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Posts Tagged ‘Watercolor tricks’

Art Tools

Here are some more items in my bag of tricks.  Working down through the horizontals:  a large comb for making streaky marks*.  I also use a small, rat tail comb; a tooth brush for spattering wet paint; tongue compressors—I can’t recall where in the world I got those things but they are great for measuring and marking on those rare occasions when I use a pencil; a candle for creating areas of wax resist; a defunct credit card for scratching lines—making streaky grasses, etc; a knitting needle for making branches; and a jar lid mainly for making moons.  I have several different size jar lids.

The verticals are craft Q tips of which I found hundreds—I think a lifetime supply—at a church rummage sale years ago, and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser which rubs out areas of paint for various effects.

Not pictured are masking tape for masking out trees or buildings in order to preserve the white paper while painting a background, facial tissue for dabbing out clouds in a wet sky wash, and probably some other odds and ends which momentarily escape me.

I have always been a pack rat (albeit a very well organized one) and it’s so much fun to have an ongoing excuse for packing stuff in!  Fortunately, I grew up with parents who let me have my own bit of Heaven in my childhood bedroom (probably because I was compulsively tidy); and for nearly 64 years I’ve been blessed with a husband who also enjoys being a pack rat.  It could be disastrous if we disagreed on what is important in life! 🙂  MLB

*One of my favorite artists whose books and DVDs I treasure, British artist Shirley Trevena, introduced me to the comb streaking trick.  Shirley’s still life watercolors are intriguing.  Shirley says what she aims for is “an incredibly messy painting with lots of drips and blobs”, and she demonstrates how she “destroys” a painting—often with a comb streaked through wet paint, blurring the colors.  Shirley’s “incredibly messy”, “destroyed” paintings are gorgeous—whereas when I try her tricks the results are often simply incredibly messy and destroyed.  Good grief!!!

Anyway, for a treat you can GOOGLE “Shirley Trevena, artist”.  You won’t be disappointed!  🙂

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Lands Beyond

It took me about 5 years to come up with this one:  another way to be sure of creating painterly edges. 

For starters, you will see blurs around the trees.  These were formed first by charging wet paint onto the clean, wet Arches 140 lb. cold press paper.  Then I washed in the sky and rolled a wad of facial tissue (without lotion) over the blue.  The trees (or whatever they are beyond the sky) were achieved by dropping more color on the wet surface.  I dabbed in the flower type thingies in the foreground, and outlined the tree trunks with a knitting needle.  Finally I filled blank areas with yellow. 

Okay, but not okay.  I felt there was still a harsh, cut and dried look to the painting.  So I ended with my new trick—new to me, that is.  I’m certain that many others have done this trick, but I’m delighted to say I “happened” on it by myself.  Rather than waiting for the painting to dry before wetting the back of it and weighting it face down between paper towels, I ran water over both the front and back and then weighted it.  Additional edges got fuzzy in the process, colors ran into one another, and the paper toweling blotted the diffusing paint.  Voila!  A painterly painting!

Many of my past renderings turned out to be bla/bla/bla to my eyes, due to boring concise edges.  A chair, a table, a bowl of fruit—so what else is new?  Or mountains that looked like paper dolls.  No thank you!  Recently, I’ve recycled some of my former duds, by using the wet surface trick and it seldom disappoints me!

Again and again, I see proof of what my favorite watercolorist artists claim to be true in their experience:  that the medium is the artist.  With a minimum of manipulation, paint and water do their own thing far more beautifully than I could ever dream of doing!  🙂

Margaret L. Been, ©2013

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