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Tag Archives: liquid frisket


The above portrait is one of the most fun paintings I have done in a while. I worked mostly light to dark and wet to dry to paint the entire image.


I began by doing a line drawing assisted by the use of crosshairs like I described in this post, previously. Prior to painting, erase the crosshairs.


I then used liquid frisket to save the highlights in the eyes, nose, chin and on the dog’s nails. I painted the undercoat of the bars a rusty red, waited for it to dry and frisketed many areas of them so the rust marks would show in the finished painting. I painted the light colored boards on the stall to the left and then used wet-in-wet applications to define the texture of the sawdust on the stall floor.


I painted the blues and reds of the stall boards wet-in- wet. I washed in some of the colors of the doberman trying to retain the light that hit the front part of his muzzle as well as defined the rounded forms of his face. I applied the first washes to his eyes.


I finished the dog’s head, began the paw on the left and pads on the right paw.  I spent a lot of time defining the nose. I began with wet-in-wet applications of color on the nose and finished with darker colors wet on dry. I knew I wanted the nose and paws to have more definition because they were the closest forms to the viewer. I also painted the wood grain on the bottom of the painting with the use of the edge of a flat brush and applying the pigment wet on dry. I also worked on darkening the eye and defining it furthur.


I finished the dog’s paws, painting wet-in-wet, first, and then detailing wet on dry with a tiny brush. I darkened or shadowed the background walls of the stall with a lightened wash of sepia and defined the stall ledge with blues I had used on the background. I strengthened and deepened the color of the dog’s head by scumbling more of the same oranges, yellows and browns into him. This furthur defined his forms and shape and gave him more of a 3-D look.


I used a combination of prussian blue, violet and neutral tint to paint the blacks on the stall bars and waited for that to dry. I painted a thin shadow under the metal strip running across the painting at the bottom.


In this step I erased all the frisket with a “rubber pick up”. The rubber pick up looks like a square eraser and can be found in most art supply stores for the purpose of lifting the frisket from watercolors.

dobieinstall  finished painting

To finish the painting I got rid of the stark hard edges from the frisket on the bars by running a wet brush over them, several times, until the colors blended more and the edges softened. This drags some of the blackened colors into the lighter reds and yellows and softens that frisketed look. I then painted a shadow under the upper eyelid of the right eye on the dog and painted his whiskers in with a rigger brush. I darkened the highlight on the bar to the right of the dog’s head with some copper kettle and raw sienna. I added some soft blue to the underside of the dog’s eye to soften the prominent highlight there on his face. I touched up the detailing on the nose and his nails, darkened his chin and called it finished.

I thank Caron Steinmetz from Paint My Photo for the photo reference for this painting.

Carol King asked a very good question in the comment section about what kind of frisket I use and how I apply it.


Above is a photo of the supplies I often use. Left to right is a natural rubber pick up, Incredible White Mask, Pebeo Drawing Gum, jar of brush cleaning soap and a 2/0 liner brush.

I dampen the surface of the brush cleaning soap by spritzing it a couple of times with my squirt bottle. I wet my liner brush in the water glass and then swish it in the brush cleaner a couple times (I do not coat it thickly with the soap). Coating the hairs of the brush with a gentle soap helps to keep the frisket from sticking to the hairs of the brush and damaging them. I then dip my brush in the frisket (my frisket of choice is the Pebeo Drawing Gum because it is the thinnest and the easiest I have found to work with and does not clump as quickly on the end of my brush). A close second to this frisket is the Incredible White Mask (I have also used it effectively). I then quickly paint the frisket in the areas of the painting I want to save either the white on or, in this case, the red areas of those black bars you see in the above painting. This also requires that I rinse and repeat the soaping and frisket dipping as often as needed to prevent the end of my brush getting clumped up with dried rubbery clumps of frisket. When you work with it, you will know what I mean by that. The frisket, in small amounts, on your brush, can dry rather quickly, so you constantly have to stay ahead of that occurring. Sometimes I have to stop and strip dried frisket off the end of the brush with my fingers. If you are allergic to latex, use gloves when touching this substance. The friskets I pictured, here, have latex in them. Depending on the amount of frisket you use, it takes anywhere from five to fifteen minutes to dry before you can continue painting in order to prevent smeering it. I have also used frisket to splatter a painting. It is very effective for rendering falling snow. In that case, I use a little larger round brush. Warning!  It is not effective to use liquid frisket on large areas as it will often tear the paper. The frisket tends to shrink as it dries those  and you can damage the surface when you remove it. I just save the whites of larger areas by painting around them and softening the hard edges with a damp brush. If you really need to save a large white area by masking, it is advisible to use masking paper found in most art supply stores. Always recap your bottle of frisket immediately following use or it will dry up in the bottle.  Hope this helps you get started on trying the frisket in your paintings.


