Monday, September 26, 2011

Experimenting with fixative layers, Part 2

5x10 inches


This post is a continuation from yesterday. -Click here- for part 1.

So I stopped spraying after the three layers from yesterday night. I think I reached the limit of what would be paintable. Even though the fixative is supposed to be workable with watercolors, I could see that it was slowly clogging up the paper's porousness. In some areas like the upper left, especially, it starts to get really grainy. Which isn't a bad thing -- it added a new dimension of texture. But I can see that if I kept going, the pigment would just start to roll off. Maybe a lighter hand with spraying in the future, would allow for more layers.

Also, that weird blotchiness that I mentioned this particular sheet of paper had? That never quite went away, but those areas started repelling pigment even more so than others. I was left with a lot of mottled whitish areas that were just refusing to take any color.


I pulled out a white gel pen, and started doing something with those splotches. Some of those splotches I had done on purpose; it was the ones from the paper's weirdness that I had to work at more to integrate. I added a dusting of white highlights in those areas, as well as adding highlights to the figure herself.

A lot of this is something I would usually have done via lifting instead. But because of the fixative, it kind of turns this whole process into something like a melding of watercolor and acrylic techniques. It's watercolor while a current layer is wet, but then it becomes permanent like acrylic once it's dried and I spray it.







Softening the hard edges of the gel-pen white. Adding more hints of blues and oranges to the shading.

Happy with the result, and definitely something I will try again in the future. I was pushing the extreme with this one, spraying so often and across the whole piece, but it was to see how far I could take it. Probably would use it more selectively, and with a lighter hand on the spray nozzle!

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this very interesting technique experiment with us. I imagine you could better control the later fixative effects if you masked off the area you weren't working on, but I wonder how it would interact with your mask. I guess that at the very least, you could put some cardstock over parts of your work while you spray it.

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  2. The painting is simply stunning! Excellent work, and it was interesting to read about your experience with fixative layers too.

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  3. Hi Stephanie, your works are wonderful *o*
    I added you in my sites list on my blog!
    http://behind-the-curtain-emanuela.blogspot.com/

    ❤ have a nice day!
    Emanuela.

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  4. I must say I love grainy texture that came with fixative. Great work.

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  5. Love it! You have done texture well and compensated nicely for those splotches, making them a highlight of the piece. Nice!

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  6. Stephanie,

    Thanks for the very informative walkthrough! The fixative certainly does add a new, grainy texture, and could be quite interesting when planned for! The depth of color resulting from fixative use is just beautiful.

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  7. Are you familiar with this product from Daniel Smith.com http://www.danielsmith.com/Item--i-284-055-001
    Their watercolor painting ground. I'm using it on the back of an acoustic guitar I'm painting a fantasy scene in watercolor on it. The whole thing is blowing me away on being able to do this! Anyway I mention this because you could use this next time and just cover that area so it can the be paintable. LOL! That sounds so weird! Anyway great job on how you worked your way through that bit of frustration.

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  8. I've not heard of it before, but it looks interesting! I'll have to give it a try.

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  9. Oh, she is so beautiful and serene! (I love your work... and you do such wonderful things with glowing light!)

    Thanks again for sharing your experiences with this experiment.

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  10. This piece is just gorgeous! I think you may have inspired me to paint a painting with galaxies and nebulae now! :)

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  11. I was just going through the old posts and had missed this one before. I love it.... You are just amazing. I had a watercolor painting that I was giving to a little girl and was thinking that maybe I should spray it with fixative just in case but was scared to thinking it might spoil my paint. Not only did you show me otherwise but also you showed a very unique and interesting way to paint. Thank you so much.

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  12. You're welcome Robin! I've actually really come to like working this way.

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  13. Thanks for posting your experiment. I just had the same idea with using the fixative between layers, and decided to do a quick google to see if anyone had already given it a whirl. I'm headed out to grab some fixative... thanks again. Beautiful work!

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