by Nancy Longmate
The above two paintings are Nancy’s and my third attempt with splatter painting.
We are adding more color even though we begin these with a monochromatic study in payne’s gray. I think I’d like to try one in sepia some time, too. Carol King has been helping us with this via emails since she took the workshop with Tim Saternow. She has also sent me links to his article in “American Artist Watercolor” (Winter 2012) and several other links of artists who use similar techniques. I think a watercolor artist can probably adapt this technique to how he or she likes to work. The splatter and drips ( if you tilt your board) add something spontaneous and fun to work with. The value study sets the tone.
I promised to post my steps on this post, so here are the steps to the Herschell Carousel. Thank you Wet Canvas for the reference image!
First, I do a detailed drawing and use liquid frisket to save any little white areas.
I, then, paint a value study of the reference in Payne’s gray. This could be done in neutral tint or sepia, also. I would think the color you would use for this phase would have to be considered a dark color in order to get strong value changes. Tim stated, in his article, that he applies his pigment in thick impasto in the darkest areas. I’ll have to try that sometime. I have not applied it that thick, as yet.
Next, splatter with clear water. I use a two inch flat and load it with water. With the painting laying on the floor, I stand above it and drip the water over it copiously. On this one, I tinted the water a bit with Payne”s gray and also tilted the board to get some drips on this phase. I let that dry completely.
Then I chose a warm and a cool color and splattered the entire painting with these two colors. Some artists pour the color over the painting and tilt the board to get a drip effect. After this, my darks had washed out some and I repainted many of them. I chose the colors Halloween Orange and Phthalocyanine Blue for my splatter colors. I wanted more color due to the subject material.
Then I began adding color. I decided to put more color into this painting than my previous two. I thought the subject called for it. I had also taken time to view quite a few paintings by artists using this technique and saw that some of theirs had more color in them and that Tim had made mention that he allows the subject material and what is happening on the paper to guide him in how much color to use. I also removed all frisket from the painting during this phase.
I finished by lightly coloring the background items, darkening the background blacks and re- painting the darks in the foreground horse. With this painting, I splattered more blue and orange at the very end.