Blog 10 – 2/6/18

This blog started life as a short one, which is what I want them all to be, However, it just got bigger, but not necessarily better. Amongst other things it is a reminder of techniques we have learnt and for some of you I am going over stuff you already know so if you don’t want a lesson on how to suck eggs, stop reading now!!!!


The blog is linked to other blogs where I mention tracing and copying other peoples painting styles and techniques. I have recently been copying pictures and the style of three artists, Ann Blockley, Stewart Edmundson and Brian Bennett; they are all very different and I like their paintings for very different reasons


To copy a picture accurately (or any subject you intend to paint), you need to keep looking at it and sort out in your mind what the artist has done and how they have done it. You need to look at the techniques used, the paint used and you need to sort out for yourself what brushes and surface is use. To know how the artist has painted what they have painted you need to be aware of different techniques and you need to know what the paint can do and how it reacts to different treatment, I wish I knew all this but I don’t. However, by copying other peoples work and experimenting with techniques I get to know more than I did before I copied. (copyright issues will probably be the subject of another blog)


Here is a list of the different ‘treatments’ (sounds like something from a beauty salon) that we have explored in my workshops (if you have had the misfortune to attend one), so, as mentioned, this blog is a bit of a revision blog really.



Sprinkling salt on wet paint, gives a random effect.


When salt is sprinkled on a wet wash, it starts to gather the watercolour pigments. The wash has to be still wet but not too shiny. The effect will vary depending on the size of the grains of salt and the wetness of the paper. The wetter the paper the more effective the salt will be. If you sprinkle salt on drier paint the effects are less noticeable.


Also, you should not have more than 1500 milligrams (0.75 of a teaspoon) of salt in your diet a day, not sure if this applies to paintings!!!!


Bleach and alcohol.

The first thing here is don’t drink bleach but drink the alcohol as liberally as you like.


There is ordinary bleach and chlorine bleach, they give slightly different effects. Beware, both can damage your paper although I have not yet caused any damage and can also damage your health a tad if you get it in your eyes or on your skin.


The bleach draws out the pigment of the watercolour and moves the pigment around and also does what it says on the tin, it takes the colour out of what it lands on, in this case the watercolour pigment.


Try it on almost dry paint (almost opposite to using salt) and it can still make fret effects and texture.


You can apply the bleach in blobs or use a spray which will give great effects.


Alcohol can have similar effects. I used a cheap spray perfume I bought in one of those cheap shops, the effect was OK but it reeked, I just wonder who would wear this stuff voluntarily. On the other hand don’t use your partners Chanel No 5 or Aramis aftershave as this can cause tiffs.


Cling film

When you have painted on your wash or even ‘top coat’ just scrunch up some cling film and press onto the area of paint you want to affect. The scrunchier you get the cling film the more intricate the marks left will be. Let the paint dry under the cling film and only when it is dry lift it off and, voila (just to show I can be a bit multi-lingual), lovely random marks and great effects (AKA as textures).


There are stories of people stretching cling film across toilet pans. The subsequent user …….. no, this is tasteless, I will say no more, you decide what can happen!



This is where we scratch paint off the paper by any scratching means we like. A sharp point of a knife can make delicate lines resembling twigs on shrubs or trees, it can also wreck your paper if you don’ do it right, you can use roughish sand paper across the surface of the paper this is good for getting a sparkly effect on water, you can use a blunt end a brush and make indentations into the paper where the pigment gathers in a more condense way and gives subtle lines in the background, again, useful for twigs of trees and shrubs and other bits of flora you find hanging around in woods and places


You can also score your paper with a sharp knife before painting on it. When you apply the paint it will seep into the scored paper and become a darker colour than the colour you painted on, it sort of gets sucked in and condensed in the scored line.


Wet on wet

This is where you put down a wet layer of paint and then apply another layer of paint onto it or next to it and the paint bleeds into each other, you can get some random and beautiful effects doing this.


I don’t know why I keep telling you that bleach, salts, wet on wet gives you a ‘random’ effect because it cannot do much else really; you don’t have much control of the outcome, only where the outcome will be.


Masking fluid

Firstly, use an old brush, the masking fluid can ruin brushes, especially if you let it dry thats a definite.


Paint the masking fluid on the area you want to keep the white of the paper showing. When you have finished painting and want yo lift it off rub it gently and it will lift and expose your white paper… simps.


Lifting out

You can get great effects by lifting out paint.


You paint your selected colour onto your paper and you can use a variety of things to lift out the paint such as tissue, cotton bugs, paint brushes, sponges and so on ( I have written ‘and so on’ because I ran out of things to suggest!!!).


You generally lift out the paint before it dries, However, there are advantages to lift out paint after it has dried as you have more control of what paint you lift out and where. When I paint trees I drop a little bit of water onto one side of the trunk or other and use a tissue to lift out paint from the side of the tree, this makes the tree look round and it can give the appearance of bark.



You can splatter paint using a tooth brush or other stiff brush and adds a nice texture to backgrounds and other areas. You can splatter paint onto dry paint or onto wet paint, both provide interesting effects


Dry brush strokes

This is a technique where the paintbrush is relatively dry and when you paint a brush stroke over your paper it only applies paint to the raised surface of the paper only, leaving the dimples in the paper paint free. This technique can be used when painting a wide variety of subjects including water, sky, trees, almost anything; you just need to practice doing it and then decide how you would like to use the technique and what you are aiming to achieve (like all the techniques I have described)


There are other techniques you can use. but these are some of the ones we have tried at my workshops and need to continue practicing and incorporating into our painting whether it is realism, figurative or abstract painting.


I am now on holiday for a couple of weeks so you will be blog free. I will see you when I get back.


Cheers for now.