Friday, October 31, 2014


Class Tuesday consisted of just one student - so she got personalized attention and seemed to enjoy it and get more done!  

And she learned a bit about the difference between transparent and opaque pigments and how to test them:  

Take a black marker (permanent, waterproof), and make a line down your watercolor paper.  Mix your color/pigment with water and paint a swatch over the line.  If the color dries and you can see the black marker line perfectly = transparent color.  If the color dries and you can see the pigment cloudy or chalky over the black marker line = opaque.  She tested several yellows and blues, and a few reds to choose her primary colors for her first pours.

I painted more on my berries and leaves after she left, but they are looking stiff to me.  Not very pretty and, at this point, I think I would have to go in with fluid acrylic to get the berries to pop.  Probably won't do more to it, though.



Wednesday, October 29, 2014


He's coming along.  
I still need to soften a few edges.  What do you think?  Putting the acrylic matte medium on the watercolor paper (140# hot press) makes it sturdier, heavier and more stiff - but you can wipe back your colors if you don't like them (or if you lose your whites and want to lift more).  I can see the pros of this technique.  

But I would still, for myself, want to learn to leave those whites on pure watercolor paper without resorting to gesso or matte medium on the watercolor paper - although I do like the textured look you can't get on pure watercolor paper - perhaps I'll work on some hot press alone and see how that works out to get some texture...always trying to find the perfect fit for myself.  Plus it's always fun to try new things, see what they offer you, and either use them or move one.  

The image is stronger when I crop it to focus on the eye and just a hint of the bridle...may do that if I ever mat and frame this one.  What do you think?

Monday, October 27, 2014


I found an old photo of a white horse taken during a trip to Shaker Village in Kentucky for my reference.  And began the painting with the background blues and then the bridle.  I like the way it separated and created some nice texture on the bridle.  Using just a pale wash of raw sienna + cobalt blue for the greys in the horse for now.  (The blue bled into the white at the bottom right edge - the nose should be coming outwards here, not in - will fix that).

Here is a closer look to see how the watercolor acts over the matte medium.

I will paint a bit more on this to finish it and get that eye really dark and shiny.

So far, I'm not noticing any difference in this technique than when you put white gesso over the watercolor paper and then paint in that = easy to lift and some texture on the paper and it does make the paper heavier (I used Arches hotpress 140#).  Except the white gesso does leave a chalky look and this doesn't.  As with all these techniques, they've all been done, I'm sure - and are just ways to make it easier to paint in watercolor because with them you can lift back to white (if you use nonstaining pigments).  I don't think I could get that look to the bridle by just painting straight watercolor on plain watercolor paper, though - maybe if I used hotpress?

Back to the poured paintings in class tomorrow.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


While reading the latest Watercolor Artist magazine, I came across this artist, Kitty Burris Schachter.  

She covers her watercolor paper (hot press) with acrylic matte medium before painting watercolor on it.  I got a sheet prepared with matte medium and will see how this works.  Now to choose something to paint on it.

I have a feeling that it creates a smooth surface from which she can easily lift color (she also says she uses nonstaining colors in order to do this).

Isn't that a lovely white horse?

You can find her webpage here, if you're interested in seeing more of her work.  

This is what she says in the article.

I'll let you know when I choose something to paint on this - I guess it should have lots of whites and lights (so not a crow!).

Thursday, October 23, 2014


This one is done.  Just darkened a bit around and under the dolphins.  They look a bit too cute, but that's okay - you get the idea.

This one is going to take a lot of time and patience to get it looking right and figure out how much whites to show, how much more greens, leaves and berries to get it to work.

The drizzled and sprayed masking fluid is what causes the organic, viney look of the whites left white so far.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I poured two layers of color on the dolphin painting and then removed the masking fluid.  To finish, I'll darken a bit underneath the dolphins and in the lower part of the painting and call it done.  Only three colors used = Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Turquoise, Cerulean Blue
I left a lot of white and flipped color on from a round brush to get the diagonal shapes of color here and there.

In this next one, I poured and dizzled and sprayed the Pebeo Drawing Gum all around the paper, then chose something to draw on the paper = American Beautyberries and leaves with vines.  Drawing on and some things to paint from here (won't do more pouring on this one.  (All of the grey color is the masking fluid still on the painting - which I won't remove until I paint in the leaves and berries.)

