice Paper Collage

Jan Reche3 Realism Rice Paper Collage

Jan Reche3 Realism Rice Paper Collage

These last three paintings were created in the Watercolor Masa and Rice Paper Collage.  We spent the first two weeks learning how to tone, affix and paint on masa paper. The last four weeks were spent on learning how to use rice paper collage in our watercolor paintings. I think it is one of the most difficult techniques to learn and everyone did great.  They began by creating abstract rice paper and watercolor collages and gradually moved through them into incorporating collage into realistic images.

More student paintings from these classes may be viewed by clicking here or clicking on Student Art: Spring Classes in the pages bar at the top of the blog.

Thank you to all my students for sharing your work here.



The above painting was created from a crop of a photo reference from wet canvas. It cracked me up when I noticed the satellite dish on the roof of the cottage. Just had to crop and paint. I imagined that the fish were caught and cleaned, the wash done and it was time for their favorite show!

This was fun to paint. It is small (9″x 7.75″). I gave myself a two hour block of time, scribbled a few guidelines on the format and painted, wet-in-wet, mostly.



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