Mis?Adventures in Watercolor-Autumn Leaves, Risslon Daggers & Daniel Smith Ground

Oh, I'm doing my experiment within experiment within experiment again.  Will I never learn, lol!  I don't think so. I get on a roll.  I'd probably learn more if I did one experiment at a time, but I wouldn't have nearly as much fun.

This watercolor painting was an attempt to get the mottled look that is demonstrated in Ken Hobson's tutorial on painting a leaf.

I used my new brushes that I picked up for Rene Eisenbart's watercolor class (if you missed it, you can see my review of that class and the brushes here).

And, I used some watercolor paper that had previously been painted on.  I had dropped a glob of paint in the middle of it, and wasn't able to remove the stain.  So, I decided to see if I could reclaim the paper by covering it with Daniel Smith Watercolor ground.

Starting from the bottom up--the painting I covered was a landscape with lots of blue sky.  The ground didn't completely white-out the page, leaving a blueish tint and very faint images.  When I used the ground before there were brushmarks left and the surface seemed slick.  So this time, I applied it with a natural sponge, dabbing rather than brushing.  Since the paper had already been painted on, there was very little buckling. The paper was Fluid 140 lb.

I was much happier with this surface.  Rather than being slick, it almost dragged.  The washes moved, but not as freely as on the original paper.  I was able to easily lift the paint, even though I was using colors that stain heavily.  I believe this was due to the ground--the paint didn't get absorbed as quickly as it would have otherwise.   The ground wouldn't be my first choice for a surface, but I wouldn't hesitate to reclaim more botched paintings this way.  In fact, I've already got another drying, lol!

I've already discussed the brushes in my previous post (see link above), so I'll jump to the mottling.  It didn't work for me.

The fact is that I've tried this method before.  Linda Kemp discusses it in her book "Watercolor Painting Outside the Lines - A Positive Approach to Negative Painting".  It's a matter of timing and direction.  You need to learn how to control the direction and power of the flicking process and the paint has to be at a certain level of wetness or the spots from your flicking will just fade away.  In this case, the Daniel Smith watercolor ground may have been a factor, but I've had trouble on other paper as well.

It's a matter of practice.  I intend to keep at it (and hopefully get some tips from Rene!) and I expect to get it down.  If you watch that tutorial and can't get the mottling right off--keep at it.  It isn't just you!  And if you do get down first time around--GO YOU!

All told, I had fun.  I had painted the ground on about a week ago.  The painting itself took about 20 minutes. I used Ken Hobson's drawing method & color choices for the leaf, but otherwise just let the paint flow, paying more attention to how the brushes handled than what the color was doing.

For all my experimenting within experimenting--I'm happy with the result.