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Old 12-16-2001, 05:36 PM   #1
Tarique Beg Tarique Beg is offline
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Water colour on acrylic gesso




Hi folks,

By the way, has anyone tried transparent water colour on a smooth (sand-papered) acrylic gesso background, that is sprayed over with a transparent acrylic layer to make it waterproof after the painting is finished.

The reason I ask is because while water colour can be quite unforgiving on absorbent water colour paper, I find I can edit ad-infinitum with water colour on a non absorbent surface (which however has some tooth although quite smooth).

With acrylics, of course I could always sand paper out mistakes and redo them, but with water colour it's so much easier to simply wipe paint off with a damp brush (provided the surface is non-absorbent).

Eventually, I'm able to create quite a luminous painting which I've been spraying over with acrylic varnish.

My question is how permanent is this technique, if I can call it so ? I read that water colour was one of the most permanent mediums. My only worry here is whether the final acrylic varnish layer can effectively seal in the paint and make it impervious to dampness and scratches.

If anyone out there has experimented with this method all advice will be highly appreciated. I think this question is ideal for Virgil Elliot.

Hey! Virgil!! are you reading this??

Tarique.
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Old 01-12-2002, 07:42 PM   #2
Karin Wells Karin Wells is offline
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I'm obviously not Virgil, but I've got an opinion and a question or two

Opinion: I should think that an acrylic varnish would nicely seal this surface and protect it rather well.

Questions: How do you work with watercolor on a surface like this and blend smoothly or layer more color without getting a "spotty" effect? What substrate do you use under the gesso?

I am curious, can you post a sample of this technique here?
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Old 01-12-2002, 10:42 PM   #3
Virgil Elliott Virgil Elliott is offline
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Tarique,

It would be better to do it without the varnish, and just frame the picture under glass when it's finished. Varnish sometimes requires removal, as they can develop various defects when they get old. Watercolor is not likely to survive the varnish removal process intact, as it remains water-soluble forever. Alcohol is often used to remove old varnish, and alcohol would probably attack the watercolor paint.

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Old 01-19-2002, 07:41 PM   #4
Tarique Beg Tarique Beg is offline
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Hi Karin,

Actually, I was using this watercolor on Acrylic Gesso for landscapes. Today, I tried to do a portrait, but found you're absolutely right. It is close to impossible to do detailed realistic work with this technique unless you keep spraying each layer with acrylic varnish as go build up. Otherwise, every subsequent layer tends to completely erase the previous. I had a little better success using soft sable brushes, but it was still too difficult. So, I've given up on this technique. I'm going back to water colour paper I think.

Anyway, here is a monochrome drawing I did from a photograph using Conte A Paris. Essentially, it allows infinite editing. I don't use white at all. Instead, I use several erasers, to lighten areas or put in highlights. I hope my drawing is correct enough. Give me some input on how to improve it. The photograph is not taken by me, otherwise, I would have lighted it differently.

Tarique
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Old 01-20-2002, 03:48 PM   #5
Karin Wells Karin Wells is offline
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Wow. I think that this a very nice drawing that you did and I can't think of a darn thing that would improve it.

I usually advise people (myself included) not to draw or paint someone with their mouth open and teeth showing. However, you did it and did it well...congratulations on a great drawing.

...Bummer that you didn't take the original photograph or you could soak up ALL the well-deserved glory for this portrait!
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Old 01-20-2002, 04:06 PM   #6
Cynthia Daniel Cynthia Daniel is offline
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Tarique,

This is the first time I've seen your work and I'm very impressed! Beautiful!
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Old 01-21-2002, 02:21 AM   #7
Tarique Beg Tarique Beg is offline
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Karin and Cynthia

Thanks a lot for the encouragement. I really need it. Actually, the original is softer. The one posted here became a little too contrasty while scanning it. It took me about two hours to do this, because of the darned teeth. Perhaps that should not be done in a professional portrait. I don't know too much about the conventions in the West, but in India, I had to paint some businessmen who insisted on showing their teeth, especially because they had some 24 karat gold ones as well, and so it was a matter of honour, blah, blah...

Anyway, I've got myself a 3.3 meg digital camera and two portable lights and a portable background. I can use two umbrellas or one umbrella and a softer box light, and everything disassembles and packs into one large suitcase I can carry. The company was Calumet in San Fran. I've done a lot of work with black and white and slide photography, but when I saw the results of my Sony DSC-75 digital camera (carl zieus lens), I couldn't believe the details that show up in the shadows. I can't wait to start taking my own portrait photographs now.

Tarique
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Old 01-21-2002, 10:38 AM   #8
Karin Wells Karin Wells is offline
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"...Anyway, I've got myself a 3.3 meg digital camera and two portable lights and a portable background....."

Remember, just use ONE of your lights at a time! ....the Old Masters only used A SINGLE SOURCE OF LIGHT and this is the most basic principal you can EVER learn if you wish to pursue any form of realism in art!

If you want to be a really good artist, there are no exceptions to this rule.....
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Old 01-21-2002, 01:17 PM   #9
Tarique Beg Tarique Beg is offline
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Karin

I have read up thoroughly on your single source lighting and other extremely helpful posts about the things to look for when composing a portrait and other rendering details. I too like the way the old masters used simple single source lighting to create their timeless paintings. Actually, I got the second light at a reduced cost since they were selling both as a package. I thought it could use it as a fill in for the shadows but in a very controlled way. Or perhaps, to occassionally get some special effects perhaps. The strobes they sold me at Calumet allow me to individually control intensity on each light through a wide range. Actually, I think even the fill for shadows could be better taken care of by a reflector instead of a second light. Right ??? Most probably I'll find the second light redundant with the right kind of reflector which would considerably lighten my portable system.

Karin, I really like your portrait of the boy on the couch resting his face in his left hand. That's the kind of lighting that I find most pleasing. I also, like the way the background is has interesting details that seem to tell a story about the picture but in a subdued way. I'm sure you must have acheived that with carefully thought out lighting. I think it's a great portrait!!

Tarique
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Old 01-21-2002, 04:35 PM   #10
Karin Wells Karin Wells is offline
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Yes, the fill for shadows could be better taken care of by a reflector instead of a second light....and thank you for your kind words
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