Saturday, August 15, 2015

Building Study......Stretch and Staple Watercolour Paper

Building Study
approx 8 x 10 - done from my photo reference
on 140 lb watercolour paper - various watercolour brands with some watercolour pencils

This blog post is the second in a series of watercolour experiments. I'm playing with different ways to keep watercolour papers flat while working on watercolour pours. Last time I did “Soak and Slap”.....this time I'm trying “Stretch and Staple”. This method for prepping watercolour papers is a traditional one that I thought I “didn't have time for”. But after some disappointing mishaps with watercolour boards.....I've decided to try the technique out.

The first thing is to soak your watercolour paper in water for five to ten minutes. Pull it out of the water and briefly drain. Lay it on some masonite/particle board or other, and gently flatten it out. Then take a stapler/staple gun and beginning at the center edge, staple about every inch or so, gently stretching the paper flat. Continue working out from the center edges flattening and stapling the paper. When done let it dry. It should dry drum taut and flat.

I put in some misket on spots I wanted to reserve in white, then throughly spritzed the entire sheet. I then began pouring on a yellow, a rose madder genuine and a blend of different blues. As you can see it buckled a lot!

Looking at the buckles and the valleys where the watercolour was pooling I despaired of a smooth blending of colours. BUT I remembered another component of the “pour” technique......MOVING the watercolour around on the paper and finally pouring the excess watercolour off the paper. So I proceeded to do just that, I tilted and turned the board till I had gotten a good wash and then poured the rest off into a cup. Almost immediately the buckles began to subside. As the paper began to dry just a also began to flatten back out.

By the time it was dry it was once again totally flat, and the wash I'd done was pretty even!
I wanted slightly stronger colours.....remembering that watercolours always dry lighter than when wet. So I did a coupla of more washes, repeating the pouring method, with the same results.....a flat sheet when dry.

Once the washes were dry I removed the misket. It was skewing my eye when evaluating the wash placements. I went on to line in with watercolour pencils more of the details of the building and the tree branches. I was not as pleased with the stark outline of the misket on the leaves and scrubbed out some of the more harsh lines. The misket had also not stayed straight on building highlights that really needed to be straight. But all in all this study has been a ball to do. I've gained valuable know how about basic watercolour painting and very much enjoyed bringing a bit-o-colour to a sometime plain brick building.

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