Monday, 14 November 2011

Testing Watercolor Mediums

A quick doodle of a snowy owl on a scrap piece of 140 lb Arches Satin finish paper I had. Based off of Francois Boucher's photographs (with permission) on flicker - purely for practice. I don't quite have "the eye" for avians yet, even if I used reference, so feel free to redline :)  I did have trouble with that wing that is on an angle.

In order to make the clouds here, I lifted the wash with a wet paper towl that was twisted up. You need to have your paper still wet with color in order to achieve this.

I used Holbein watercolor paints. Not many colors, just cerulean blue, ultramarine, paynes gray, permanent violet and a teeny bit of cadmium yellow. 

I decided to test a few of the mediums I recently bought: Gum Arabic and Oxgall Liquid. I also have blending medium, but this takes wayyy too long to dry and I was rather impatient.

Gum Arabic tends to saturate color really nicely. Allows for some nice washes, and easy blending of color. If there is too much applied and used alone, it tends to leave a bit of a semi-gloss finish. It needs to be completely bone dry (and no longer sticky) before you can apply any other dry media on top, orelse it doesnt want to adhere to the paper. Gum arabic can also be added to acrylics and inks--it is not exclusively for watercolor.

Oxgall Liquid  is awesome because it simply helps you make seamless washes. Improves overall flow of washes when added to water :) --Dries just like water onto the paper. Application of dry media on top (such as the colored pencil on top of watercolor technique) afterwards poses no problem.

Both mediums work fine on hotpress or coldpress papers. I found that gum arabic was less obvious on my satin finish arches paper, compared to when I tested it on illustration board.

I came across an excellent book at work recently, called  "The Complete Watercolorist's Essential Notebook: A treasury of watercolor secrets discovered through decades of painting and experimentation".
It is a breath taking book: beautifully organized layout, cute illustrations along with explanations, stunning examples, and cram-packed with tips on how to paint better with watercolors.

Another book I've enjoyed over the years was "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Watercolor" . Really worth the purchase if you want to continue to explore with this medium.

Thank you for reading :)

Totally unrelated, but I will have auctions up on furbuy very soon!

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