POURING IT ON
My favorite 'watercolor' look is achieved when I can get the paint onto the paper without ever touching the paper with paint on a brush. This painting was created by literally pouring the paint out of a small container, onto the wet paper. But first, I had to plan things so the paint would flow where I wanted it to go.
I chose the very lightest shapes in the painting and covered them carefully with miskit. After the miskit dried, I soaked the paper with a sprayer filled with water, then poured colors over the whole page, making sure it was covered everywhere with color which had a very similar pale value.
Once the paint was completely dry, I applied MORE miskit to the next lightest areas in the exact shape of those light areas. The miskit would make those specific shapes stay the light value they were as I again sprayed the paper to soak it and poured more colors on.
I repeated this process seven times, each time 'saving' the next darkest valued shapes with miskit before I poured the paint onto the wet paper. Each pour of paint had to be one step darker than the last one. Because the paper was wet and I used several colors for each pour, I had very limited control over where those colors decided to go. I also placed a big plastic bin under my painting to catch the excess runoff.
After the paper was dry, I removed the miskit. The color surprises that were revealed are one of my favorite things about painting this way.
I'd used a brush to apply the miskit to specific shapes to prevent them from getting any darker, but I did not apply any paint to the paper with a brush (other than for my signature.) This painting is one out of the archives and was the first one I'd ever poured completely from beginning to end.
Nita Engle's beautiful watercolors inspired me to start painting with watercolor, and her paintings glow because of the beauty of poured paint. She's a master at letting the watercolor do the work, although the way she approaches her poured paintings is somewhat different than what I've described here. My friend, Charmalee, and I drove to St. Louis years ago to take a workshop with her, and it was well worth the drive. Check out some of Nita's work; she's listed on my sidebar about artists I love.
This process will work equally well with transparent watercolor and fluid acrylics. There is one BIG advantage of using fluid acrylics to pour, instead of watercolor --- the sedimentary textures will stay put on the paper, even after the miskit is removed, if fluid acrylics are used. With watercolor, the miskit will lift off the sedimentary effect of granulating paints, unfortunately destroying some really neat textural effects.
"HOOD ORNAMENT" Transparent Watercolor on 140 CP Arches 14 x 18" COLLECTED