Today’s watercolor experiment:
I enjoy working with wet watercolor paper. The first application of color gives me an idea of what to do next. This is particularly true for abstract painting. A runny color suggests one thing, a color blob may suggest another. I have known for a while that if clear water is applied to semi-wet paper, it will displace the pigment and leave interesting reticulated rings. I made use of this technique in yesterday’s painting, by using a wet brush to splatter clear water onto the drying painting.
My experience with kidney stones over the past week or so has given me a new perspective about ‘splatter’ painting. Today, I wet the paper as usual, applied cerulean blue in the center and Prussian blue at the edges.
Apropos of my current stage of kidney stone recovery (literally), I sprinkled crystals of salt on the still-wet paper. I had heard that watercolorists use salt crystals for certain effects in their paintings, but had never tried it myself. I loved the effect, the way the salt interacted with the pigment.
After the initial stage dried, I brushed off the salt, rewet the paper and dripped some gamboge (a yellow pigment) onto the composition and let it dry.
Finally after re-dampening the paper, I gently brushed some winsor red into places where the salt displaced the pigment. When the brush was nearly exhausted of red paint, I used it to suggest two curved surfaces straddling the middle section of the painting.
Today’s experiment was successful. The reticulations that resulted from the interaction of the pigment with the salt did not continue to diffuse in the way that splashes of water did. I’m sure I will be using this technique again.