Opera Rose Fantasy

Today’s watercolor experiment:

Lately I have been applying latex masking fluid (frisket) to my watercolor paper as a first step in painting my abstract studies. I add all my pigments (inks and watercolor washes) after the frisket has cured. This leaves paper-white traces on the finished study, after I remove the mask. Today I wanted to see what would happen if I added a second dribble of masking fluid on top of a painted surface.

In my first stage, I added ultramarine blue ink before adding the frisket:

Watercolor: Stage 1 - Ink and Frisket

Stage 1 – Ink and Frisket

I intended to wet the entire surface of the paper and add light applications of opera rose and hansa yellow, as I have done in previous studies (Self Inspiration, Abstract Sunset), thinking that the ink was waterproof.

I was wrong about that:

Watercolor: Stage 2 - Add Water to Ink and Frisket

Stage 2 – Add Water

I carefully added the opera rose and the yellow after allowing the water to dry to a sheen.

Watercolor: Stage 3 - Opera Rose and Hansa Yellow Washes

Stage 3 – Opera Rose and Hansa Yellow Washes

After these washes dried, I added more frisket. When dried, I glazed the surface again with opera rose and hansa yellow.

Watercolor: Stage 4 - Add Frisket On Top of Painted Areas

Stage 4 – Add Frisket On Top of Painted Areas

Before I removed the frisket, I added Winsor Newton (sunshine) yellow ink in the upper corners and around the edges of the mask in the lower regions of the composition. I removed the mask after the paper was dry.

Watercolor: Abstract - Opera Rose & Hansa Yellow Watercolors; Ultramarine and Yellow Inks

Opera Rose Fantasy
12″x16″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


I was able to remove the frisket without damaging the painted surface underneath. I like the results. Normally I enjoy high contrast images. However, in some of my previous abstracts, the effect of stark white traces uncovered when the mask was removed, is jarring. I like the lower contrast traces in today’s study.

For the past few experiments, I have concentrated on technique. I do enjoy the busy compositions that have resulted, but I must put some more thought into design as opposed to randomness. It is fine to seed the creative process with a random splash or splatter, and I enjoy this process. Randomness is not an end in itself. I will pay more attention to design in future experiments.


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