Less Ink

Today’s watercolor experiment:

I had two ideas in mind for today: experimenting with brilliant colors in the background; and using earth tones to color the traces of the latex resist.

I began with liquid latex. This time I shook the paper back and forth. I liked the spiny appendages sticking out of the main trunk of liquid latex.

I haven’t worked much with today’s pigments, cobalt teal (Utrecht) and opera rose (Winsor Newton). I did a quick test on some scrap paper and found that they mixed very well together. The first stage of this composition demonstrated some of this interaction.

Watercolor: Abstract - Stage 1 - Latex Resist, Cobalt Teal, Opera Rose

Abstract 053115 Stage 1

The cobalt teal maintained its green tone at the periphery of the paper; it took on a bluish tint along the horizontal strip, where it merged with opera rose.

I wanted to see what would happen if I washed the area around the latex resist, with lemon yellow. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this glaze resulted in brilliant greens and oranges.

Watercolor: Abstract - Stage 2 - Latex Resist, Cobalt Teal, Opera Rose, Lemon Yellow

Abstract 053115 Stage 2

I did no more manipulation of paints, and proceeded to remove the resist material.

Watercolor: Abstract - Cobalt Teal, Opera Rose, Lemon Yellow

Abstract 053115 – Stage 3

To fulfill my vision for this study, I carefully painted the white traces with raw sienna and raw umber. I painted raw sienna on the lower trace and raw umber on the upper. The sienna did not work, so I overpainted it with sienna.

Watercolor: Abstract - Cobalt Teal, Opera Rose, Lemon Yellow with Raw Umber

Abstract 053115
12″x16″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


I intended to use the same visual design elements of previous experiments, but to color them differently. For instance, instead of leaving the traces left by the resist material as negative space (Slouching Toward Judgement) or colored with saturated pigments (Abstract 52515), I used unsaturated earth tone pigments to create a positive space. The resulting complex shape is in maximal contrast with the background.

I was happy to see the wonderful interactions of cobalt teal with opera rose. Opera rose has always seemed too brilliant a color to use with representational watercolors. The pigment listed on the tube is “Fluorescent dye/resin based pigment, quinacridone PR122”. I thought that this color might only be of use for painting flowers or for other scenes requiring a highly saturated  pink color. However, its combination with cobalt teal and lemon yellow reveals a range of values, from an unsaturated, grainy purple to a brilliant orange.

I am sure that, with careful planning, opera rose would be a great addition to representational and abstract watercolor paintings.

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