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Friday, March 03, 2017

A Surprising Watercolor Underpainting

'Welcome to the South'           8x10        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $150
It was a surprise for a couple of reasons. I had completely forgotten that I had done a watercolor underpainting for a Spring landscape. I just never got around to finishing the painting and it got buried in the pile of unfinished objects. (the UFO pile) When I found it today I was surprised for another reason. The underpainting had some cool crystal- like marks. How did I do that?

The watercolor underpainting
It took me a few minutes but then I remembered that I had experimented with watercolor and salt. The result were these pretty flower-like crystals in the dried paint. If you are familiar with watercolor then you already know about this technique. But have you thought about applying it to a watercolor underpainting for pastel?

the magic of salt and watercolor
 How about giving it a try? The results are unpredictable so I suggest lots of experimenting. Here are some tips:

  • Start the watercolor underpainting as usual. While the paint is still wet sprinkle the salt where you want the special effect.
  • Try different size salt....Kosher salt makes different marks than table salt.
  • Apply the salt with the paper flat.
  • Try tipping the paper and letting the salt slide.
  • Wait until the paint is dry before brushing off the salt.
  • Try different paper to see the results. Todays painting is on Uart sanded paper.
I tried to keep my crystals showing in my painting but ended up covering more than I wanted. That's OK> I am excited to experiment more!


Kathy Johnson said...

Living in humid Oregon, I discovered that zapping salt in the microwave will help it work better. If it has too much humidity in it -- it doesn't work as well.

robertsloan2art said...

I love salt effects. They're fascinating, you can get some very interesting forms with them. It's so cool seeing what you did with them, they work for those undergrowth flowers!