The wonder of watercolour

7 February 2018

I've been wandering the web again. And I found this video.

I was vaguely aware that somewhere on my paint trolley there was a bottle of masking fluid. 

I rummaged and sure enough, I found a bottle. 

So I thought I would try it on a page in the sketch book.

Now, one thing to say is this stuff goes off and I had had this particular bottle for a while. Consequently it did not flow very well and applying it with a brush was far from satisfactory.  I think the bottle is only fit for the bin unless I can thin it down slightly. I will have to experiment with water and see what happens. 

Anyway, I pressed on. I painted some (rather rough) leaves with the masking fluid. You can see how tricky this was with fluid that did not flow too well. And the process might have been more satisfactory if I'd sketched the leaves in pencil first, or if the fluid was tinted to I could see it more clearly against the white paper.

I then just sloshed on a wash of pale blue.

When dry I painted on a few more leaves to mask just the blue. And that got a bit frustrating due to the claggy texture of the fluid so I just masked off some area. Then I added yellow. 

When all was dry I removed the masking fluid. 

Then with a black pen sketched more leaves on top.

And added rusty red wash to the leaves. 

And then I tweaked the photo a bit to make the colour a bit more acidic. 

And this last photo does illustrate the possibilities with this technique. 

I actually use the technique of 'masking areas' quite a lot, but usually with white wax crayon on maps when I'm laying down background inks for lampshades.  This is a completely different technique as I rub the wax crayon over the map which is on top of a stencil. So this would be called a 'rubbing'. 

The idea of using masking fluid as an alternative technique really could be quite exciting. I need better masking fluid and perhaps I could try acrylics which won't reactivate when another wet layer is added. 

Lots of possibilities. 


  1. Alison is a Dorset Artist and almost a neighbour. I've done a few classes with her too. Lovely colours you've used.

    1. She seems rather wonderful and generous. Lucky you!

  2. Replies
    1. It's a technique with lots of possibilities because you can mask off a lot of different layers one at a time. But I think the trick must be getting decent masking fluid that flows easily and is controllable.

  3. That's a great video - thanks for sharing. I've read about masking fluid but have never thought it was something I would use. But this is has given me something to think about.


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