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June 13, 2014
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PE: Watercolour and salt

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 1:54 PM
PE 2010 stamp by projecteducate



Watercolour and salt


Watercolour painting provides us with fantastic possibilities to create various textures. They can be achieved in many different ways with use of many different side components and equipment - in this article, I'll focus on salt textures. It usually takes time to get a handle of it - like everything else - but the outcome is definitely worth it.

Spiritual walk by Kafkami Les sept merles by Sieskja Searching for you by AuroraWienhold

Water and pigment


The three factors that determine the effects are the amount of water, amount of pigment and amount of salt, with the two first being the harder part. The more water you use, the more time it takes for the paint to dry and the more time the salt has to work - therefore the pigment will be pushed further away and you'll get bigger, paler spots between darker pigment borders. Less water will get you smaller, star-like bright spots - and salt won't have time to push the pigment too far before water dries, so you'll have untouched painted surfaces with the salty bright stains (or rather the opposite of stains) here or there.

+ The Woods on His Back + by ShePaintsWithBlood Lady Moth's Nighttime Stories by TrollGirl Serenity by Inku-inku

The salt itself


Kitchen salt is the most commonly used type and it works very well. How about experimenting a bit? Thick, coarse salt can make interesting effects when there's little water and lots of pigment. Coloured bathing salt, except behaving like the types used for food, will also leave colourful dots (and who doesn't like working with something that smells so nice). After your painting dries, carefully scrap the salt off the surface - you can use it again later, so simply stash it (I prefer keeping such salt in another box, not to mix it with the clean one).

Under the Wisteria by EccentricTeatime Spring Bluebird by MistiqueStudio Ignis by queerartist

Painting over


Surely the basic effects are very nice themselves, but it can get boring seeing the same white undergarments of your paper. Try layering a thin wash or two (here's a lovely article on watercolour washes), wait for them to dry and then put your salted layer over - and your paper's undergarments are now less shiny white and more colourful. You can also paint over the salt textures - caution recommended, pouring too much water may blur the previous effects even a lot.

Examples


Take a look at the pictures below - some depict the effects I've already mentioned, some show other variations.

1 by STelari 5 by STelari 6 by STelari
From left to right: very little water and lots of pigment with varied salt; 
little water and lots of pigment (two colours); 
a wee bit more water and lots of pigment.


7 by STelari 2 by STelari 4 by STelari
From left to right: medium water and medium pigment, paper surface at an angle;
medium water and more pigment, painted over a thin base layer;
lots of water + lots of pigment placed at selective spots.


3 by STelari 8 by STelari 9 by STelari
From left to right: medium water, medium pigment, thin brown layer selectively painted over;
pink coloured salt, a bit less water and medium pigment;
a bit less water with less pigment, painted over a light gradient base layer.

All the examples come from my own works. To view a whole painting, click on the picture to get to the link.

:iconprojecteducate:




Written for Traditional Art Week at projecteducate.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconnokinami:
Nokinami Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I tried it just now :love: Still waiting for it to dry, but it already looks very good ^^
Thanks! I'll definetely credit this :3
Reply
:iconstelari:
STelari Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I'm glad to hear that! I hope you'll like the results (:
Reply
:iconnokinami:
Nokinami Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's still drying 0.o How long does it usually take to dry?
Reply
:iconstelari:
STelari Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
The more water you use, the longer it takes. Also it depends on how thick paper you have. I like drawing another picture when I'm painting with watercolour, sometimes is takes a while to dry completely (:
Reply
:iconnokinami:
Nokinami Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Mmh. Okay, I Guess it's okay then.
Reply
:iconbear48:
bear48 Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2014  Professional
very  nice indeed
Reply
:iconshepaintswithblood:
ShePaintsWithBlood Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014   Traditional Artist
What an intriguing journal!  I love seeing all the different effects the salt has and how you have broken them down.  I am sure this is going to be most helpful.  It took me a long time to get the hang of the salt technique for some reason.  :blackrose:
Reply
:iconstelari:
STelari Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
It took me lots of time to figure it out as well, and it doesn't help how unexpected it seems. Thank you (:
Reply
:iconburgonartworks:
burgonartworks Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks it was really informative. Your artwork is inspiring
Reply
:iconkatara-alchemist:
Katara-Alchemist Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2014  Student General Artist
I've always loved salt and water colors. Recently discovered sugar can do some pretty cool stuff as well. It's a lot like salt in the way it behaves, but the effects are generally bigger.
Reply
:iconstelari:
STelari Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh, one of the commenters mentioned using liquid made of sugar and water (proportions 2:1), is it the way you use it? Or just like salt? Is the painting sticky afterwards?
Reply
:iconkatara-alchemist:
Katara-Alchemist Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2014  Student General Artist
I just use it like the salt. And I've never had stickyness problems as long as I use the salt sparingly and don't pour it on or anything.
Reply
:iconvladimirsangel:
vladimirsangel Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
...did not even consider coloured salt! What a great idea!