The inspiration for the above painting came from several photo references. I recently suggested to my students, taking the composition class, that they could free themselves a little from the constraints of working from one photograph. I felt this would open up a new world for them to create from. We become, over time, so attached to working from one photograph that we forget that we have a wealth of information available to us from real life and our techniques we have learned from watercolor class. They were to take a landscape photo that  really liked and include a dominant tree, something man-made and something living (other than a plant); like people or animals.

I chose a photo my sister had taken in New Mexico during the winter months and it included this worn home and the large shrub -like trees on the right. I searched Wet Canvas for a photo of children and found the three placed here on the porch of the home. I chose a tree from a grouping I found in my photo reference book for artists and used a portion of it for the large tree in the foreground that overlaps this scene.

The challenge became working with the values and colors of each of my photographs, as well as their proportions. The tree in the foreground had to be enlarged for this scene and the colors changed to balance with the warm oranges and reds in the prominent bushes on the right. The children became “wee” images of the original reference I had available. I had to change their clothing colors so they would be visible and not become lost in shadows cast by the large bush-like trees on the right. I was attracted to the splats of light in this as well as the long shadows reminding me of the early morning light in late February as the days are becoming longer and the promise of spring is right around the corner. I imagined the children I had created as waiting for their school bus.

I liked that creating a painting with guidelines like this prompted me to create a story. How interesting when we take that extra step into creating with what we have at hand…..


Olly is my friend’s  husband’s dog. He is also a friend to Hailey, featured in the previous post. I really enjoyed painting these two collies. Olly is the Rough Coat Collie, like Lassie of TV fame. The one thing I had to concentrate on, throughout painting him, was that his painting may hang with the one I did of Hailey.  This is why I faced him left. That way, when they hung on the wall,  they would face each other. The other thing I had to be aware of is that they would look better if paintied in much the same style, using the same color scheme. That is why the background is the same and I approached sculpting the forms of his face similar to the way I painted Hailey. I have never attempted something like this before, so that was a learning experience.


Above is my initial drawing. I had to draw him twice. The first attempt was way off!  I had trouble with getting the length and width of his nose correct. I used cross hairs the second time and that did the trick. My perspective had been off.


Olly had white hairs running through his coat, so I frisketed those. I also frisketed the highlight in his eyes as well as the lighter areas to either side of his iris and began adding the first tentative strokes of color.


This step was largely sculpting the nose forms and studying where I would need to have lighter color under darker color. I felt a need to establish the darkness of the eye because many of the darks in Olly’s coat matched the values found in his eyes. I pinked the nose as my initial step on that and pinked the shapes on the inside of his ears. These were all the lighter colors I saw under and around the darker values I had yet to render.


In this step, I did most of my painting. I frisketed the pink dots on Olly’s nose. I darkened the areas of dark coat in the way I read the patterns. I frisketed more of the long hairs from his ears so the would show up after laying in the background. I, then painted the background in. I knew I’d need to do that so I could finish my darks in his ears and his nose and have the correct value tones. So many times, I have painted the background in, only to find I had to retouch the portrait because the background lightened the foreground dramatically. At this stage, I always know how I am going to finish a painting. I have enough information down and it is just a matter of detailing and getting the darks to read right.

Olly  finished painting

In the last step I  detailed the darks in the ears and painted in some of the white hairs that poked out from around them. I detailed the nose and mouth, darkened the darker portions of pattern in his coat, erased the frisket and worked on softening some of the edges around those frisketed patches.  I darkened the whites on either side of his iris and painted a faint shadow under the upper lid of his eye. I added the whiskers with a rigger.  The last thing I did was shadow the coat under Olly’s chin with a mixture of the blue I used for the background and a light touch of the browns I had used. I also shadowed the white patch of his coat in the lower right hand corner for balance.

