Friday, December 11, 2015

Masking Tips and Tricks For Watercolor Still-Life Paintings

Ten years ago, I absolutely was terrified of watercolors. They were so permanent. And I was so impulsive. These two forces contrasted into terrible, overworked, muddy messes.

But then, over the past couple of years, something happened. I became less impulsive and started to work on trusting myself. I went back to basics and did the very thing my first and greatest teacher told me to do. I was four years old.

"How do you draw, daddy?"

"Well..." he looked at me with a light in his eyes and placed an orange-flavored Tang bottle in front of me along with a piece of computer paper and a pencil. 

"Draw exactly what you see," he instructed. And that I did.

When we see truth without filters, creativity becomes natural.
My family was astounded to see I drew not just the outline of the bottle, but the label, the different parts to the lid and every detail I could see. To me, it was like putting together a puzzle and I was completely immersed in it for two hours. The fact that it impressed my dad made me so happy because I was in awe of the two paintings I saw of his. To me, he was the most amazing artist alive.

Draw exactly what you see. Those words still echo in my mind every time I draw or paint.

So I did it again, but this time with a watercolor.

And I used a simple process called masking.

If you're a watercolor artist and haven't tried it, then it is something you must try, asap.

Masking fluid allows you to create different textures in specific areas of your painting. It also allows you to create dramatic highlights and effects you wouldn't normally be able to achieve without it. It basically makes the process much easier and keeps you from fighting against the forces of nature. I happen to use Windsor & Newton Masking Fluid.

We all know by wetting watercolor paper, the paint will run. This can be either a blessing or a curse, depending on what you're trying to do.

Masking turns running colors into a blessing. If you use masking on a specific area, the colors running around it will simply stop at the masking area.

Paint the masking fluid on the object

Usually, you can simply paint the frisket onto the area you need blocked out using a tiny brush. But since liquid masking can become pricey, that is only recommended for smaller areas. For this piece, I decided to use my frisket film to cover the larger area and then use the liquid frisket to seal the edges and tinier areas of the piece. 

I was using an 0 size cheap brush (since liquid frisket ruins brushes) to seal the edges of the frisket film in the shape of a butterfly, which I had simply traced with a thin sharpie then cut out with scissors. Some people use a blade directly with the frisket film already stuck onto the piece, however, I haven't tried  this yet because I probably should practice first so that I don't slice the object right out of my painting.

Here, I covered the butterfly with frisket film then sealed edges.
 Why do you seal the edges with liquid masking?

To prevent the paint from seeping under the masking and allow for sharper, cleaner lines.

Here is the final result. The final piece was sold last week and prints (without the copyright stamp) are now available through Fine Art America.

Note: copyright does not appear on prints or original.
 I used a few little techniques to achieve the textural effects you see in the wings.

Texture Tricks For Watercolor Paintings

Please note: I am including links in this post to exact products I used for this piece. As an Amazon Affiliate, I make a very small commission on whatever you purchase through my links. Prices remain the same whether you purchase through me or not, but by purchasing, you help show your support!) The Micron pen size 005 is my absolute favorite tool for enunciating blacks and thats what I used to create the stippled effect in the 'veins' of the wings. For the white stippling effects, I used a Sakura white gel pen! Gel pens are amazing for adding tiny highlights (such as the shine in an eye pupil or for tiny dots or lines for whatever your project calls for).

Never limit yourself. We have so many new tools in this world for artists, nowadays. At the same time, limiting the palette can create beautiful effects as well. It's all up to you to see things clearly, through not only observing others, but observing and becoming aware of yourself.

Until next time, hope you all have an amazing holiday season and please add me on Twitter if you haven't yet for up-to-the-minute waves of inspiration, exclusive auctions and much more!

No comments:

Post a Comment