Wow! One of my students gifted me with one of his old watercolor books and I have been pouring through all sorts of ideas on techniques he (Valfred Thelin) suggests. I settled down to try one of them this week and had a great time! Lots of chuckling. He spoke of drawing ink sketches with a razor blade and waterproof black ink and then painting them. You put ink in a saucer or ashtray with a low rim; he suggests an ashtray as good for this. I used an old saucer. Something deeper makes a mess as you reach in to dip the blade of the razor in the ink. Then, all you do is dip the blade and begin drawing with it. I had to dip and draw a lot. Sometimes the blade would drop more ink, sometimes only a hairline.
The above drawing was my first attempt. He suggests that it is a quick way to get a subject down on paper and that the marks of the razor blade enhance any movement and adds to the interest of the subject. He uses ink to sketch people and sporting events a lot. I was not real happy with the above horse but did like the interesting marks it made. The darker marks were made by sliding the entire blade across the surface with several strokes. The thinner lines were drawn by tilting the blade and using one corner to draw with.
I drew a herd of horses and decided this was the one I would use for a painting. Thank you to wet canvas for the photo references for this. I used two different ones and combined them into one composition.
I began by laying large washes behind the horses.
I finished by painting each horse and splattering the foreground.
I will use this technique again. I like the loose and sketchy line the razor blade leaves on the paper. I do think it enhances the movement of a piece.
The book I used is titled “Watercolor: Let the Medium Do It” by Valfred Thelin with Patricia Burlin.