Sunday, January 8, 2017

Liquid Frisket aka Masking Fluid

QUESTIONS: Hi, Could you tell me which liquid frisket would be best to use that would cover good and that would NOT damage your paper when lifted.  Thank you soooo much.   Carrie/Nevada

SUSIE'S REPLY: Thanks for your question Carrie!  There are several good liquid friskets aka masking fluids on the market today that won't harm your paper when removed. It is important to remember that masking fluids or liquid friskets should not be left on the paper for an extended period of time. Your type of watercolor paper needs some careful consideration too. Some watercolor paper's surfaces are softer and will not hold up to the wear and tear masking sometimes requires.

In my classes I use several masking fluids when painting my greeting cards. Each type serves a different purpose. These are all available online or in local art supply stores.

Pebeo Drawing Gum is a gray color which makes it easy to see when applying. It has a very thin consistency which helps to make some fine lines.
Contains latex.

Daniel Smith Masking Fluid is milky in the bottle and dries clear to amber in color. This makes it easy to see and helps to determine the values when painting over it with darker paints. This manufacturer advertises that it can remain on the paper for a month or more after application. I find this to be true. Contains latex.

Incredible White Mask is a high-quality, non-pigmented liquid frisket is ideal for watercolor masking. It dries to a neutral cream color that shows through dry paint, so that you can see exactly where you've masked. Slightly thicker in consistency. Contains latex.

Winsor / Newton Colorless Art Masking Fluid  a removable colorless liquid specifically designed for soft sized papers to avoid staining. Contains latex. Wash brushes immediately after use.

Blick Liquid Frisket  Tinted orange color makes it easy to see. Works best on sized paper, and should not be used on wet paper. Remove the frisket by peeling or rubbing with a soft eraser. Ideally, it should be removed within 24 to 48 hours to achieve the best results. Contains latex.

Masquepen Art Masking Fluid  The pale blue water-based latex solution is easy to see, apply, and peels away from paper without harm. Easy to see when wet or dry.  It comes in a squeeze bottle with a needle tip making application simple and effortless. Contains latex.

Molotow Grafx Art Masking Liquid Pump Markers these ready-to-use, refillable markers contain a water-repellant masking fluid that applies cleanly and rubs off easily, leaving no residue. Molotow's patented pump delivery system assures precise, mess-free application and sharp edges. Latex free. A must for the plein air painter!  An empty marker is also available to fill with other masking fluids.

More info:
Masking Fluids prevent the paper from absorbing color. Use a watercolor mask before you apply a wash to protect areas that you want to remain white. Peel away the mask when it is no longer needed.
Most masking fluids use natural latex or a synthetic compound with very similar characteristics. Some may contain an artificial colorant so that you can easily identify the areas you have masked.

Best Pencil for Drawing or Sketching on Watercolor Paper

Q: Whats the best pencil to use when drawing out my sketches on my watercolor paper? I'm using Arches 140# paper. Thanks

Susie's Reply: First of all you do not want to do a lot of drawing or sketching on watercolor paper if you will be doing any erasing For my classes I show my students how use either a hard lead 3H with a light touch to draw simple shapes or to trace an image via a light box. You don't need a detailed drawing just a shape or to locate an edge. Add details later. If I use a regular HB pencil, the lead or graphite is much softer resulting in a darker line so I erase most of the line just leaving a vague mark. This also helps keep the lead or graphite from being "sealed" in once paint or water is applied over the line. Some colors allow for erasing the pencil line from underneath and some do not. If I'm drawing on a dried wet-in-wet underpainting I like to use watercolor pencils that will blend in when painted over. As for the watersoluable pencils I find they work best when adding darker values to a light passage as they dissolve into the darker paint. But I find that they tend to "dirty" light juicy washes. I suggest to apply lighter value colors freely without lines first then go back and define the edges if you need to. The darker colors cover the lighter ones and you don't even know they were there. Challenge yourself to do as much as you can without the details of a drawing...add the details as you go. You will find your painting will not be as tight if you don't try to paint inside the lines. Go with the flow, let the watercolor paint itself, then adjust the edges to bring out the best parts of what happened!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Scraping Tool used for Watercolor???

Hello Susie!
I think your work is amazing!
I watched your videos, and stopped at the Watercolor Winter Landscape Card video.
That is absolutely amazing, like everything else you do!
I want to ask you something since, i myself, am a painter; What is the scraping tool you are using? And do you allways wetten your paper before painting with watercolor?
Thank you for sharing you great videos!

