I didn't know which animal to paint, then I saw them all in a tumble, where they'd been dumped and the sun was catching all the hooves and nuzzles. Then I thought, oh no, that's just too much, but I do it to myself, I choose to paint something I know will take me awhile, as this did. I took a few pictures as the painting progressed for those who are interested in how I paint. (I've had a few people ask). Seriously though I don't know why you'd ever want to use this technique, I'm even somewhat embarrassed to show it. Why? To a traditional water colorist, using so much masking fluid is probably a sin, it's slow going with many layers of mask and paint, you're not sure of the results, (but I like the surprise element). Lastly I don't know how healthy it is to be using that latex. I make sure a window is open if I'm inside and I use "Gloves in a Bottle", which I'm just about out of and need to get some more.
First, the sketch--playing with the composition--there have been times I've erased the whole thing after spending much time drawing. The square format is challenging, but I really like it. I've heard or read that some people won't even think of buying a square painting, because it's not as easy to find frames. Still I press on with the square. I've actually been thinking seriously about small round paintings--I'd love that, but cutting mats and having glass cut, plus the expense stops me in my tracks, but think about it------cool! I like that, even if it was crooked on the wall, you wouldn't know!
I mask out the whites and layer on some light washes, then I mask out some colored light areas and layer on more color, then mask out some lighter middle tones and layer more color--guess what I do next? Mask more middle tones--then I get lost in middle tones and flounder for awhile. Put some music on and make some tea. I have to tip my paper so I can see the light reflect off the shiny mask, so I know what I've done! This process is similar to batik, which I have always loved--it's like painting backwards--it must appeal to the dyslexic part of me.
You can see the shiny mask. I'm doing the mask and layering again. I think I like to do this because when I do put on the paint, I'll wet the whole thing with a very large brush, then lay a wash over the whole painting--it's one of my favorite parts, to see what the layers of color will do--like layering pure orange over a layer of magnesium green--seeing the particles of paint separate and settle--little science experiments. You do have to let the mask dry before putting on the paint. I use a blow dryer for that and sometimes for the paint. I say sometimes, because it's best to let the paint sit and dry, depending on what you want it to do.
OK, so I got into the painting and forgot about taking pictures for awhile, but maybe that's a good thing or you'd all be bored if you aren't already. This is after rubbing off all the accumulated mask. Another part I love to do! Under all that rich dark paint the images emerge. I've actually built up some callused finger tips rubbing off the latex! I should do it with my left hand and take up guitar! Make sure the paint is thoroughly dry before rubbing!! You'd think I'd be done at this point, but no not me! I do like that batiked look, but not for everything, plus the mask takes off some of the color. I love vivid colors and will go back into the painting to add here and smooth there and fuss--this is the fussy stage, but it's fun for me because where the paint has been built up, the pigment is so thick that I can wet it and move it around with a toothpick. This reminds me of those watercolor coloring books with the dried lines and ares of paint that you wet and spread around--fun stuff. Fun, but a bit tricky because the water is now riding on the surface of the paint and doesn't know enough to stop--it just connects to other pigments and fans out regardless of any boundaries. More science experiments! If you try this let me know how it's going! If you don't--I really don't blame you!
Watercolor, 7"x 7"