|Memories of Gas Street Basin
Textures and dark shadows.
A study of moving water.
Study of a shiny surface.
|If you find these demonstrations, or the notes on paper and pigments etc., useful, plese could you set up a link to this page so that others may also find the page. Thanks. http://www.garthallan.co.uk/demonstration.htm|
About Masking Fluid & Rubbers.
2. METHOD OF MANUFACTURE
A full size sheet of Mould paper can always be identified by the deckle edge, where the Stock faded out at the edge of the mould.
The contamination can also affect the paper while it is exposed on your easel if you take several days over the work. The paper can become unevenly adsorbent, making very uneven applications of colour, though they tend to even up as they dry.
To be safe keep the works covered all the time when not in use. Storing flat in a plastic bag will protect them whilst also helping to keep them flat for framing.
4. My Personal Choice of Paper
For a smooth paper I prefer Whatman's HP. It is a delicate paper which must be handled with care as the surface can be easily bruised. Sometimes it is a bit dry, giving a hard edge to a wash while it is still being laid. To prevent this I usually dampening the paper to kill the dryness. Laid flat, with a very wet wash of granualting pigments can give very pronounced granulation.
For NOT surfaces I prefer Winsor and Newton NOT. (Whatman's I have discarded because of the problem with Pthalocyanine blue pigment which I feel is essential for clear skies.) The pigments are well adhered to the surface, but are fairly easily lifted to make alterations. Care has to be taken with the first wash as it tends to cauliflower if ponds are allowed to form. Keep the board sloping, or pre-stretch the paper.
1. PIGMENTS NAMES
Early Artists struggled to make their own pigments using the materials which were available to them. Many of them were completely unsuitable as we can see as we look at their paintings today where there have clearly been colour changes and fading.
Pigments were given very romantic sounding names, and it is perhaps for that reason that they are still available today. Van Dyke Brown, Rose Madder etc.
Many new pigments have become available to overcome these disadvantages, and in choosing a pallette the artist should not be enticed by the romantic names, but should buy pigments which will have the characteristics that the artist needs.
2. PIGMENT CHARACTERISTICS
Transparent colours should be used for skies, water and for other transparent situations.
Opaque or Semi-Opaque colours should be used to give a more solid feeling to trees, buildings and foreground.
Mixtures of textured pigments can make very pronounced texture effects.
Textured pigments are ideal for the texture of a tree, or shadows on a white wall. They should be avoided for transparent situations like sky or water.
Some pigments do not get on well together and produce strong texture pattern when they are mixed together. This can occur with pigments which alone do not produce texture. Such a combination is Winsor Blue and Cadmium Red.
Stains Some pigments soak into the paper and make a stain which can only be lightly removed with difficulty. Stains are liquid colours.
Liftable colours generally come from finely ground pigments, earths etc., which are glued on the surface of the paper rather than soaking into it.
Use of Stains
Good pigment manufacturers supply a chart identifying each of these characteristics for each of their pigments. If your local art shop cannot provide these leaflets try telephoning the manufacturers' technical department. Alteratively buy a copy of "The Wilcox Guilde to the Finest watercolours" by Micheal Wilcox, ISBN 0 89134 409 8. Most manufacturers' pigments are listed.
3. TESTING PIGMENTS
Make a really strong mixture of pigment, almost as thick as mud. Apply this mixture a test paper as a wash, diluting the pond as you go to creat a graduated wash. When really bone dry (use a hair dryer) try lifting a thin line of paint using a flat brush. If it lifts cleanly you have a pigment that will lift on that particular paper. If it leaves various degrees of stain, then you have a stain.
Try making a mask of pscrap paper, amd using a NATURAL sponge, try washing the exposed portion of pigment away. Again this will give you a measure of liftability.
Try a wash of clean water round the edge of the first wash. If it bleeds, then that pigment should be kept to the end of the painting process.
4. PIGMENT CATEGORIES
Pigments can be classified into different families according to their origin.
Some of them are heated (calcined) to create a darker variety, hence Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber.
They are finely ground to make into paint, but nevertheless they tend to be particles which will not stain the paper and as a result can generally be fully lifted. In some case, like Yellow Ochre, they will lift extremely easily.
They are absolutely permanent, the ancient cave paintings used these materials and the colours are still there to see.
The roasting process tends to create different shades, so on the cheaper ranges some manufacturers mix a dark and a light roast to give the right colour. Unfortunately the colours will separate when painting wet washes giving you an effect that you might or might not want!
They are all opaque or semi-opaque colours.
Many artists do not have black in their palette as you can create more variety within your blacks by mixing complementaries.
Many of the pigments are not permanent and much work has been done to replace these pigments with organic permanent colours.
Examples are Vermilion produced by burning mercury in sulphur to produce a black residue which is finely ground to produce the colour.
