Friday, September 29, 2023

Is it Possible to Transform Transparent Watercolor?

Years of painting with transparent watercolor, gouache, collage and acrylic have given me oodles of ways to fix a painting. Yet there still many things I haven't tried. So this post shows one way to transform a painting if the artist (me) might be willing to mess around, going from one style of art to another.

A few weeks ago I met a young woman who's looks were so stunning I asked if I could take her picture. I explained that I was an artist and might use the photo for a painting. She was flattered and gave her consent to both the photo and the potential painting.

I began  the portrait with transparent watercolor. The more I painted, the more I got a Persian vibe from her features.

I spent some time looking at some fabrics from the region. Many of the patterns included a paisley design which led me to creating a new stamp for the background.

Once that was done, I was ready to work farther on the painting.

I chose a scarf to cover some of her head, some dark and light in the background. Finally I used my newly designed stamp to create a more interesting backdrop for this lovely face.

There was certainly a time that I would have patted my own back and said, "Job well done." But . . .

I wanted a different look, one that is more in keeping with the recent back and white portraits I've been painting. So I began to work on breaking away from transparent to gouache (an opaque watercolor paint).

My Process

I first put a layer of diluted gesso (a thin, white paint mixture consisting of a binder mixed with chalk, gypsum, pigment, or a combination of these substances) over the entire painting.

I still had enough of the figure to use as I moved on repainting the face in black and white (mixed to create various grays) gouache. 

Once I was satisfied with the newly painted face, I layered frog tape over the entire face and scarf. Because the tape is semi-transparent, I could gently cut around the figure with an exacto knife. If one is careful, it only cuts the tape and not the paper.

With the figure protected, I could work on the background with ease. I didn't have to paint so carefully and I could make the stamp appear behind the woman. Finally I removed the tape and . . .


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks marvelous!