Friday, 7 November 2014

learn: Salting Watercolour Techniques with Dana Haigh

This is a fun and simple technique and depending on your materials you can get a number of different results. For the purpose of this tutorial I've used the same paper (Canson 185g Cold Press) for the 4 different types of salt, different paper will also yield different results.

Here are the salts I used:
different grain sizes
The four different salts each have a different grain size and is the main factor in achieving different effects. Once you decide on grain size, the next step is to set up your paper. At the very least, I recommend taping your paper down if not going all out and stretching it. The next step after taping is either sketching or wetting the paper depending on how free form you want to be.  

I decided to sketch this time after taping down my paper.

sketching on stretched paper
Once I am happy with my sketches, I use a spray bottle to wet the paper.

wetting paper
Make sure the paper is nice and moist.  I use a large clean brush to even out the water after spraying and to make sure all of the paper is wet.  Now you can start painting!  Once I'm finished painting everything is very wet and has puddles from the paper rippling.  This is one of the reasons it's important to tape the paper down.
watercolour added
Now comes the fun part: add salt!  No real rules here, but if you pile too much salt in one spot it can soak up more pigment than you might like.

salt added
The next step is patience or if you are like me and have the patience of a 3 year old, you can use a hairdryer to dry the paper.  It is very important to make sure everything is very dry before attempting to brush off the salt, otherwise smudging and smearing will occur.  I usually use a paper towel to brush off the salt, this can be a process as the salt will stick to the paper.  I find holding the paper at eye level and tilting it a bit is helpful to find the bits of salt that are resisting your efforts to remove them.
dried with salt removed
pickling salt- fine grain

sea salt- small grain
sea salt- medium grain
himalayan salt- large grain
At this point I paint in my sketches or if I haven't sketched, I decide what I want to paint and either sketch on top or paint directly over my salted background. 

 Here is the finished product:

finished art
I hope this was helpful and that you have fun with your own salting art!

If you would like to see more of Dana's beautiful work follow this link to her facebook page

1 comment:

  1. thank you for a delightful refresher course in salting. I am off to salt some paper.


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