Art, My Creations, Sketches, Watercolors

Day 22: Some salted watercolor experiments

More in my watercolor studies.

While reading up on watercolor techniques, I was hearing a lot about using salt to generate unexpected textures. I definitely wanted to try my own hand at this.

Not that my enthusiasm necessarily translated to success on paper.

I made two attempts. This is one:


The second… Well, it started off promising.

I made some big swatches of sunset color:


…then sprinkled a generous helping of regular table salt (which I don’t eat and wanted to get rid of somehow) on the “sky” and “land” sections:


Now, I initially included ground sea salt, to see what variety of shapes would occur. Turns out the bigger chunks create larger, more prominent starbursts that 1) were too large relative to the size of my canvas, and 2) wouldn’t show up properly with so much salt around it. The sea salt also kept leaving behind a yucky black crust.

I scraped everything off, replenished the color, and tried again, with just table salt.

This was the result:


The issues? Among the many: spots with no saturation in the red and yellow strips (where I hadn’t used any salt), wacky color separation in the sky where I kept trying to add more color for the salt to suck up, and no starburst texture in that same sky to boot.

I actually didn’t mind the unintended texture effect in the red and yellow portions. I even liked the one drip of excess water that fell from the sky.

But the rest. Yeah.

In hindsight, I’m wondering whether the higher ratio of water to paint rendered the salt unable to pull more color into itself. I think this is why the salt technique worked so well with #1, because I was able to apply more color to the base pre-salt layer.

I’m also debating what, if anything, I could do to salvage this thing, whether it involves more playing with color, or just filling the unattractive spaces with focal subjects that can detract from the general murkiness instead.

As for #1… the effect is pretty, but I have no idea where to take the painting from here. And also, does it really have much more value than its emulating a cheesy tie-dye shirt?

Not super happy today.

Any suggestions??

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