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A Faceless Lady

August 19, 2007

This was an exercise for watercolor class – textures with salt, spatter, and sponge. I include a reference photo because otherwise you’d never work out what I was trying to do. She’s a statue on the gates of Javon, the castle we stayed in in France. I worked hard on this, but found it a very difficult subject due to the lack of detail It was fun playing with all those techniques though.

Update : Here’s the same painting after I made the changes suggested by Kate :

18 Comments leave one →
  1. August 19, 2007 6:37 pm

    salt, splatter and sponge all sound very mysterious and exciting. could you expand on how you made it?

  2. August 19, 2007 7:01 pm

    This is wonderful! Wow!

  3. August 19, 2007 7:51 pm

    Outstanding!! I like the way you did the background, too, it really coordinates with the aged statue. The techniques were just perfect for this subject. I can absolutely NOT imagine trying to paint something with details intentionally missing — you’ve outdone yourself!!!

  4. August 19, 2007 7:56 pm

    It’s miserable hot here and I’m too languid to even pick up a pencil… admiring my friend’s art is about all I’ll do today. This is very cool and I think you’ve mastered the technique. Tres bon!

  5. August 20, 2007 12:31 am

    What a fantastic job! I’d love to know how you managed to create such a varied surface. Was there any order for use of the 3 techniques? I assume the spatter was last – but did the salt application affect the next layer of paint?

  6. August 20, 2007 6:42 am

    Nice work! You captured the texture perfectly and she’s drawn beautifully as well.

  7. August 20, 2007 7:13 am

    You’ve done a great job with her. I love all those textures.

  8. caseytoussaint permalink*
    August 20, 2007 8:19 am

    Thank you guys! After a suggestion from Kate, I’m going to lighten up one side and try to darken the background. to answer your questions, Shirley and Ujwala – I’m using techniques ffrom Kate Johnson’s book, A Guide to Creating Textures in Watercolor

    For salt, you sprinkle salt on a still-damp wash, and it ads a grainy texture. Spattering is simply flaying color at the canvas with a stiff brush – to produce little droplets of color, or it can be done with water to make clear spots in the wash, and the last technique I used here was just dabbing wash on with a natural sponge – oddly I find this the hardest one to get right. I also tried spraying it with methylated spirits (called burning alcohol in French) which produces cool textures but doesn’t last long. I think I should have used rubbling alcohol instead.

  9. August 20, 2007 8:30 am

    I forgot to add that I loved it hence all the q’s. Thanks for the explanation. I’ve not tried anything like this before.

  10. Sandy permalink
    August 20, 2007 1:19 pm

    Fabulous as Always, you are so talented, Hope the house,/pool/garden/frig snaps into shape quickly – I will face all that next week when we return 🙂

  11. August 20, 2007 1:49 pm

    You’re doing great on this Casey…this staue is really beautifully done and it looks as though you are enjoying the whole process!

  12. August 20, 2007 2:43 pm

    Good for you!!! I love your playful spirit. I think it takes great courage to work with these techniques and you’ve done a great job.

  13. Jan Z permalink
    August 21, 2007 10:53 am

    Very nice Casey! She is lovely. Great job with your spatter and sponge work.

  14. August 21, 2007 3:01 pm

    Just wonderfully done Casey. She has so much personality and love the texsture!

  15. August 22, 2007 11:51 am

    You’ve been so busy while I’ve been away. What a wonderful load of sketches. This painting is superb; the textures are so interesting, and the little patches of lichen really work well.

  16. September 3, 2007 3:34 am

    Excelent rendition, and a very inovative technique …. Almost sounds like a recipe! Merci pour une minute de nostalgie a la francaise.

  17. September 9, 2007 7:22 pm

    I appreciate the technique info. Your usual evocative work.

  18. Kathleen permalink
    September 16, 2007 12:59 pm

    just have to say that, for me, the before adjustment version is the more successful one. It conveys the real feeling of the statue better. Terrific job.

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