Progress Update Working with Golden Absorbent Ground and Fineline Masking Fluid, on The First Snow 01.25.20

Golden Absorbent Ground Pattern before Fineline Liquid Masking for The First Snow
Golden Absorbent Ground Pattern before Fineline Liquid Masking for The First Snow

So here we are again (if you read my immediate previous post 😊) – above is the starting Golden Absorbent Ground. I patterned it vertically on purpose, though relatively lightly compared to some absorbent grounds I prepared after this one. All part of seeing what I can do for when I’d like to, lol!

I have “formed” forms (like florals) with paint and – sometimes, marble dust, both acrylic and with water soluble oils, but the newness (to me) and unknowns of how molded/formed absorbent grounds would hold up, has me tiptoeing 😊

In addition, I already know there are slight alterations to the surface when I place the isolation layer and varnish, though less so w/the latter with matte vs gloss varnish.

It just means going slow on some things.

There are a few things I’ve picked up about watercolors and absorbent ground that have me moving a little faster in my experiments. But that’s for another post 😊

Below, after holding onto the absorbent ground blank canvas for probably over a week, are my 1st choices – and believe me, these are choices, not something I have to do – yes, my first choices defining the trees I see with masking fluid…

Golden Absorbent Ground Pattern with Fineline Liquid Masking for The First Snow
Golden Absorbent Ground Pattern with Fineline Liquid Masking for The First Snow

I could have chosen wider tree trunks, and defined the edges accordingly, but I saw and I liked the idea of this strand of skinny trees spread out across a natural forest ground.

Because the lines were long and mostly unbroken, the masking fluid would bead into a bubble here and there. At this time I didn’t know I could drag the bubble with a toothpick to string it out skinny again, but it worked out kinda fun anyway 😊

Where the lines joined or got wiggly, I just left them so. I figured if I couldn’t figure out what to do with them, how to make them work with the final image, I could simply paint over the areas left white. I realize now that probably wouldn’t have been any easy fix ‘cause of their length and how the background developed.

The idea was to preserve white space areas of skinny trees that would resist the washes, and thus allow me to create a smoothly transitioning background.

That, I realized, was what I really was experimenting to see how it’d work.

Or not, lol!

Below, another day later, is my 1st wash lay-in. Plus something else (those long brown lines) 😊

Golden Absorbent Ground Pattern with Fineline Liquid Masking & 1st watercolor inlay for The First Snow except for the burnt sienna
Golden Absorbent Ground Pattern with Fineline Liquid Masking & 1st watercolor inlay for The First Snow except for the burnt sienna

The washes were a simple process of tiny amounts of pigment and lots of water!

The brown lines are another resist to parallel the resist of the masking fluid lines, they’re acrylic, which I’d just read, can act as a resist when dry, since they wouldn’t absorb or attach with the watercolor washes like the absorbent ground.

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I liked what I had so far, but felt it looked too tight at the top, like I was crouching in a field of grass, not looking at a screen of trees, so I flipped the canvas vertically – as shown below.

Fineline Liquid Masking & 2nd watercolor inlay for The First Snow
Fineline Liquid Masking & 2nd watercolor inlay for The First Snow

Now, as seen above, I had a sky at the top and an anchor of ground in the bottom foreground and I laid in more washes of colors.

And below, the next day, I began peeling some of the masking tape on the right side, painting in the left side ridges of a few masking fluid lines left in near them, to see what look that gave, and started a tree-top sky look of washes.

You can also see my first dabs of – if I liked them – snow.

If I didn’t like them, I figured, this being watercolor, I could re-wet them, and wash them away or blend them with color into the background.

Fineline Liquid Masking & 3rd watercolor inlay for The First Snow - 1st Tentative Snowflakes
Fineline Liquid Masking & 3rd watercolor inlay for The First Snow – 1st Tentative Snowflakes

We had a dark cloudy day, and I let the canvas rest, choosing to paint the sides of several 6x6s I feel “may” be done. Those I do strictly with acrylic paint and medium w/a few drops of water in layers til the color feels like it really fits the painting on the front. But that’s another post for later too!

Below, the following day, the sun back like it’d had a good rest, lol, I placed more snow in the air, taking my time.

Several, actually most of the snow I’d placed two days earlier had faded considerably!

