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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Solving the Problem of White Paper!

'A Moment of Silence'                12x14                   pastel               ©Karen Margulis

Sometimes white paper is just what you need. Sometimes it causes problems. I love using white paper for a watercolor underpainting. It works well with the transparency of the watercolor. Since the underpainting eventually colors the white paper it works well. I don't like white paper without toning or doing an underpainting because I find the white bits that peek through the pastel layers can be distracting.

I have been using white BFK Rives printmaking paper this month and thoroughly enjoying it. I have experimenting with adding tooth to the paper with clear gesso and Diane Townsend Dry Grounds. Both work well but there is still the problem of white paper. I tried something that solved the problem and I can't wait to prep more paper!  What did I do? I tinted the clear gesso with acrylic paint!

Tools for the painting

I poured a bit of clear gesso in a cup and added a few drops of inexpensive craft acrylic paint in a nice medium warm gray tone.  I took this idea farther by applying the tinted gesso to my paper with a cheap brush in the direction of the elements in my painting. I was painting a scene from Yosemite that included cliff faces and smooth water as well as trees. I made brush marks to help describe these shapes. Look at the photo below to see the results.

Not only did I tone my paper covering the white, I added texture and tooth to a smooth paper! Problem solved!

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