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Thursday, October 31, 2019

My Experience with Watercolor Canvas Panels

All Tied Up
Watercolor on Watercolor Canvas Board
16" X 20"

(A 1952 International Harvester Pickup Truck 
Entwined by Nature)

Every time I decide to try a new material, whether a new paint or a new platform to paint on, there is a time of adjustment when you are searching for techniques that work for the new materials. For the last week and a half I've been painting with watercolor paint on a Fredrix®  Watercolor Canvas Panel.  I've used watercolor canvas (not mounted on a panel) before and liked it when painting with fluid acrylic.  I found I could work pretty much in the same manner as when painting on watercolor paper.  Unlike painting on traditional canvas, watercolor canvas is smoother and doesn't require you to apply an initial coat of paint to fill in the texture of the canvas.

I expected the watercolor canvas board to demonstrate the same smoothness but found it had a little bit more tooth or texture.  It was also more slippery, so when using dilute watercolor (i.e., pigment with a lot of water mixed in) it tended to remove the earlier layers of paint no matter how soft the brush and how lightly I pressed on the surface. I had to switch to using thicker applications of watercolor paint with very little water added to the paint. I could layer the thicker paint, using a light touch, and blend the new paint in with the earlier layers. Glazing thin washes didn't work.

As a watercolor artist that is used to applying thin glazes and gradually shifting to paints that have less water, I found it a bit uncomfortable using paint at a buttery consistency for most of the painting.  It felt much more like painting with oil paints, which I haven't done in 20+ years. I had to remember how to blend oil paints and use techniques much more like that. I reviewed information on and found out there is a lot of sizing on the canvas and if you wet and rub the canvas before starting to paint the "slipperiness" of the canvas is much reduced.  Of course it was too late to do that. Another tip was to apply and blend paint with the edge of the brush rather than the tip of the brush. I considered pulling out my fan brush for blending, but never did. 

"Scumbling" lighter color paint over darker passages, allowing the darker color to peek through the lighter passage became important for adding highlights; not something you do with watercolor since it is so transparent that you have to preserve light areas and not apply them at the end. 

The completed work is not transparent watercolor, so to make this painting come to life my focus was on color, light, and dark.

Comment to let me know if this painting brings back memories for you.   

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Copyright April M Rimpo All Rights Reserved. You may share my work with attribution and a link to this source site, but all other uses are prohibited.

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