Monday, October 1, 2012


My whole idea to go play with watercolors is driving me a bit batty. I'm having problems with the...well, the scrubbyness of it all. I still haven't started in on the actual one I drew out, instead making quick fake faces to keep trying to find my groove. They're awkward because I really don't care about accuracy, I am just trying to give myself something to shade and see what it does:

Hot-press on top, Cold-press on the bottom sheet.
Some of the smudgyness is also due to me experimenting with the watercolor pencils in combination to see if that did anything (not really, except make a mess.)

I thought that moving to hot-press would give me what wanted; a lack of texture to allow for detail. It's what my composition is sketched out on, waiting for me to get started. While it certainly can give finer detail, I'm finding my sheet to be exceptionally absorbent? Is that normal? I just don't remember! If I lay color down, I can't come back a moment later with water and push it like I can on the cold-press. I found that it makes a difference if I'm using actual watercolors or acrylic diluted and used like watercolors. The color is better with the acrylics, but handling is better with the tube watercolors (which I suppose makes sense since the watercolors don't set the same way, although it only makes a difference on the hot-press, I can still push on the cold.)

More, the grain seems to be finer on the hot-press so if I do manage to move some color, it can ball up a bit (minuscule, but I can see it, so not good! Yes, I'm a scrubber, but I know better than to go to town scrubbing, so I'm desperately trying not to!) I'm also having trouble wrapping my head around the rougher appearance that watercolors naturally have. Close up, they can be puddly, or rough in a way that colored pencil or pastel can sometimes look. I think that's why I ended up in oils; I can push the paint around to my heart's content, and it's smooth. Even working in my acrylics (which I have been doing non-stop for over a year now) is sometimes hard for me because it restricts pushing, and can end up rough due to the fast drying times without adding something to slow it all down. I haven't really found a favorite to add, either. Nothing seems to really make them slick like oils, and if all I do is increase the drying time to the same as oils, I'd rather just switch back. It's the drying time that cause me to shift in the first place, although I do have paintings still going in both.

My white rabbit painting, Tea Time, that I posted recently is acrylics and I didn't slow down the process, so there are areas that make me want to bang my head on the wall. At least I like it anyway! Maybe I have to just learn to like it and move forward with the watercolors too. I used to paint loose with them, and mostly abstract or landscapes. I'm shooting for detail on this one, and I think I never really achieved that in my past experience. (Advice, any advice welcome!)

Layering, too. Must wrap my head around layering! It's hard to remember that I build up the washes, rather than create the depth with paint like I'm used to.

I think I challenged myself more than I expected with my simple little idea to go play. Good grief!


Jeri Landers said...

Kyra, I am so confused!
I just use 140lb cold press paper with medium texture and get as much detail as I want using watercolor in a tube. It has been years since I used acrylics and I never got the hang of oils.It is difficult moving from one medium to another with an entirely different set of rules. I just make up my own rules as I go.

Thanks for viewing my video. We all have our own comfortable setting for working. I personally cannot take white walls and my studio is really rather dark and atmospheric. But I use good lighting at my art table to make up for it.

Kyra said...

Jeri, you can dilute acrylics to work like watercolors, it seems to give a... deeper color tone. I do love your studio, I think I'd enjoy visiting it! I love all the bits!