Sunday, October 23, 2011

Playing with Watercolor Ground

I've been wanting to try Daniel Smith's Watercolor Ground (DSWG) since it first came out.  My subject.... a cigar box :)  No, I'm not a closet cigar smoker! Gag!

It's all about repurposing, and now that the smell from the little devil's finally faded, I'm quite excited about the possibilities. Tip: if you have a cigar store in your town, check them out. They sell their boxes for very, very little... Our local store asked $1.00 for the cardboard boxes and $2.00 for the wood boxes!

I decided I liked the red cover on this box and chose to tape off the foil stamped illustration and used this area for application of the DSWG. 

Once applied, the DSWG has to cure for 24 to 72 hours before applying watercolor or acrylic.  It can also be thinned up to 10% with water.  You can see in my second image that the ground looks thin in some spots. My intuition was telling me to add a bit more to even out the first coat, but my adventurous side wanted to see if the uneven coating really mattered.  I had several cigar boxes that I applied the DSWG to.  My studio was filled with the essence of gesso..... it was a bit too strong from my nose.

 You can see in the upper and lower left corners where the ground was applied too thinly.  Could I make this work?

Well, yes and no. The lower left corner was a bit too thin and when you view the box in person you can tell.

Painting on the DSWG was similar to the feel of  painting on watercolor canvas. It was necessary to dry each application of paint with a hairdryer. Lifting paint is easy and I didn't see any wear on the surface.  Truth be told, my lifting was more like scrubbing.....

Almost done! I'll let this sit for a couple of days and no doubt tweak the image a bit more. The last step will be to spray it with Golden's MSA Archival Spray Varnish to seal the surface.
This will be home for my Garden Journal - a collection of single watercolor paper sheets... but more on that later :)

11 comments:

  1. Great idea for the use of the DS Ground. May have to try it myself as I have a cigar box in the wings.

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  2. Very cool to make this a journal box, Pam. Thanks for the tutorial. I've yet to break out my DSWG. This is tempting me!

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  3. Thanks, Ontheroad! I think you'll like experimenting with all the options :)

    Thanks, Laure! It's a sample for my Garden Journal Workshop that starts tomorrow. I had participants make their own boxes last time and it about killed them - not to mention took too much time away from journaling... :) I'm hoping the new batch of students likes this idea better!

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  4. ...this is so cool, Pam!! I love your lettering and the happy flower. I bought some of this gesso recently. I'm going to have to give it a try!

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  5. Hi Kelly! I think you will like all the uses this ground has. Look forward to see what you do with it!

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  6. Good to hear that you also have experimented with the D.S. watercolor ground product. It is a fun medium to play with. I applied it to a 8 x 10 stretched canvas and after it dried for over 24 hours I started my watercolor floral painting directly to the canvas. It was amazing what happened to the watercolor paints on the canvas. It was easy to paint loosely to create soft edges and spread the paint; more difficult to obtain sharp edges. It does require to let the paint dry and then apply a second coat onto the first otherwise the colors are rather faint. Also it requires thicker paint for stronger hues. I use a stiff fiber product to scrub out any errors and it works fine. I definitely do not use my fine soft paint brushes on this product in order to prevent wear/tear on the fine fibers.

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  7. Very neat idea and a cheap way to repurpose :) I like the look a lot and will be waiting for your "journal" that will be loose pages in the box?

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  8. Thanks for your comment, Lois. It's grand to have the ability to paint watercolor on any substrate.

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  9. Thanks, Rhonda! Yes, the journal pages will be loose.. lots of fun :)

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  10. I've been wanting to try the DS WC ground, but haven't ordered any yet. How cool! I love re-purposing things, and especially love boxes. you make me want to get online and order some ASAP!!

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  11. Can't wait to see what you do with it, Elizabeth!

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