Sunday, January 13, 2013
Alternate watercolour techniques
6” x 18”
Available through Spurrell Gallery, St. John's, NL
Its good to flex my artistic boundaries and play around with the interaction between the real world and that which is on paper. One way to do this is through frozen watercolour. Of course being in a northern climate, it makes it a little easier during winter to be able to test this out.
Frozen watercolour is a technique of exposing very wet watercolour pigments on a paper surface to freezing temperatures. The result is unpredictable, always different and quite unique.
In the painting at the top of this post, Frozen Pond, I wet just the water section of the painting before freezing so I would only obtain the patterning on that section of the piece. The majority of the frost patterning is on the right of the painting, just where I wanted it. I used optimal temperatures for this piece and in the image below, it was much colder. You can see the difference in results for the formation of ice crystals. They are longer and sharper then in the lower temperatures.
I hope to create a full tutorial on the subject, but will share what I have learned here if you would like to try this technique yourself.
1. I have found that optimum temperatures are between –5C and –7C (23F – 19F) that produce the classic feathery frost patterning. If very cold (-12C – 10F plus) the patterns formed are random sharp crystals.
2. A domestic freezer will not produce temperatures low enough to affect the water on the surface. It will freeze but with no resulting pattern.
3. Wind and humidity play a role in the pattern formation and you have no control over the end results.
4. The paper must be flooded with water, then very strong pigment washes dropped onto the surface, then quickly placed outside on a flat surface.
5. Allow about 30 minutes for the freezing process to take place.
6. The best watercolour paper to use is 200lb if not stretched. 140lb MUST be stretched prior to the freezing or it will buckle when wet and the crystals will form in the wetter areas.
7. Each and every time will provide a different result, based on weather, wind, humidity, paper, pigment, amount of water, etc.
8. An image can be painted and let dry then glazed with wet washes that freeze over the original painting. (see fish above)