This painting was also created by the process of elimination of lighter shapes (like the previous post.) Instead of using miskit to protect the shapes that I wanted to keep a certain value, I used masking tape, mostly cut with a razor blade, to prevent the paint from flowing onto those areas.

I did use a brush to apply each layer of colors, making each layer be the same value throughout, but selected random colors that I liked, touching the paint to the paper in a very fluid state - lots of excess moisture to help it run and blend together. That extra moisture gave a more glowing look similar to the poured technique look because the paint could flow.

Once I'd removed all the masking tape pieces, I added some splatters and grasses in the foreground. I really like the surprises in colors that result from covering up shapes.

Using miskit creates a sharp, exact edge while using tape results in a more textured, unpredictable edge, especially if the tape is torn or overlapped. This was painted as a class demo about 10 years ago and given away to a student who has become a really great friend.

"TIPTON TOWNHOUSE" Transparent Watercolor on 140# CP Arches 21 x 14" COLLECTED



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



Sometimes the emotional connection between humans and animals can be incredibly strong, even if the animal is wild. What fun to try to transfer that emotion on paper while trying to use a good sense of design and composition.

Soooo HUGE, this gorilla, and yet he seemed to be so tender. I wanted to capture his drama and gentleness.

"CREATURE COMFORTS" Transparent Watercolor on YUPO 13 x 9" Collected



These creatures look innocent and adorable when they are young, and this one climbed all over my husband's back and shoulders to explore during our visit to Vicki's menagerie. They are overly curious. When we had a landscape business years ago, I was nipped in the leg by one - right after the homeowner told me he wouldn't bite. Wrong.

Raccoons are nightly visitors to our upper deck if I fill the bird feeder there. I enjoyed painting the 'night time' look of this picture on YUPO. Using lots of color, but blending it to make it subdued, I wanted to give the feeling of someone who had just been found out. I think he looks a litle guilty, don't you?

Click on the painting to see an up close of the textures around the tree trunk. Workshop instructor Mary Ann Beckwith showed us how to lay the fibers of 'halloween webbing' down on the wet paint. Once the paint dries, the fibers are removed to reveal textures underneath that couldn't be created any other way.

This is one of my older paintings out of the archives. Tomorrow's post will be another YUPO from the archives .... one of my favorite animal paintings on YUPO.

"PARTY CRASHER" Transparent Watercolor on YUPO 11 x 19" Collected



The antics of a group (or flock?) of penguins can keep me captivated for a long time. They are hilarious. Many aquarium facilities feature penguin style living up close just like where these fellows now live in their own psuedo South Pole country (near the Ohio River.)

Using a technique taught by northern Indiana artist, Steve Blackburn, I literally poured trails of miskit onto the watercolor board, spritzing it with water to create avenues for it to crawl into and produce a unique pattern that I would never be able to paint. After the miskit dried, I poured color over the board, using several separate colors. Using a sprayer, I made some areas lighter than others, but the whole board was covered with paint. When it was dry, I removed the miskit to reveal the curious patterns and textures of pure white paper.

At that point, I drew in the penguin shapes and details and began to paint behind the lightest shapes to make them show up. It's really cool to see a form emerge as you paint the negative shapes behind it. Almost magic, but careful planning is involved.

The wings, bodies, heads, feet, and beaks of the foreground penquins were added as positive shapes. The lightest areas of the painting are from the original pours, and I like how the miskit shapes peak through the darks in the painting, almost resembling a frosted morning. This photo shows most of the paintng, but somehow I cut off the left hand side of the painting, so about one and a half penquins are missing. (And after goggling what a group of penguins are called, I found a multiple choice answer --- a huddle, a rookery, a parcel, a crèche' or a colony... take your pick!)

"PENGUIN PARADE" Transparent Watercolor on Hot Pressed Crescent Watercolor Board 30 x 12" Collected (Giglee' prints available)