I want to go back and talk some more about my journey eliminating framing from watercolor. For my next challenge, I wanted to use a glossy finish that is applied as a liquid. This is a challenge since watercolor is water soluble even once dried on the paper. Previously, I applied a wax finish which was drier at application. In both cases, tried it first on some paintings I was not pleased with, so I would not be upset if my experiments failed.
I learned a few exciting things:
Watercolor has a value shift when it dries (in art lingo, value is a measurement of light to dark). The colors are lighter and less brilliant when they dry. I think of this as finding a beautiful stone in a stream bed. I pull it out of the water and it is full of beautiful color. I put it in my pocket to take it home. Later, when I pull it out of my pocket, I wonder what I saw in it. Once it dries it looks duller and less colorful. Watercolor paint will also be less brilliant when it dries.
I wanted to see if I could get some of that brilliance back in my watercolor paintings by applying a glossy finish. And yes, I could!
One problem – even though I apply an initial layer of spray varnish to set the pigments, they occasionally smear. I have to move carefully and strategically to avoid ruining a painting.
Finally, I learned that sometimes the gloss finish actually detracts from the painting. I used a glossy finish on a fragmented piece painted exclusively with an amethyst pigment (pictured below). The pigment is made up of ground up amethyst and has a natural sparkle. Unfortunately, I find that the gloss finish interrupts the sparkle of the pigment.
Overall, I am over the moon about cracking the code on how to make my paintings brilliant and well protected by applying varnish whether it be matte or gloss.
Below is a photo of Amethyst Anemone. It is a fragmented piece that would have been better served with a matte finish that would have better highlighted the pigment's natural sparkle. We live and learn.
See this painting and 10 more original works at Ruckus Coffee Gallery from June 9 through June 29.