I watch a bit of the DVD and then copy the technique, trying to get some of the same great looks Nick gets. I haven't been very successful yet. That technique of waiting until the paper is dry except for the valleys where paint is still wet and then spraying off the paint in a forceful spray isn't quite working for me - it's all in the timing and I either get impatient and do it too soon, or forget about it for over and hour and it's too late.
If you've never tried the fluid acrylics, I think this DVD will take some of the fear out of them for watercolorists who like to know something "bad" can be lifted off. I am enjoying the fluid acrylics now - not being too keen on them my first few experiences - and am looking forward to the Nick Simmons workshop I'll be attending in the Dayton, OH area next week!
Anyway, here's where I am so far while waiting for another layer to dry completely before moving on and taking another photo.
1. I masked off the edges, running a thin bead of masking fluid (Pebeo Drawing Gum) around the edge of the tape where it meets the paper. Nick says this keeps the paint from running under the taped edges, leaving you a nice, clean edge.
2. I drew my koi (using photos taken on a visit to St. Louis) and seaweed/leaves on the paper.
3. I wet the back and front of the paper until it was soaking and then began by pouring Raw Sienna mixed with water in a cup onto the paper, tilting and moving it around on it's own (no brush touches the paper yet).
4. While the paper is still wet wet wet, I poured on Phthalo Blue mixed with water in a cup onto the paper at the bottom edge, tilting and moving it around and letting the colors blend.
This is the way Nick begins but he's using thicker bodied acrylics at this point so his colors are darker - and I may have thinned my fluid acrylics down too much but it's better to be lighter than too dark at this point.
So...two pours of two different colors.
5. While the paper is still wet (it's wet almost all the time you're working it), I poured a bit of Quinacridone Gold mixed with just a bit of water in a cup onto the top portion, letting it run and tilting the paper to blend it.
6. When this was almost dry, I put in touches of Quin Gold or Raw Sienna here and there and spritzed it out so no hard edges.
I'm just following the DVD as Nick does it. But his looks so much better at this stage than mine! Guess that's why he's giving the workshop - not me?!?
It's a messy process so I have a large pan at my feet that catches the drips as I tilt the paper and let the paint run off - and I have a nice towel to wipe up all the extra (except the part that gets on the backs my forearms! ha ha)
When this stage is almost dry - about 75% dry, according to Nick - which means it's dry except for some of the areas that were puddles when you put the paper down - then you create blossoms by dropping in clean water. It works pretty well if you catch it when it's not too dry and doesn't have a sheen on the paper (meaning it's still wet). Working this wet-in-wet over and over again really saturates your paper and it's a damp, rainy day here so gauging the drying time is a bit tricky. And once the water drops have dried a bit - but not 100% - you take a strong spray bottle and spritz off some of the paint that hasn't dried, creating that "batik" look of the thing. This is the hardest part for me to get right and so far, I haven't done it right. But that's what practice is all about.