Waxing Watercolors – The Artist’s Street

Waxing Watercolors

nowing the way to correctly show our completed masterpieces is a vital talent within the lifetime of an artist. Watercolorists have needed to battle with this since, nicely, endlessly, due to the intrusive and distracting reflections brought on by glass. Glass is used to guard the floor. The invention of UV museum glass has helped to attenuate dangerous daylight in addition to to scale back reflections and supply safety. Nonetheless, museum glass could be very costly, nonetheless causes some lack of readability and is prohibited in some exhibitions (as is all glass) on account of the opportunity of breakage throughout transport or dealing with by exhibition employees. Plexiglass is usually substituted in these instances, however right here once more, reflectivity and the unevenness of the plastic floor may cause issues. We would like our lovely work to shine, not the glass in entrance of it!

   There may be an alternate, in some situations, and this answer is gaining traction with artists. Each time doable, we now wax our watercolors with Gamblin Chilly Wax Medium. We first heard of this from famend watercolorist Sarah Yeoman. At first, you could be reluctant to use something, a lot much less wax, to the floor of a watercolor. When you strive it on a follow portray, you’ll be a convert. Chilly wax medium has lengthy been utilized in oil portray as a medium and/or a remaining varnish. It goes on like paste, doesn’t dissolve watercolor, and dries non-sticky to a protecting movie. When dried in a single day, it may be gently buffed, or left as is. The perfect a part of waxing watercolors is that now, there is no such thing as a want for glass! UV mild remains to be a difficulty, nevertheless, (as with all watercolor), however waxing does present lovely true-to-life presentation and safety. Plus, no want for a mat, which permits deciding on from all varieties of frames, even the plein air types! We’ll present you the way it’s carried out.

Gamblin Cold Wax Medium








    We use Gamblin Cold Wax Medium. It’s constructed from the best high quality purified white beeswax and is available in paste type for simple software. It may be diluted with just a little little bit of Gamsol if wanted, however we use it straight from the jar.



Applying Cold Wax Medium to Watercolor © J. Hulsey 

Applying Cold Wax Medium to Watercolor © J. Hulsey

   We apply it with a top-quality paper towel or lint-free fabric, working it into the paper in a swirling movement. When you’ve got utilized gouache anyplace to your work, you’ll want to take a look at that individually first, to verify it received’t dissolve within the wax. It’s possible you’ll be aware a slight darkening of some deep colours from the wax. We discover this acceptable and even fascinating generally—just like the impact varnish can have on an oil portray, however, once more, you’ll want to take a look at on a follow watercolor to see if the impact works along with your work. We wish to work on prime of a giant piece of paper to soak up the inevitable extra when working the sides of the image. Permit to dry in a single day.

   The dried watercolor can now be mounted on a substrate or matted, and right here we’ve got many extra new selections obtainable to us that we didn’t have earlier than. With out the necessity for glass or perhaps a conventional mat, our creativity in presentation opens up. We like to start out by mounting the watercolor on thick baltic birch portray panels from Dick Blick. One can purchase an over-sized panel and paint it to create a “reveal” or float as a substitute of utilizing a mat when framed, and maybe play with the colour of this reveal to intensify the art work. Higher but, mount the artwork on a thick panel whose edges have been painted first. Then mount this ensemble onto a bigger painted panel to create a three-dimensional presentation when framed. Or, maybe mount your work on a varnished or painted, deeply-cradled panel with none body in any respect. So many new prospects!

Cutting Backing Wood Panel

   If the artwork is to be flush with the sides of the panel, the panel have to be lower to measurement earlier than mounting. On thinner, 1/8” panels, one can do that with a mat knife and a heavy metal ruler or yard stick. It’ll require a brand new blade and a number of passes, however avoids the necessity for an influence noticed. Heavier boards would require sawing with a fine-bladed round noticed.

Winsor and Newton Matt Gel









   As an adhesive, we like to make use of high-quality acrylic polymer, utilized with a brush to the again of the portray and the face of the panel on the identical time.


Applying Glue to Backing Panel

   We first lay down a big sheet of unpolluted paper on the desk after which work the portray after which the panel on prime of that. There might be extra across the edges. We use a big bristle brush dipped instantly into the jar of acrylic and generously apply a good coating to each surfaces. Notice: Be very cautious to firmly maintain your portray in place whilst you do that! If it slides, you could get acrylic on the underside, the artwork, with unpredictable outcomes.

Adhering Watercolor to Wood Backing Board

   Rigorously mount the art work onto the panel and press collectively, smoothing from the middle out. We normally measurement our panels barely—perhaps 1/sixteenth” smaller than the portray, in order that the art work will be trimmed flush later. A lot simpler to trim the paper than to trim a board later! After the art work is down firmly, we use a smooth rubber brayer to do the ultimate smoothing and push any air bubbles or extra polymer out. Let dry in a single day by putting heavy books on prime of the mounted panel.

Weighting Down the WC and Wood Backing

   The subsequent day, place the mounted panel face-down on a chopping floor and trim any extra paper from across the panel. Your watercolor is now absolutely sealed and shielded from grime, moisture and the environment, and you’re free to get inventive along with your framing presentation!

Trimming Watercolor to Backing Wood Board

   Listed below are simply two examples of waxed watercolors with conventional plein air frames. We predict you’ll agree that they give the impression of being nice with out the glass or the necessity for mats. We’d like to see some other watercolor mounting options which you will invent. Contact us with a photograph and we’ll put them on The Artist’s Street.

Waxed WC in Black Frame   Waxed WC in Gold Frame

An attention-grabbing various to glassing watercolor portray.

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