Whites and Watercolor

White Roses

Oh, those all-important whites! Do I save them? Do I retrieve them? Do I paint them? Which is the best method for you? Are you a watercolor purist (only the white of the paper will do)? Or do you allow yourself to use some new trick for retrieving or painting your whites? If you regularly enter your work into organizations like the Transparent Watercolor Society of America (TWSA), you likely work hard to save the whites, since opaque watercolors are not accepted.

The White Chart

For my college watercolor class this week, we created a chart for various methods of saving, retrieving and painting whites. I have wanted to build this chart for some time. I used Phthalocyanine Blue (Green Shade) by Daniel Smith to test all the “white” methods since she is the most staining pigment on my palette. The first row has no Phthalo Blue. I just painted the square with various water-media white paints or media (click on image for a larger view). The second row, I used methods to save the white before painting. The third row, I tried to retrieve the white of the paper. For the final row, I used the same white paint from the first row to paint over the top of the blue pigment.

For putting the theory into practice, I used my previously painted “White Roses” painting (See previous blog post from June 11). Compare the before and after images? Originally, I saved the white of the paper by “blocking” or painting around the whites (first image). After the painting had dried completely, I lifted back using masking tape and Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser (Row 3, Column 6) and water lifting (Row 3 column 2). For the original painting, I used a combination of lifting and staining pigments, so the lifting with water was marginally successful. I also used some Titanium White watercolor pigment to paint a few soft whites. Can you tell which method was used where?

1st Stage

Final Painting – White Roses

The final painting, “White Roses” (Second Image in comparison) with exquisite framing will be part of my featured artist show at Artsy Fartsy Art Gallery beginning July 16th in Carson City, Nevada.

I hope you will be able to join me for the Artist’s reception on July 18th, from 4-7pm, or for the Carson City Wine Walk on August 3rd, from 1-4pm. Artsy Fartsy Art Gallery is routinely voted the “The Best of the Wine Walk” each month. Not only can you see some of the best in local art on display, but you’ll be able to nibble on some unique delectables and partake of their “special” drink offering.

2 thoughts on “Whites and Watercolor

  1. Pingback: 11th Painting 30×30 Direct Watercolor – White Roses | Colleen Reynolds, Artist

  2. Pingback: I Grew You a Cat | Colleen Reynolds, Artist

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