I really want to try working with salt more now, especially for skies. Thankyou for this. :heart:
Reply
:iconstelari:
STelari Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Good luck (:
Reply
:icontanith-larking:
Tanith-Larking Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014
great post :)
Reply
:iconjules1983:
Jules1983 Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I just remembered this from art class. Great article, even for non-painters like me :giggle:
Reply
:iconspiritsseeker:
SpiritsSeeker Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I loved it. Thank you for this instructive article! :)
Reply
:iconthecrazydudesrd:
thecrazydudesrd Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Huh... That looks like fun, I'll keep that in mind if I ever get back into watercolors.  Does this also effect acrylic in the same manner?
Reply
:iconstelari:
STelari Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I can't say for sure, I've never tried it with acrylics and I don't paint with them much. But from what I know about them, I don't think so. Even though you can achieve watercolour-ish look with acrylics, they're still two completely different kinds of paint. I might be wrong, though, and it's always worth a try (:
Reply
:iconmojoliazon:
MojoLiazon Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Professional General Artist
Awesome effects... Want to do this sometime. Need to make a plan to do it, or 'sometime' may end up being 'never'. ;)
Reply
:iconrayvenseye:
RayvensEye Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014   General Artist
My son told me about this technique when he did a silk banner and I have to say it is really a neat idea and something I intend to try when I paint again :)
 
Reply
:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
YUUUUUS salt glazing gives me life! The outcomes are always so magnificent!
Reply
:iconbeltaneh:
Beltaneh Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014
Thank you very much for this! It is very interesting :)
Reply
:iconbansini:
Bansini Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
The visuals really helped! Thank You. :love:
Reply
:iconlunarislarva:
LunarisLarva Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014   Traditional Artist
This is really amazing! :)
Reply
:iconliberumequa:
LiberumEqua Featured By Owner Edited Jun 14, 2014
Thank you so much for this article, and it couldn't appear in my messages at a better time! I recently started using salt in my paintings, but have always been baffled by the various results I'd get. This is really helpful, and cleared things up for me. :D
Reply
:iconstelari:
STelari Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Good luck (:
Reply
:iconliberumequa:
LiberumEqua Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014
Thank you! :la:
Reply
:iconqueerartist:
queerartist Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you for featuring my work :) (Smile) 
Reply
:iconstelari:
STelari Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
You're welcome (:
Reply
:iconstelari:
STelari Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
That looks quite interesting, I must say. Although I can't help but to think that the dried painting will be rather sticky with this amount of sugar.
Reply
:iconnooknook:
Nooknook Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah, same idea here, I didn't try for the moment but I think you can use some kind of varnish one the areas where you use the sugar so that it will not be sticky :) I especially wonder if there is some kind of degradation of the painting afterwards 
Reply
:icongwpickins:
gwPickins Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Workable Fixitif? (spray can for grafite doings)
Reply
:iconnooknook:
Nooknook Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
In fact some friends told me that hairspray is cheaper and doing the tricks for grafite (I never try it cause I use grafite just for sketches and I don't really care if they don't look as good as new afterwards).
In fact I thought of varnish that can be put on with a brush (cause if you use sugar watercolor just on some areas it could be cool to just varnish those areas and not the rest). So I firstly thought of "vernis-colle" (sorry don't know the name in English it's like this : ts3.mm.bing.net/th?id=HN.60802… ) but it gives a shiny effect (I used it on sculpture with Fimo's clay to make them shiny). But I think it certainly exists with no shiny effects, I just don't know the name :) 
Reply
:iconjane-beata:
jane-beata Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
:thumbsup:
Reply
:iconthe-mischief-manager:
the-mischief-manager Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Professional General Artist
Love this technique... Just tried it for the umpteenth time last night... Good article!
Reply
:icondoertchen:
Doertchen Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Great article, I love the effect. The aspect of coloured bathing salt was new for me, that's something I'd really like to try now!
Reply
:iconstelari:
STelari Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
It's quite fun to deal with (:
Reply
:icontrollgirl:
TrollGirl Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Ah, my favorite trick :)
Thanks for featuring me =]
Reply
:iconstelari:
STelari Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
It's so addictive... you're welcome.
Reply
:iconsummerisledog:
SummerisleDog Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2014
I need to save this information for later.  Thank you for writing this!
Reply
:iconagataylor:
agataylor Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
This is very useful! Thank you!
Reply
:iconlyth:
Lyth Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2014  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thanks for the good and informative article :)
Reply
:iconyorulla:
Yorulla Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I HAVE TO TRY THIS!!! SO BAD!! D:
I didn't even think you could use salt for painting!! Thank you for this!! :D :heart:
Reply
:iconstelari:
STelari Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
So far the weirdest thing I used with watercolour was vodka... you never know (:
Reply
:iconyorulla:
Yorulla Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
what a coincidence, I'm listening to a song called "Vodka" when I saw this reply.. XDD (by Korpiklaani)
Reply
:iconeccentricteatime:
EccentricTeatime Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wonderful tutorial! I didn't know the amount of water affected the size of the spots: I thought only the size of the salt grains affected the size of the spots. This'll help a great deal when I do my next salt sprinkled painting ~

And my surprise while reading this when I saw my own artwork :faint: Thank you so much for using it in this helpful article, I appreciate it!
Reply
:iconstelari:
STelari Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
You're very welcome! (: And glad to be of help.
Reply
:iconsaniika:
saniika Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thats quite good, I made a tutorial in past too, but this entry is a lot more hmmm...compact?
Reply
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