Commitment: the state of being emotionally impelled to do something. My commitment is to making art, loving life and doing well.

Daily Artworks... my continuing challenge for 2015: Observe and record. Record and observe. And stretch - s-t-r-e-t-c-h - myself.
What will I discover?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Art Every Day Month - November 26


In all the time I have been painting with watercolors, I have never used the technique of sprinkling salt onto wet washes to achieve that characteristic random granular texture.
So today I tried it. I painted today's challenge in three layers, lemon yellow deep, alizarin crimson and prussian blue, and each layer had to dry completely before I moved to the next. I learned several things.

1. I had to wait. And wait.
Each grain of salt (what's the technical word?) pulled the water and the paint towards it, and that's where the color stayed as the water dried, on the salt crystal or on the surrounding paper.
And it took a long time. And, I went to bed not knowing how the painting would turn out.

2. The results were random and to a large extend uncontrollable.
I could control the placement of the sprinkles, and the direction in which I laid down the salt, but after that, the water took over and it was the water that actually painted the picture.

3. The salt effect was strongest in the places where the wash was the wettest... and where there was the most paint in the wash. The least effect was in places where I graded the washes down to almost pure water.

4. It was easiest to brush the salt crystals off the paper at that point when the paper was still a little moist but the paint had dried completely.
After I had left the painting to dry overnight, I had to almost grind the salt crystals off the paper... it was like working with sandpaper.

5. If salt can be messy, this is a messy technique! I brushed away the salt from the yellow layer at my work table... and I will now have to vacuum up the residue.
For the other two layers I cleared the salt off the paper over the bathtub!
And it's not just clean salt... most of the crystals are covered in paint, and if they get wet again, even from moisture in the air, those darn crystals will continue to paint whatever they have settled upon!

5. I'm glad that it tried it, after all this AEDM is playtime with the art toys for experimentation with techniques.
I don't think this salt technique is something I will add to my repertoire. But, it might just be useful, sparingly, for special effects.
And that's always good to know.


Diane M. McKnight, MA, LMSW, Art Therapist/Psychotherapist/Artist said...

This is my favorite from this month, so far. I know there are still a few more days...but I LOVE it. I have done work with salt before too and it is a lot of fun. I find it interesting how it produces more strong textures in certain watercolor colors opposed to others.

Tammy said...

This looks like it was fun,I did'nt know about this technique.I think it looks like frost in some places.I also like the colors you chose.

Leisa said...

This is really cool Mavis.

Mavis said...

Hi Diane and Tammy and Leisa:
This is a surprisingly effective technique, and it's so much fun to experiment with! Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed it!


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