July 2018: Watercolours [and Masking Fluid!] with Rob Dudley
Rob is an experienced watercolourist who gave us an assured and entertaining demonstration of a popular genre of painting, the riverine landscape.
However Rob had one very individual trick up his sleeve - his unique application and use of masking fluid!
This can be used to dramatic effect as in this superb watercolour where Rob worked for a good 3 hours applying the masking fluid to create the swirls of surf before even applying paint to paper.
Rob uses masking fluid to create a number of other convincing effects such as the sparkle of sunlight on water or the bright spots shining through the branches and leaves of trees. And the secret depends on the method of application. Indeed the secret weapons are lying unobtrusively on the table here
These were once brushes! Repeatedly squashed down into masking fluid until set, they build up into a kind of gummy goth flower. And then when added to yet more fresh masking fluid they can be gently rolled across the paper to create a range of different subtle marks.
For Rob's demo he chose a scene at the tidal road at Aveton Gifford.
His paper was already prepared with the masking fluid [which, incidentally, can usefully be diluted up to 50% to increase its fluidity].
Working from the top Rob used cobalt blue and French ultramarine on 140lb stretched Bockingford paper using a size 16 brush for a loose sky wash, adding touches of purple and permanent mauve whilst lifting parts to create white cloud.
As he worked, Rob reinforced certain points of geometric composition, particularly the combination of horizontal, vertical and diagonal elements necessary to satisfy the eye [verticals being represented here by some final boat masts] and the necessity of drawing the eye in on diagonals.
Only when the masking fluid was finally removed [never by finger since the acid causes discolouration over time!] could we see the foaming ripple of the incoming tidal wave.