Friday, January 28, 2011

Painting Backgrounds for Mermaids

It's very freeing to play around with different painting techniques before you lay paint onto a final project. I tried what are called subtractive techniques and here's how they look.

Plain water spattered onto a wet wash and lightly dabbed with paper towel to lift color. Looks like bubbles or could even be snow.

 This one uses the same technique as above only I dropped alcohol ink into the wet paint. The citrus looks rather heinous but the technique is very useful for making rings or bubbles which is excellent for mermaid backgrounds. I think I'll try a different color or use the blending solution next time.

This one is a two color wash. Lay a wash of one color over another and press wrinkled plastic wrap into it to reveal color underneath. I used wax paper which also had the desired effect.

The last one is part of the same background as above only you can see where wet paint was allowed to drizzle into wet paint. I also used the end of a paint brush to draw in some shapes. These were quite fun to try and very helpful in determining which techniques might be best for my mermaid project.


  1. Hi Kellie -

    A technique I like to use if I am using watercolors is this one. I make sure my paper is nice and wet with paint, I think sprinkle salt, could be Kosher or table salt in the areas I want the effect. Let it dry. Once dry you can sweep off the salt with your hand. What you are left with is usual texture. Depending on how you apply it, lightly a few grains at a time, you can make stars in the sky. If you apply towards the bottom of your paper, you can get the effect of coral. This is a fun technique to play with. Here is a link to a youtube video that shows how you can apply it to make underwater coral:

    Enjoy! Elaine Allen

  2. Hi Elaine,

    Thank you so much for the comment. I had actually thought of using the salt technique to make coral for my painting even before you mentioned it. It's perfect isn't it? I can picture it now.

    I did watch the video out of curiosity and really liked the way she applied her washes. I must try that. Thanks for mentioning it.

    Hope you have a peaceful day today.

    Hugs! =D



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