Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Using Salt on Watercolors

I just finished teaching Adult Watercolor for the Absolute Beginner, six weeks long, two hours each week. At the last session, I showed them what would happen if they sprinkled salt on wet watercolor.
This is a technique that watercolor artists often use to get the effect of falling snow, or a starry sky or flowers in a grassy meadow. It could be used in many other ways as well. The effect that is achieved depends on how wet the watercolor is and the type of paper being used. If you decide to try this on a painting, check out the technique first on a scrap of paper of the same type you intend to paint on and note the wetness of the paper. Here is a section of the mostly yellow example where the paper was very wet.
The bit of green in the corner was a bit drier and would make a nice field sprinkled with lots of white flowers. I had some unidentified paper at home which I experimented with yesterday. I am not sure it was watercolor paper. It might have been a cheap brand. Whatever it was, it soaked up the water quickly. This is the result.
This small dark bit looks like the rough scales of a reptile or maybe the rough bark of a tree.
I like the way the texture varies in the watercolor strokes in this portion.
A few years ago I played around with salt and made a dozen or more abstracts using salt. From them I extracted bits and pieces to create this fantasy landscape.

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