Bass Habitat

Today’s watercolor experiment:

Surface preparation:

I used my straight razor today. Not on my face, on my watercolor paper. I used the paper as a strop, dragging it back and forth with the sharp end dragging. There was no chance of cutting the surface if I did it right. I did cut the paper with shallow strokes of my double edged razor.

With the vermilion ink at my disposal, I found some of the razor cuts and quilled them in. I also penned in a surface design in low center with a fine nib.

First painting:

I quickly washed the top half of the paper with Winsor red and the bottom with yellow ochre. I kept the two pigments separate. I squeegeed the excess paint and just left the red and yellow stains.


After drying, I soaked the paper with Winsor red and got my scrapes in, most of them left-to-right, upward diagonal strokes.  Although the red glaze was uniform across the whole surface, the underlying yellow tint at the bottom gave the appearance of a graded wash.

During the drying time I experimented with different pigments. I liked the way the quinacridone purple interacted with the background red. I tried to keep it away from the yellow, to avoid a muddy color. I spattered some cadmium yellow pale as well as clear water on the paper in an attempt to get some interesting blooms.

The most interesting effect:

I don’t use Peacock (phthalo) blue that much, but I tried it today. It seemed to work very well not only in the red area but also in the yellow.

Bass habitat?

I drew the Peacock blue brush along the lines that I etched in with my razor. The blooms that I was hoping for with my spattering of the yellow and the water happened here. As I drew my brush across the indented line, the blue spread out. I regulated the speed to give a triangular, spider webby shape.  The first one reminded me of a christmas tree. I did another and another, just like they do at the lake to make a habitat for the bass.

Watercolor: Abstract - reds, yellow ochre and phthalo blue

Bass Habitat
9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


I tried a variety of surface modifying techniques, mainly with flat edges and sharp edges.  Jules, one of my twitter friends, suggested the idea of painting on sandpaper. Intriguing idea that I will have to try (with brushes I don’t need). I might also try using sandpaper to sand the watercolor paper.

All this is fine, but it is just technique.  The question is: What do I want to express with my painting?  I could be literal, for example, and roughen up the surface to express my ‘rough day’. I could link a texture with a pigment (i.e., rough equals red). But this is painting, not sculpture… Hmmm… I suppose it could be both, depending on what I want to express.

I haven’t come close to exhausting the limits of the watercolor medium. Perhaps my foray into surface manipulation is just a distraction. I should get back to basics.

7 thoughts on “Bass Habitat

  1. Pingback: AB’s Awesomeness Award – Thank you all | Perspectives on Life, the Universe and Everything

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