Susie's Reply:
Thanks for writing! I appreciate your kind comments.
No, I do not always wet the paper first. Sometimes, when I want to maintain hard edges I paint directly on dry paper. Sometimes I dampen the paper slightly in a small area before I apply my paint.
My scraping tool I’ve used in the video is a plastic card (credit card or gift card) cut into a desirable shape with rounded corners perfect for scraping white trees into wet passages of darker color. Here is a link to two short demos you can print using this tool and technique.
Watch for more videos coming soon in 2013.
Happy Painting!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Watercolor Paper

Hi Susie,

In the last few weeks I ordered your DVD's Beyond the Sunset and Texas Bluebonnets and Live Oaks.  They are great videos.  Would you let me know what kind of paper you are using?  My paper will not get as pliable as yours does when it is wet.  I am using 140 pound, Strathmore cold press paper. Thanks, Marie

Hi Marie,
Thanks, I'm pleased your are enjoying the DVD's.
I use and recommend Arches 140# CP paper. It is strong and durable and it works best for my style of painting. And it is a good choice for beginners who are just learning the watercolor techniques.
There are several good watercolor papers, sometimes it is fun and beneficial to experiment to see what other papers will do and how they will perform with your personal style of painting. Online art suppliers offer sampler packets to "test the waters" so to speak at a reasonable price. 
Of all my watercolor supplies I believe the most important is my paper.

Happy Painting!

Drawing with Watercolor Pencils

Hi Susie, I’m curious about something. Is it considered cheating to start off watercolor with watercolor pencils? I’ve been considering doing it that way first to teach myself the brush strokes I’d be most comfortable with by following the pencil lines. Although I’m not sure if that would hinder using actual watercolors.  Can you help me with this? Thank you for your time, Courtney

Susie's Reply:
Personally, I don’t like pencil lines in my work so using a watercolor pencil to “save” an area as I paint in my shapes is a good choice for me. Drawing with watercolor pencils is one of my favorite ways to create a guideline that assists with accurate placement when you want to paint more freely.
Keep in mind the watercolor pencil lines will dissolve when water is added.
Cheating? Certainly not!
Use them if they help you as you learn. You never know, you may outgrow their usefulness.
Happy Painting!
P.S. Use similar colors that you will use when painting i.e. Use a pink wc pencil to draw a pink rose and a green wc pencil to draw the leaves. A watercolor pencil can also be used to sign a painting. A lighter color or metallic wc pencil is very effective over dark paint.

Friday, February 17, 2012

More questions about gum arabic used for watercolors

QUESTION: Why is photo-grade gum arabic less expensive than gum arabic sold for watercolors? Can photo-grade gum arabic be used with watercolor? Thank you :-)

SUSIE"S REPLY: I did some investigating and I've learned that gum arabic is used in several forms for several purposes from food stabilizers to inks and textiles. It can be obtained in a powder, syrup, chunk solids, or pellets.
Some of its non food uses include traditional lithography, when used in paints, inks, glues, and printing.
As you mentioned it is also used in photography as well as cosmetics. Another interesting thing I learned was it is used on the postage stamps we once licked to stick on our mail.
My guess would be the photo grade gum arabic's chemical components are different than the gummy syrup used in manufacturing watercolor paints.

Can you use photo-grade gum arabic with watercolor?  If you are mixing your own tube paints it seems to me the thicker syrup type would make a more stable base for the paint.
Since I don't mix my own paint thats just my guess. Let me know if you discover any thing different!
Thanks for your question,

Metal vs Plastic watercolor palettes

QUESTION: Hi, Susie. I use tube paints and I'm wondering the differences between a metal palette and a plastic palette?  Which one is best?  I would like to keep my paints in the palette
and mist them to re-use the colors.  Any suggestions?   Debby

SUSIE'S REPLY: Debby-- Using the metal enameled butcher type trays for a watercolor palette is a very popular choice. When I began painting in the 60's I had several I used and I loved the extra large mixing areas. I can see how they would be ideal for mixing and pouring paint if you are into that technique. The metal palettes usually don't come with lids to protect the paint between uses.
The plastic palettes come in several shapes and sizes and many do have lids to help keep paints moist between painting sessions. These plastic palettes are lighter for taking with you when traveling back and forth to classes or for painting outside.

Which is best? I think it's a personal choice and it should be based on what works best for you.

My current palettes are the Richeson 22 well plastic palette (with lid) and the 32 well Jones Palette with lid. Both have flat bottom wells and large mixing areas without speedbumps. But those are my personal choices based on my painting style.

Thanks for writing!