The students will be back next Tuesday to work on their paintings.  Since we only meet for 2 hours at a time, this will probably will take them 3 weeks from start to finish.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


The Newport Aquarium (yep, it's in Newport, KY), has given the local folks a real treat - the famous Weekie Watchie (FL) mermaids came for a visit.  They spent 2 weekends and a full week entertaining and amazing the people who came to see them.  Sweetie and I went on Columbus Day (Monday) and it was packed with parents and little girls, many of them holding their own mermaid dolls - wide-eyed and amazed at the lovely mermaids swimming in the Coral Reef exhibit.

Here are some photos Sweetie took of the lovely mermaids of Weekie Watchie Springs in Florida.  He says he and his brother saw them when he was about fifteen years old. 

They were in a tank that has stingrays and other fish in it so even some of the critters were curious!

This little fellow was thrilled and I know he wanted her to pick him up but couldn't figure out how to get that glass out of the way!

Six different mermaids came to entertain the OH and KY visitors.

Besides the mermaids swimming in the tank, a mermaid was high and dry, waiting for people to have their photos taken with her.  

Since they are down there for 1/2 hour, they have their own breathing tube to use, as needed.

I like that blue tail - wonder if I should get a mermaid costume for Halloween? ha ha)

Although the Coral Reef tank is not really big, they did go from side to side over the "tube" people can walk under and they did a few flips now and again.

Friday, October 17, 2014


I got everything together over the weekend in order to show my students how to do a poured watercolor painting in Tuesday's class.  And, as usual, forgot to take a photo of the work the students were doing!  But here is what I shared with them:

1.  The first poured painting I did in a class long long ago was too pale so I showed them how you could go back in and darken using your usual techniques with watercolor pigments, water, and your brushes.  I darkened this a lot.  And then didn't like that I didn't leave whites like I should, so put white gouache on some areas.  Won't do anything with this (it was the teacher's photo, not mine, and I don't like it much, anyway!), but it did show them they don't have to worry about getting those deep darks in until the end (less pressure for them as they do their pours).

2.  Another beginning (they already saw the finished statue painting and liked it), using simple shapes of 3 dolphins.  Won't do anything more with this when it's finished because the design belongs to an old blogger Yahoo groups friend, who once sent me a card like this.  This idea showed the students that they don't always have to use the three primary colors of yellow, red and blue, but can choose a variety of color combinations for their poured paintings.

3.  And another beginning, showing the students that you can just do your pour and drizzle the masking fluid (pushing it with a sprayer of clean water) in an organic way before even thinking about your drawing or what you want to do.  This one looks to viney that I will probably do berries and leaves and vines on this one.

As with any technique, you can experiment, choose what you want to do, pick your colors to suit yourself, etc. ---- it's your painting!

Things besides art kept me busy Wednesday and Thursday, and today I have to read and enjoy my latest Watercolor Artist magazine...

So maybe some painting done this weekend?

Monday, October 13, 2014


After the India Ink dries completely, you take a sprayer and wash everything off - the ink and the white gouache.  You can do this outside with a garden hose, under the sink with the kitchen sink sprayer, or in a tub of water (which you have to change about 3 times because it gets grey and yucky pretty fast).  Any way you choose, wash off all the ink and gouache you want, leaving some ink behind (or a lot, depending on your preference).

And then you have this.
The white gouache has allowed the white of the paper to show through and the India Ink has gone into all the areas you left without gouache, making a nice print-like painting.  (I used Daler Rowney white gouache on this one, something I had leftover in a tube; and the white after everything was washed off was a dull greyed color - so I think Winsor Newton gouache gives the best result if you want your whites to be clean and bright before putting color on at the end.)

At this point, you can leave it like this, or go back with your watercolors and paint in some color.  (You want to make sure the paper is dry before painting on it and that may take a while since you're using 300# paper and it's pretty soaked after washing off all the gouache and ink.  So I'd give it another 4-5 hours to dry.)

When my paper was dry, I went back with my watercolors and gave the goldfinch some color, even in the background area (a pale wash of brown from a mix of 3 primary colors).

I hope you enjoyed the demo and will give this a try.  It's really easy.  It just takes time for each layer to dry.  If you don't like waiting, you could work on 2-3 of these at a time.