Spattering some texture into your still lifes and landscapes

The following steps show you a great trick for creating the look of granite, snowflakes, speckled enamel, or stars in the sky. As an example, I painted an enamel coffeepot as part of a still life. You need an old toothbrush, soap, masking fluid (discussed earlier in this chapter), paper, and paint.

1. Dip the old toothbrush in the liquid soap or rub it on a bar of soap to coat the bristles.

2. Dip the toothbrush in liquid masking fluid without rinsing the soap off.

Shake the excess masking fluid off into the container to avoid drips. If dripping is still a problem, avoid drips on your flat paper by holding the paper vertically or by using an easel while spattering so the drips land on the table or floor instead of your paper. If you want to protect those surfaces, try newspaper.

3. Hold the toothbrush near the bristles and draw the thumbnail of the same hand through the bristles so the mask sprays off the brush onto the paper (see Figure 4-8).

4. Let the dots of liquid mask dry.

5. Remove any dots you don't want.

Did you get a big drop by accident? Not to worry. Just rub the dry mask dot to remove.

6. Repeat Steps 3, 4, and 5 if you want more dots.

7. Paint watercolor over the top of the dry mask dots (see Figure 4-9).

I simulated the coffeepot's navy blue enamel using Payne's gray and ultramarine blue.

8. Let the paint dry completely.

9. Remove the mask.

Figure 4-10 shows a closeup of what my coffeepot looked like after I removed the masking fluid.

Figure 4-10:

The speckled enamel effect on the coffeepot.

10. Touch up as needed.

For my coffeepot, I toned down some of the dots by painting the white area with a little more watercolor. Depending on what you're painting and what you want to accomplish, you can paint over the white dots, you can soften edges by nudging them with a bristle brush, or you can leave them alone. You are the master of this technique's destiny. Figure 4-11 shows you what I ended up with in the final still life.

Figure 4-11:

Spattered mask helps create the look of an old coffeepot in this still life.

Figure 4-11:

Spattered mask helps create the look of an old coffeepot in this still life.

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