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Tag Archives: splatter

A New Year brought me a new adventure, already!

I read an article about the artist, Kathleen Conover,  in my February copy of Watercolor artist, February 2012. I was so taken with her work that I decided to try this “gesso juice” mixture she spoke of to surface her paper with. The recipe for “gesso juice” is 1/2 part white acrylic gesso, 1/4 part clear acrylic matte medium and 1/4 part water.  After mixing this up, I poured some on my taped down watercolor paper and spread it with a credit card, making slashes and dashes and all kinds of shapes on the surface.

I waited for the gesso juice to dry and painted in my initial washes. The surface is very much like painting on gesso. The paint does not sink down into the surface of the paper and mingles differently on this surface. It required more pigment to achieve the above effect.  I had to paint quickly so the side-by-side colors mixed without a hard edge. I waited for the above washes to dry and the surface go flat again.

I drew my composition on the surface and began painting the varied shapes in, being mindful of my values.  This was probably the most difficult phase for me. On this surface, I found, the darks had to be painted with strong dark colors as dark lights just appeared light still, unlike painting directly onrto watercolor paper. So, I learned a lot about my palette through this exercise. I, now, am getting a better feel for their properties.  Value is all important while painting on this surface.

I finished blocking in my composition of shapes and buildings.

In this step, I changed a few colors of the buildings and lifted paint in a lot of areas to show the different patterns, especially on or around the Empire State Building. I darkened a few of the darker value areas and put in a few details on the smokestacks and the antennae on the tops of a couple buildings. I lifted out a lot of the blue on the point of the Empire State so it would show up more.

   final painting

To finish, I splattered some darks I’d used and lifted lights out around the buildings by scumbling some water in those areas and dabbing with a paper towel.

I want to do more of these and explore and explore!

This week, my class is working on something rendered with ink and watercolor. They could choose from several different techniques. The above is the one I chose.  I drew the above elephant in graphite, first, and then went back in with india ink and nib, like what is used for calligraphy, and traced over my drawn lines. About every three lines (before the ink dried), I spritzed that area with water (not a squirt but a “spritz”). This causes the ink to creep out into the texture of the paper creating the feathering you see around every line. This does not work on hotpress paper. It requires the use of coldpress and rough papers as their texture is what causes this creeping of ink.  The process is slow and somewhat tedious, but the results are well worth the extra effort.  I usually splatter the surface with some frisket, before I begin, to add some texture and extra effects. I also splattered with some ink to provide more texture. I wait for this to dry completely before painting.

The above is what I came up with.

Other examples of this technique are here and here.

I have always wanted to try a wave crashing along a rocky shoreline. I found the reference photo for this painting on the Wet Canvas site for artists and stashed it away for awhile, intimidated by the abstract quality of it.  Everything was pretty much like painting any other painting as long as I was mindful of the values. The splatter was added, first by tapping a #4 round loaded with titanium white around the crest of the wave and then rubbing the bristles of a toothbrush in some creamy titanium white and aiming it at the wave and drawing my thumb back across the bristles (creamy white consistency or it will drip) like pictured below:

Be sure to place paper over the areas of the painting that you don’t want spattered.

Yes. I am becoming more comfortable using white watercolor in my paintings. The more I read, the more I see it documented. There is nothing that compares with the glow of white paper showing through but, sometimes, using white enhances certain paintings. Some rules I follow when using white are:

1. I use a different waterglass to rinse my white brush in. It is so opaque that it can contaminate other colors.

2. I usually use it towards the end of a painting as it bleeds into other colors and lightens them more than is desirable

3. I only use it in paintings where I want an opaque white appearance or can’t determine how to save the white of the paper.