Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Preserving "whites"...

QUESTION: The question I have that I guess most new painters have is how do you keep the white, "WHITE" while painting around it with other darker colors. Without bleeding in color where you don't want it there a easy trick? Thanks -- Dave

SUSIE'S REPLY: Dave -- Many artists work from light to dark and put in the darkest darks last to keep them from bleeding or smearing. One tip I appreciated when I was just starting out was to reserve my darker true reds until the last few finishing strokes of the painting. Most red pigments bleed easily and are hard to clean up. Probably the most popular solution for artists is to use Masking Fluid (also called Misket or Drawing Gum) which is a liquid "rubber cement" type of resist that is applied over the area you wish to preserve. You just paint over the masking (when its dry) and remove it by pealing it off when the paint is dry. A piece of drafting tape cut to fit the area will also save the whites while painting darker colors around it.
There are other types of resists but these are the most commonly used "helpers".
Warning: Using masking fluid can be habit forming! Be careful that it doesn't become a "crutch" when used too often or is always your first choice for reserving whites.
Nothing is better at developing your skills and watercolor techniques than lots of painting and practice.
Thanks for your question! Have fun as you start your watercolor journey! SUSIE

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