Other examples are Prussian Blue, (Ferric Ferrocyanide). Chrome Yellow (Lead Chromate). Viridian (Hydrated Chromium Oxide). Cobalt (Cobalt aluminate) Cadmium Red (Cadmium sulphoselenide).
Being all totally different chemicals they will all have different properties. Some of them (Cadmium colours for example) are highly stable and lightfast.
In general they have all been developed since the discovery of Mauvine by Perkins in 1856. The prime interest being to replace some of the disadvantages of the earlier pigments.
They are often complex chemicals, coming in different families, such as Azos, Arylamides, Naphols etc. Within the families there are numerous subtle changes which affect the pigments properties.
5. PIGMENT LABELLING
There is a move by the ASTMS committee to establish a common practice in labelling so soon we should begin to see:-
Many new paints being offered are in fact mixtures of other pigments. e.g. Paynes Grey. Using the basic colours rather than the mixtures will give much more variety to your painting, mean carrying less tubes, and therefore less chance of tubes drying out.
Some mixtures are of totally unsuitable pigments, e.g. Rowneys Brown Pink, a mixture of a yellow dye and insoluble earth pigment. It goes on as lovely brown colour, but the brown will lift to leave the naked yellow stain producing very unpredictable effects.
Another disadvantage of using mixtures, is that they are tertiary colours and therefore by definition can only produce further tertiary colours reducing the artists ability to find bright clean colours in the pallette.
It is recommended that the artist selects pure pigments and avoids mixtures.
6. PIGMENT ADDITATIVES.
It is water soluble, and always remains soluble Thus pigment made of Gum Arabic can be dissolved no matter how hard they have become. Because of the solubility of the gum Arabic, they will tend to dissolve if they are re-wetted on the paper. Where pigments have gone hard, if they are Artists Quality, the gum Arabic can be softened by wetting them the night before they are required.
These are often heavily filled with extenders and should be avoided by the serious artist for that reason.
7. My Personal Choices
1. DESIREABLE BRUSH CHARACTERISTICS
2. TYPES OF HAIR
3. BRUSH SHAPES
They come in sizes from 3/16ths to bigger than an inch. A small one is very useful for painting windows and shimmering reflections. The 1/2 inch size is a good general purpose brush.
Introduced to the country from South East Asia by Ron Ranson. A flat brush, 2 inches wide, made from goat hair. They hold an enormous volume of liquid, (almost too much), they can be shaped to paint around areas. The hairs are very soft and can be pushed into any shape that you want. In that way they can be distorted to produce random shapes for trees and grass. They need very big mixing ponds and big tubes of paint to use as they hold a very large volume of paint. Ron Ranson uses a large baker's tray to mix sufficient paint.
Bamboo handled and made from pony tail. They come in different sizes, and two types, bushy and very long and thin. They hold a lot of paint. The pointed ones are amazingly flexible adjusting from thick to extremely fine in one stroke. Useful for rigging and branches (provided you do not succumb to making them sinuous).
Not really a brush, but very useful for drawing fine lines. Watercolour will work quite well in a mapping pen, particularly the stains.
4. MASKING FLUID or DRAWING GUM
It works well on a hard surface wood pulp paper like Bockingford. It does not work so well on softer cotton papers as it soaks into the paper and cannot so easily be rubbed off without tearing. The best technique seems to be to rub the masking fluid away with a ball of paper tissue, or a rolling a ball of half dried sticky gum over the dried fluid. (The bit that collects round the cap!). Cannot be removed at all from rough papers.
It is a treacly liquid, difficult to use as it comes out of the pot, but it can be diluted with water, about half and half seems to be a good mixture. Diluted it will work well producing fine lines which can be applied with a mapping pen, brush, or ruling pen (spring bow). The bow is useful since there is no danger of ruining a brush, the pen can be easily used. Don't use it as a rule, but holding it like a brush to get a variety of marks.
Colour the fluid whilst it is being diluted by adding some liftable pigment, (Ultramarine), which will enables one to see where the fluid has been placed.
Do add paint to the white mark left by the masking fluid to soften the harshness a little, and to disguise the characteristic marks of the fluid.
5. PUTTY RUBBERS
The different manufacturer's putty rubbers vary considerably. Some work well others are almost useless for watercolour work. To use they are kneaded in the hand until they become sticky, then they are 'dabbed' on the paper, and they seem to pull graphite or light pencil marks away almost as a result of their stickyness rather than by rubbing the surface away. Because they are kneadable they can be shaped to a point, a very useful feature. I personnaly prefer the Faber Castell Kneadable Putty Rubber, which I find a delight to use though it is very difficult to find supplies.
A suggestion which I picked up from another web site - use Blue Tack. Following the suggestion I have found that it behaves in a similar way to the difficult to get Faber Castell putty rubbers. Perhaps the problem is solved!