Sunday, May 31, 2009

Taking Flight

This painting grew from remembering a technique I had seen demonstrated in 1977 by Zoltan Szabo. I wanted a dark but interesting marsh background for the egret rising from the ground.

First I sketched the bird on Arches 300 lb coldpress watercolor paper and applied masking fluid to the the head, body, front wing and the center of the back wing which I wanted to try to depict in motion by lifting the feathers along the edge.

Next I wet the entire piece of paper and applied a couple of staining colors, sap green and winsor violet. I primarily use non-staining colors so that I can lift them, but in this case, I needed stains. I tried not to fill the area I planned to lift with these colors and I also dropped in a bit of non-staining cobalt blue for a hint of sky that might or might not be visible through the grasses. I let the painting dry completely.

Next I used various combinations of French Ultramarine blue and burnt sienna, ranging from brown to deep blue and stroked them vertically and at an angle across the entire masked underpainting. Only small areas of the violet and green remained and the stains gave many hues to the overpainted areas.

Next I lifted carefully marsh grasses from areas where the staining colors were strongest and scrubbed a bit harder on the feathers of the far wing of the egret. When this dried, I carefully removed the masking fluid with a rubber cement lifter, which has now become a tool for lifting masking fluid.

No comments: