Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Painting Only a Fisherman Could Love!

The painting above might be one only a fisherman could love! But, it demonstrates a technique that is useful in watercolor painting - using alcohol to add interesting texture. Alcohol was used to create the bubbles in the water surrounding the fish. The largest bubble was made using a dropper, the medium sized bubbles using a fingertip, and the smallest bubbles using a Q-Tip.

Use of alcohol is an interesting way of adding unique textures to your painting. As with most alternative techniques, the result is varied and is not easily controlled. This technique is best used when accuracy and a set result is not required. "Fish eyes" are a signature of this technique and cannot be achieved using any other technique.

How and why does it work?
Alcohol and watercolor paint do not mix well. Alcohol repels the paint pushing it away and leaving a lighter tint of the wash exposed. The results of this "fight" on the paper are organic in nature and not achievable using any other technique.

What is important to remember when using this technique?
The alcohol must be added while the wash is still wet. As the wash dries and the water evaporates, the result is not as impressive. Although results can still be seen as the wash dries, once the peak time of wetness has passed, the results are not as dramatic.

When should this technique be used?
This technique can be used in many ways to give the illusion of bubbles either int he water or on the surface of a point, lake, etc. The technique also lends itself to mossy surfaces on trees or rocks or ground surface in boggy areas. This technique is only limited by your imagination. Once you have used this technique and know the look that is achieved, it can be incorporated in many different ways.

How to texturize using alcohol:
  • Lay in a wash using colors of your choice - deeper colors show more dramatic, purple, red, brown, etc.
  • The alcohol can be applied by fingertips, dropper, or a Q-Tip.
  • While the wash is still wet, drop or tap the alcohol directly into the wash.
  • As the wash continues to dry, continue to drop in alcohol for a variety of effects.
  • You will notice a "fish eye" effect in the middle of most of the lighter areas when the color slightly darkens.

Use as much or as little of the alcohol you would achieve the results you want...have fun!

1 comment:

Gin said...

I love this technique! I'll have to try it. I am learning so much thru your blog. Keep up the good work. Thanks!