Living in a cold winter climate, sub zero temperatures are usually the norm for the long winter months and I'm not a winter person. However, I have decided that rather than fight winter, I will make use of it in creating my art. This is the rationale behind creating images using frozen watercolours.
I had read some time ago about someone using ice crystals as a technique in watercolour and thought that I'd experiment and see what I could come up with. Early this morning while it was still cold enough I wet a piece of watercolour paper and added pigment, then while it was still very wet, put it outside in the garden. I weighted the edges with stones so it wouldn't blow away, then after about 30 minutes or so, I went out to see what nature had painted for me.
Ice crystals had formed beautiful, delicate, feathery patterns on the wet paper, pulling the pigment into the shapes and blending them. I took the paper inside to let it dry completely and this image is the result. If you click on the image, you can enlarge it to see the pattern more clearly. I have deepened the colours a little so that the patterning stands out. I tried a few more pieces, but the temperature rose today and it wasn't cold enough to freeze the water on the paper. I also put a piece in the freezer, but that didn't have the desired effect. Air and natural cold seems to work best. There is scientific research behind how ice crystals grow and at what temperatures at A Snow Crystal Primer. This morning's temperature was around -2 or -3C so it will be interesting to see what changes in shape take place as the temperature drops.
For example, we see that thin plates and stars grow around -2 C (28 F), while columns and slender needles appear near -5 C (23 F). Plates and stars again form near -15 C (5 F), and a combination of plates and columns are made around -30 C (-22 F).
Furthermore, we see from the diagram that snow crystals tend to form simpler shapes when the humidity (supersaturation) is low, while more complex shapes at higher humidities. The most extreme shapes -- long needles around -5C and large, thin plates around -15C -- form when the humidity is especially high.
I now have to wait until New Year's Eve when the daytime and night time temperatures are predicted to be well below freezing again. Just when I want it to be cold, it won't cooperate! But that's ok, it will give me time to plan various pieces with this new technique.