Sunday, 10 August 2014

Experiments with Scraping

Between the Rocks
Watercolour on Paper
27cm x 17cm (10.5" x 6.75)

I am continuing to explore the different mediums and techniques from Ann Blockley's  “Experimental Landscapes in Watercolour” (see Experiments with Acrylic Ink and Experiments with Gouache). I tend to use these investigations as a warmup at the start of a painting session.

Scraping involves applying a layer of watercolour and partially scraping it off before it dries. It is a good technique for creating texture in things like tree bark, rocks and walls. You can use different tools to create different textures.

I've written about scraping before (see Scratching and Scraping), but it is a technique I've never mastered.

The picture at the top of this post is my third attempt at this scene. The first two were dreadful. Part of my problem is that Ann and other authors recommend using a creamy mix of paint. When I try this, the paint usually dries before I have achieved the desired effect, especially if I am working on a large area like the cliffs in this view.

In this version I painted an initial pale yellow and pink wash and after this was dry a thicker, but still relatively watery green wash.

I moved this wash around with the edge of an old plastic loyalty card to create the appearance of cracks and other textures in the rock. I was conscious of the need to keep my focus moving round the whole painting and not to focus on one area at the expense of the rest. As the wash started to dry it became easier to scrape it off completely to create highlights. The experience was more like sculpting than painting.

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