Watercolor Painting – Preserving Whites

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 27,048
    Craft Expert Catherine Hillis discusses how to preserve the whites of the watercolor paper.

    Catherine Hillis: Hi! I am Catherine Hillis and I am a professional watercolor artist, and I am teaching you how to paint in watercolors. Now, I am going to teach you how to preserve the whites of the watercolor paper. Now, we don't use black paint, and we don't use white paint in traditional watercolor painting, and when we use white, what we are doing is, saving the white of the paper to look like white in your painting.

    So, you want to preserve the area, that has to be white, and one of the ways that we do that is to paint around the white, or you can use a masking fluid, and masking fluid will be put on the paper, you'll apply it, it will dry, and then you can paint your entire painting, and at the end of the painting when you're finished and when the piece is dry, you can take the masking fluid off, and you'll be left with the beautiful white paper. Nothing is more lovely than the contrast between the watercolor paint, and the white of the paper. So, I am going to show you how to use masking fluid right now. First of all, you want to use an older brush, this is a special brush that's made for using with masking fluid, but you can also just use an older brush. Then usually when I have this brush, I soap it up with liquid soap. It can be any kind of liquid soap, and you want to rub it into the bristles really well. What we're hoping for, is that this will preserve the brush, and when we wash this product out, the brush will still be usable. So I've got the brush all soaped up, and now I am ready to apply the liquid masking fluid. You just want to dip the brush into the masking fluid, this is a little bit like a rubber cement, but you don't want to use rubber cement on watercolor paper of course, because it's special paper. You want to use the special type of masking fluid. So you take the loaded brush and you apply the frisket or the masking fluid, wherever you think you would like to have white, and you'll just apply it, and you'll keep dipping the brush into the masking fluid. You may need to re-soap the brush. So there is a lot of area here on this turtle; this is a turtle, that I want to preserve his white. When I am finished using this material, what I am going to do is wash the brush very, very carefully with lots of soap and water. Hopefully, I've preserved the brush and I'll be able to use it again. Now I'd like to show you what happens when you use masking fluid. I have over here a completed painting of a turtle underwater. This is the same as the drawing that I just put masking fluid on, and you can see where I had applied masking fluid all around the turtle, and at the very end when the whole painting was completed, I just took an eraser or a special tool that's made for taking off masking fluid, and I just gently rubbed these areas where the masking fluid was on, and I took it off. Now I would say the most important thing here is to be sure the painting is very, very dry, and the masking fluid is very dry. I also want you to know that when you apply masking fluid, you must allow it to dry thoroughly and then you paint your whole painting on top of it, and walla! You have a beautiful piece with the white of the paper showing. So, that's how you preserve whites in watercolor paper. Next, I am going to teach you how to paint two beautiful skies in watercolors.