Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Art Class: Masking Fluid

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians!!!

Today, we will be looking at masking fluid, and then it will follow with a painting demo. Sometimes, painting with watercolours can be tricky, especially when you’re applying background washes, and there’s small, or intricate, items to paint around. Since watercolour is transparent, it’s not like acrylic where you can paint a layer, and then paint on top without a problem. This is where masking fluid plays an essential role of taking out some of the stress.

Masking fluid reserves white space. You apply it, let it dry, paint on top, and then remove to reveal perfectly preserved areas of white. There are some things that you need to know about it:

  • Be sure to shake the bottle, so that all the elements of the fluid mix together to provide consistent coverage. Note: these bottles last forever! This is my second bottle of masking fluid, I’ve had it for probably two years, and it’s only a quarter gone – a wonderful investment!
  • Some masking fluids are tinted, some are not. The tinted ones let you see it better on the paper. Neither will leave behind colour or residue. I’ve worked with a few different brands, and they all work the same – so my preference is pretty neutral. I tend to buy whichever may be on sale at the time.
  • Use an old brush. This stuff dries quickly, and you may not be able to wash your brush and restore to it’s original state before you’re finished. I have two reserved brushes, one large and one small. They are brushes that I no longer used for painting. They tend to get a plastic-like feeling.
  • You must let the fluid completely dry before applying paint over it
  • Be careful for air bubbles: if they ‘pop’ before it’s dry, you may end up with small dots of colour where you had originally wanted white
  • In my experience: painting masking fluid over colour has not worked well for me: it takes some of the colour away with it when I remove it.

This is a wonderful item to experiment with. Once it’s dry, use an eraser to gently remove it. If you are too rough, you may take some paper with it too.

Now for my painting demo. I am using masking fluid here to reserve my tree against a black sky.

If you don’t have masking fluid there are other techniques to reserve white in watercolours. You can use masking tape (cut into a shape if needed….and masking tape works for acrylic too). Just try not to leave the masking tape on for more than a day or two if possible – the longer it’s on, the harder it is to remove.

First is to create a sketch, and then apply the masking fluid where necessary:


Once dry, you can apply the background wash:

Wait until the paint is completely dry, and then you can gently remove the masking fluid, and you’re left with white:

And then fill in the reserved spaces:


Ghostly – Watercolour ACEO

I couldn’t resist doing little ghosts, I do just love Halloween :o).

1 comment:

Cathy said...

I love your work, it's talking to m'y heart! Don't monde my english because I'm french!
Enjoy your art