A huge thank you to my friends for sending me the photos to use for reference, so I could paint these two beautiful dogs!    🙂



This is Hailey. She is a service dog of a very dear friend of mine. I have wanted to paint her for some time. Her owner was kind enough to send me multiple images of her to be able to pull this off. I was intrigued by her skeletal structure and her dignified expression. I have to admit that I had to use my piece of acrylic with the crosshairs drawn on them to get her long nose right. I kept wanting to shorten the nose on the initial attempts at drawing her. You can find out more about that drawing technique here.

Here are my steps in painting her:


I drew her with the use of the piece of acrylic with crosshairs, mentioned above. I payed careful attention to the linear forms of shadow throughout her face and ears. I knew I would need those lines, carefully placed, in order to render her contours and form accurately.


This was the longest stage of the painting for me. I worked very slowly. I used small round brushes with very light washes and worked from very light to dark. She is so lightly colored and I did not want to “botch it” and have to begin over.  The smallest brush I used was a #1 round. The largest was a #8 round. I applied liquid frisket on the highlight areas on her nose and eyes and some on that thin strip of a blaze on the bridge of her nose. I chose raw sienna, naples yellow, sepia, some burnt sienna, permanent rose, and blue stone as my colors. I made the grays with mixtures of blue stone, permanent rose and a raw sienna. The raw sienna and permanent rose were very watered down as they were added to the blue stone.


Prior to finishing the details in a painting, I usually work in the background. I know the addition of a darker background will lighten the appearance of the colors in the subject.  This gives me an opportunity to go back into the portrait and darken what I need to and refine the details. Prior to washing in the background, I frisketed Hailey’s ruff around her neck, so the texture of her hair will show up in the finished portrait. I then worked blue stone washes around Hailey’s head and into the shadows of her ruff with a #12 round. I find areas within the positive shape to include the background color  so the painting looks more balanced and not like a cut out of a dog pasted on a background. The whole time I work my washes, I make choices about what edges I will leave hard and take the time to soften all the others with a damp or thirsty brush.

Hailey  finished painting

The above step is what I call finishing and balancing. I went back into some of the yellows and darkened some of the forms and enhanced some of the contours with lightened or watered down sepia. I detailed the grays around the muzzle and defined the shadows around her ruff. While the frisket was still on, I darkened and detailed the nose and went back into the eye and darkened it and detailed the pigment of the lids. I darkened her lips, freckles and the dots for the whiskers. I removed the frisket around the eyes and nose and washed light color into some of them so they did not appear so dark. Notice difference of highlights on the nose and the highlight in the eyes. I darkened the tips and dark line around the ears. I softened the pinks in the ears with very light washes of sepia. I then removed the frisket on the ruff. I did not have to go back into that area to soften the edges. Sometimes I do have to do that. The last thing I did was add the whiskers with sepia and a small rigger.

I hope, by including my steps, there might be something you can use in your own portrait attempts.

A heartfelt thankyou to my friend for sharing this beautiful dog with me so I could paint her.


I had a blast creating this scene from a photo reference I found in a book of landscape photo references for artists. I wish I had taken time to snap pictures of the step by step for this one for all of you. I was very intrigued with the bright springlike colors of the moss hanging on the foreground tree and was able to capture that look somewhat close to how it looked in the photo. I liked the stretch of the farm lane leading back to the dense woods in the background. The sight was so peaceful, I just had to try it. I worked in large washes as I layed in the value transitions from foreground to background. The only thing I drew was the foreground tree. All the fenceposts, background forest, and small foreground trees were drybrushed in. I frisketed the hanging portions of the moss and went to town on drybrushing the little trees with a rigger and the foreground tree with a small round. Then I removed the frisket and greened in the moss and scumbled blurs of greens and raw sienna in the tree trunk and larger support branches. I stroked some white goache along the foreground tree’s large branches and dotted it on the top bumps of moss. I drybrushed the old fence posts along the lane and splattered the whole thing with a number two round brush, loaded with white acrylic, and declared it a SNOW DAY (something my kids always looked forward to!).  Hope everyone is enjoying winter!


