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Tiger, 15 x 20 inches, watercolor

This painting of a  tiger is fresh off my watercolor block- first seen here by you.

To execute this painting I decided to use frisket film to block out and save my white paper. I was trying to present a batik texture without batiking, and thought this might help that process.

First, why bother to preserve the white of the paper at all? My best watercolor professor ever, Dr. Bradley of Penn State University, told me he thought there were no good watercolors without the white. The white made the color sparkle, brought freshness and contrast unique to the medium. White can show sunlight, reflections, snow and sky. It makes water dance with light, colors come alive.

There are various ways to preserve the white of the paper in watercolor. Liquid frisket  or masking fluid can be applied to the paper and left to dry. It has the consistency of thin rubber cement. It repels all the colors you paint on top, and is peeled off when you are done with it. If you leave it on too long while working on the painting it can be hard to get it off!

Wax or white wax crayon can also be used before painting. It works fairly well to repel watercolor, but you cannot paint over it if needed.

Frisket film is a clear film with a sticky backing. It is cut out to the desired shape, then applied to the paper before painting. When the painting is dry it peels off easily, and are left with white areas. This is what I used on this work. Image

I had cut out the tiger form from frisket film, then then peeled off the outlining film to stick on the paper. This blocked out the background so the tiger could be painted first. I cut the film and applied it also around the two tree forms.

Before using watercolors I applied some liquid frisket to the tiger’s face where I wanted white paper to remain.


I wet the paper and applied color, then pressed to print on the wet paint with plastic. Here it is dry, with the liquid frisket, or masking fluid peeled off.


I lifted off the background masking film, and placed the cutout  film over the dry  tiger and trees.Then I wet the background areas.


Here I have added intense color onto the wet background, then pressed texture into it.


in progress, here it is dry.


I begin adding details to the tiger, finding the eyes, lines of the nose and mouth with paint.

I also enhanced the lines of the background texture, attempting to make it appear more like a batik.


A lot of blending, color layering and finally whiskering with white ink and pen, and it’s done.

I think tigers are a gorgeous creature; nature has an unbelievably artistic hand!

A shout out to a very creative and talented friend, Peggy Gabrielson. Along with creating beautiful art, she aspires to help other artists with techniques, tips and technical ideas. She is also writing a book- check out her sites!

Art and creative writings, Inspiring Creative Minds! Blairsville, GA Home



Hope your first full week of Spring Rocks- thank goodness it is finally here!