The truth of the truism I kept reading that acrylics dry darker and watercolors dry lighter was really becoming apparent. The acrylic sides I’d painted the cloudy day before looked too dark, and the nifty little snow flakes from two days prior were quite faded.

Fortunately my litany of packages from Amazon and trips to Michaels were paying off.

I was not only piecing together some quality watercolor paints and useful tools, but also received my test tube of gouache. Unlike watercolors’ transparent nature, gouache – white gouache – is opaque.

My wife (half French) has told me several times how to say “gouache” but I still feel I’m saying something offensive, lol! 😂

Fineline Liquid Masking & 4th watercolor inlay for The First Snow - painting/working the masking lines - 2nd tentative snowflakes added
Fineline Liquid Masking & 4th watercolor inlay for The First Snow – painting/working the masking lines – 2nd tentative snowflakes added

I added more snow, plus painted the left sides of masking lines I might want to keep for their color and shape.

Later, once the piece is done, the gloss isolation layer and matte varnish will have to protect paint and masking fluid. The glossy isolation layer preserves the colors, and the clear matte varnish protects against dust etc, but restores the surface feel and matte finish of the completed work – as I found out via my 1st two 6x6s!

While true that “something” could still gouge the dried masking fluid lines, that same something would then also gouge and damage the watercolor paint. The same as would be true for a dried acrylic or oil painting, though the acrylic can take a harder bump or poke, as I’ve found from unwanted experience 😊

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Below is where I finished after working on it Friday, Jan 24th.

Fineline Liquid Masking & 5th watercolor inlay for The First Snow - removing & painting remaining masking lines  - more snowflakes added
Fineline Liquid Masking & 5th watercolor inlay for The First Snow – removing & painting remaining masking lines – more snowflakes added

While much more complete – even now has a nice “gouache” sig bottom left – with more masking fluid lines stripped away, esp far left side, and intact masking fluid lines also enhanced with white gouache on their left sides, with more snow touched up to stay more visible, I don’t think it’s quite finished. Even with touches of a special blue Daniel Smith watercolor I picked up at Michaels the day before.

Very intense, I literally took a scuff mark amount, watered it down and washed the deeper blues top and bottom along edges of the already there greens and lighter blues.

Saturday I want to see how much fade has occurred, plus probably toothpick (using the term as a verb here) pin points of white onto the larger but fading watercolor whites I placed Friday.

Those latter larger white spots, less than half a dozen, aren’t shown, the light just wouldn’t let me capture a shot that didn’t come out to harsh to represent the work.

This image has been very difficult for me to capture well except in ideal soft but clear light.

If your screen allows it, expand the image of this last shot and you can see the details much more clearly. At least on my iPad Pro I can.

Once I’m all done, I’ll try to post a detail shot along with the final image ❤️

So About the Title of This Painting
I talked with my wife about the title for this little 6×6. She’s from Vermont, born & raised, went all the way through to the University of Vermont on a full scholastic scholarship (is that redundant? No, clarifying; it wasn’t athletic 😊) and I wanted her feedback on my working title, The First Snow.

I wanted a little more —

Her: We called it a snow shower

I shook my head no

Her: Or a sprinkle of snow

Me: nope

Her: You want something more artistic

Me: Yeah. Seeing snow was special for me.

She nodded her head, smiled –

The First Twinkle of Snow

Me: Yeah! That’s what I saw 💕

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Thanks everyone!
May your creative efforts be more rewarding than frustrating!
It helps me to remember that most fun things are a mix of something or other, lol! 😊

Adan

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Thanks everyone! 😊

Adan

Artist self portrait - photo of Felipe Adan Lerma on converted railway track bike ferry for the Island Line Trail connecting mainland Vermont to South Hero on Lake Champlain.

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11 comments

  1. […] post.You can see my progress with First Twinkle of Snow right up to before I ruined it at –https://felipeadanlerma.com/2020/01/25/progress-update-working-with-golden-absorbent-ground-and-fine… .These are some very tough lessons for me. I used to ruining work that was better off being ruined, […]

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh, so glad you like it! I wanted it to have something of the sparkle I felt seeing snow as rarely as I do. I used to tell folks in Vermont, when it’d be this tiny flakes, even in sunlight, it was speckling with snow, lol! 😊

      Like

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