The above painting is the one I chose to paint for an assignment in my current landscape class. The assignment was to paint a landscape with trees paying careful attention to how you handled greens as well as what techniques you might use to re-create their textures.  One could also insert a building or figure in their landscape, paying attention to its placement and form.

I used greens from my palette but mixed them with yellows, reds and magenta to calm down the garish look of brightness greens seem to produce when used alone. This has been a specific problem with greens for me. I used frisket for the dead pine tree right of center and pointillistic marks combined with wet-in-wet to render the other trees in this landscape. I was very careful to render the curvey forms of the buckskin horse, in the foreground, accurately. I tried to establish his form by painting his values correctly.  His shoulders pierce the “sweet spot” for a center of interest in the lower left quadrant so I left him as he was in the photo reference. What I was most concerned with capturing was the brilliance of light throughout this scene, both in the horse and the landscape. I am very pleased with the combinations of colors that I chose to subdue my greens and will continue to experiment with this challenge, in the future. One of the students in my class never uses greens for his foliage and trees, choosing to use combinations of blues and yellows and neutralizing that with other colors and his look great!


I posted this painting in an earlier post. It was a black and white sketch of an image that I wanted to eventually paint in color.

Since that time, we have discussed composition in our landscape class.  I realized I had not payed particular attention to where I had placed my center of interest which I wanted to be the Empire State building and the lit space that separated it from the other buildings that I took to be a street.

Knowing there are “sweet spots” located in each quadrant of my format I went back to the original reference photo and cropped it so as to place the Empire State building where I wanted it.

Image showing "sweet spots"

Image showing “sweet spots”

I divided my paper into three sections vertically and horizontally and circled where the lines crossed.  These areas are called “sweet spots” and are good places for a center of interest to be located in a painting.

The painting, in color, came out like this.


There were other considerations that went into this final painting, as well. I chose the sweet spot that ran from the lower left quadrant because the rays from the sun seemed to lead to that area and  created a rather nice pathway for the eye to follow. I was also intrigued with the long pathway of artificial light running across the dark back drop of buildings that curved around and led to the street running next to the Empire State building. The strong diagonal lines in the water in the foreground led the eye to the city, also. Prior to having studied composition, I would just select pretty photo references I wanted to paint and paint them as they were. I really had little understanding of creating a pathway for the viewer’s eye.  This is but one element of composition to consider but has made quite a difference, for me. I always examine my reference material for the best placement of a center of interest.

Other considerations for this painting were a primary color scheme and accentuating contrast (to enhance depth).

My techniques were use of liquid frisket, color washes, and using the primary colors to render black through wet-in-wet applications.

This was painted on Lanaquerelle 140 lb rough watercolor paper.

Thank you to Wet Canvas reference library for the photo used as reference for this painting.

I painted the above portrait of a Welsh Mountain Pony from a photo reference by Gary Jones from the Paint My Photo site.

I used liquid frisket to create the mane and the whiskers. I created the remainder of the portrait with a limited palette of harvest gold, prussian blue, burnt sienna, sepia and permanent rose. The twist of the neck, the shapes around her muzzle and the mane were challenges I wanted to try to capture with this portrait.



Happy New Year Everyone !

What a wonderful year of sharing with all of you, again. I enjoy this thing we call art blogging. I have viewed fantastic art and photos, read wondrous poems and stories by all of you. Thank you for enriching my life and giving me food for thought and helping me to grow.  Thank you for visiting me. Your comments have helped me to see through new eyes and most of all helped boost my confidence to continue sharing. Thank you.

The above painting was painted in much the same way as the previous one. I painted all the large light washes first; the sky and foreground. I, then, splattered frisket and painted frisket on the branches of the foreground tree and the roofs of the tiny buildings in the background. I painted more of the washes of foreground and sky so the frisket would show up. After those washes dried, I went in and used burnt sienna, halloween orange, blue stone, naples yellow and sepia to define the background trees wet in wet. After it dried, I removed the frisket.

Merry Christmas Everyone!