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Tag Archives: salt and watercolor

This painting was both tedious and FUN!!! Our Watercolor Plus class worked with wax resist this week.  This class is studying many of the different things that an artist can do with watercolor. We discussed wax resist, sgrafitto (scratching into the painting and salt effects). I drew the scene in graphite, first. Next I pulled out a box of crayons and went to work with yellows, reds and orange crayons. Yes, we used regular old crayons. You can also use candles in various sizes to rub wax on your paper.  This crayoning is the most tedious as you really have to use elbow grease as you apply the color.  Err on the side of applying too much. I always lose some of the wax under the pigment. The other thing to watch out for is that color and value needs to be considered. The artist must paint with either a darker value or a complimentary color to the wax in order for it to show up.  Once the wax is on, the remainder of the painting is painted as a watercolor much like one that does not include the wax.  The trees blackish gray color was achieved with a mixture of violet, june bug, and earthen green pigments. I then dropped salt into them for the textured effect.

This scene is from the corner near the property where I have been painting. I really liked the colors and the broken down gate.

Love this dog! I was recently asked to try and paint Penelope. When I received a picture of her to use as a reference, all I could think was, “How am I going to get the freckled or brindled look to her?”.  The next thought was,” I have tried neutral tones before and struggled, here!” I had a horrible time trying to figure out other colors that went with them and still allowed the image to stand out. I was also asked to add a paw because Penelope often lays with her paws crossed but her owner was not able to get her to cross her paws when she took the reference photo. The longer paw in the left lower quadrant was in the photo. The right paw was added.

First issue was placement and the paw. I  scanned the reference photo and saved it to my computer and flipped it in photo shop and tried a drawing with both paws the same as the one in the lower left quadrant and that looked awful and really distorted as I learned I would need to take into consideration her ear on the added paw side as well as her cheek and jowls. Sooooo to make a longstory short I drew separate sequences of paws and crossed my own little dog’s paws (poor Lucy) to see how she might look in various crossed paw configurations. The above result was what I went with because it looked the most believable.

I decided that I might be able to achieve a freckled look to the dog’s face by using salt. I have used it successfully, before, in paintings.

That worked for the texture and speckled look, but I had to paint a little, drop salt, paint some more, drop salt and constantly keep my eye on what it was producing while still wet so I could make any corrections that might be necessary before it dried. As I worked, I began to notice a flat quality with the neutral colors I was using so I mixed in blues, rose and some medium greens and that gave them a rather bold look instead of the flat look I was getting. I worked the dog and the blanket together before starting the background. I learned from my highland cow experience that too much color for the background would bury this neutral image so I went with a light green and yellow look to keep her image prominent. I textured the blanket by re-wetting the folds ( after the initial layers of color had dried ) one at a time, and dabbing each wet fold with a textured paper towel. The last thing I did was go back into the dogs face and ears and reaccentuate the darks with van dyke brown and some winsor green.

I learned a lot from painting Penelope’s portrait and I thank her owner for offering me the opportunity to paint her!