Friday, June 5, 2009


Here is the second painting I have done using the new Daniel Smith Watercolor Sticks. This is a full sheet of watercolor paper. I coated the paper with thick gesso and impressed a texture sheet into it while the gesso was still wet. Some of the gesso had dried so the impressions varied throughout the rectangle. I think you can see the textured surface in the detail image. I will describe my process and try to address some of the questions from the comment section of my last post.

I drew the basic shapes onto the paper with a dry watercolor stick. Then I blocked in the shadow shapes with a thin wash using a wet brush on the cobalt stick. This helped me get a better sense of accuracy of my drawing and the general composition. I could easily make changes at this stage because this surface is very liftable. I then started to complete the heads from left to right. The far left head was done entirely with the sticks. I decided that it would be more economical to use regular watercolor paint for the washes and then draw and scribble into the image where I wanted richer, more saturated color or spots of color or lines drawn into the image. I could scumble one color over the other and then blend them with a wet brush. I had to be careful not to lift the color off entirely with this surface. The texturizing created ridges on the surface that the stick skimmed over. When I moisten the sticks, they will deposit quite a bit of color. Layering these colors in this manner creates a highly saturated dense concentration of pigment resembling other media, giving an unusual appearance to a "watercolor" image. They will also give the transparent light washes most often associated with watercolor by using a wet brush stroked across the stick or sharpening the stick and dissolving the shavings into water for a larger wash mixture. Very versatile.

The difference in these new paints and Caran D'ache is subtle but significant. The watercolor crayons will lay down creamy color when dry much easier. The watercolor sticks won't do that unless you dip them in water or work on a wet surface. When you wet the deposited pigment, the watercolor crayons turn milky and unpleasant (to me) but the new watercolor sticks dilute to beautiful watercolor washes. I have not tried these new sticks on traditional untreated watercolor paper yet, so I am going to try that next.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to post a comment on my last post. Be sure and share your own experiences with this new product.


Joyfulartist said...

Thanks for answering my question about the difference in the two products. You're right, there is a milky/chalky look to the Caran d'Arch. The DS sticks look really exciting, I'm looking forward to more of your experiments with them.

meera said...

Thank you very much for sharing the details -- The painting is very expressive and I like the color saturation and the texture. I will be sure to try these crayons sooon.

Jolene said...

how did you get the cool texture ? brayer? And I heard that they were not going to make tyvek paper any more is that true?

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