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Unlike painting with oils or acrylics the whites in watercolors are best seen when it is just the plain paper showing. There are white paints to be used for watercolor, but the texture appears chalky to the eye as opposed to the paper just being stained by color. This is because watercolor paints are naturally transparent, and the white is an opaque color needed to cover up other paint.

One media offered for this preservation of white is masking fluid. That is a bottled latex mixture applied to the paper before painting. When dry it allows colored paint to be applied freely. The  masking is then removed, leaving the paper white where applied.

Liquid masking fluid is a good tool, though I find it has some shortcomings. If left on too long, it is increasingly difficult to remove. I have seen it stain my paper[ yellow when left to sit. It can be peeled off or erased off, but the act of erasing can also take off the paint. Best to use it and take it off afterward ASAP.


Here is my sketch. I have found that an unusual  angle can be intriguing to try so I have sketched the subject from below.



I applied masking fluid to areas I wished to highlight. When it was dry I flooded the paper with water, then with brilliant watercolor paint.

You can see where the resist is applied rather easily.



When dry, I removed the masking, and was left with this.



Developing the face with watercolors-



And it is complete- Guardian. This painting became more and more emotional the more I painted. With some work a kindred spirit seems to develop between the artist and the art; this was one of those. I am not even sure if the final piece depicts a female or a male, but there is care, pain and longing on the face that seemed to express itself as I painted. I also see an impassive strength. The person seems to me to be an angel.

I framed this work in a gold frame with a white mat; it won a nice award in the first show I displayed it in. That was an exciting moment last fall!

Happy Memorial Day to my friends in the US.

To all, a day for remembering those brave ones who sacrificed for their countries.