Wednesday 6 June 2018

Working with tissue and watercolour : Sunflowers

 Sunflower created with watercolour and tissue for texture effects.
Work in Progress.

Goodness, I was surprised at how popular my use of tissue paper would be. I had shared my recent work using this technique on my Facebook and Twitter pages as well as on my blog and the questions kept rolling in on how I work this way. Well the funny thing is I started working with tissue paper and watercolour when I lived in Dubai. Years ago. There I worked in watercolour, oil, pastel and mixed media. Often in the mixed media sessions I would use sweet paper or anything at hand to create textural effects and I had all but stopped working with these really old techniques. Until now that is. As I mentioned in my last blog post, this technique isn't new. It has been around for donkeys years. But perhaps when we have painted for such a long time(  as I have ) we tend to assume that everyone has heard of the techniques you pushed to one side many moons ago.

The reason I revived this technique to share was because an artist was desperately struggling to gain an effect they had seen and they just couldn't get the same results. I suggested they tried using tissue paper as the art effect they were looking at just didn't seem possible to achieve without it. Even though its' use had been omitted in the "how to" step by step instructions. We all have to bear in mind that not all artists share every single tip or detail about the results they gain. In fact, I'm always amazed at how secretive some artists can be. I do understand to be honest, if you have developed a fabulous style that you wish to show solely in galleries rather than teach.  I do completely understand in that situation. I find artists on my courses want to know everything I use and I freely share all my "unsecret" secrets.

But, back to the tissue. To answer a few questions. I do not use glue at all when working this way. I simply tear pieces of tissue and apply them on a painting where I feel the texture could be improved in the finished piece. Maybe sometimes one tiny piece of tissue could be enough. Over use of tissue paper can make your work look more like a collage than an actual watercolour painting. Once in place I soak the paper literally with colour of my choice. In the sunflower below you will see Cadmium Yellow strongly applied but in the creases of the tissue I have added Quinachridone Gold to enhance the yellow shades. 

Remember : Yellow on top of yellow gives you yellow! So be bold with additional colour choices and applications.

Sunflower on my easel using tissue paper to create textural effects.
Work in progress

Let the painting dry and then continue painting on top of it as normal. Use the patterns created by the tissue to form part of your subject. In this case the sunflower petals. And I have really scrunched up tissue for the centre of the flower to give a fascinating focal point. 

Experimenting is fun. Learning new and revisiting old techniques is fun also. So give yourself permission to play and who knows where your results will lead you . Hopefully to stunningly gorgeous paintings that are unusual an beautiful.

As I mention to everyone in my classes. I never keep secrets about how I paint. I enjoy sharing the way I work far too much. Life is so much better this way and I always think others could use my ideas and come up with something even more fascinating. So there you go!

By the way this is acid free wrapping tissue paper I am using, not the kind you dry your tears with! 

Have fun!



laura said...

Wonderful. Love the variety of yellows, and the rich darkness of the center! I have difficulty getting such deep darks!

Unknown said...

how can you find in facebook?

Lucy T said...

Hi Jean,
I have learned so much from your videos and books. I was just reading your blog about not keeping secrets and some artists do keep their techniques secret as you said its their prerogative. I know another artist who also shares everything he knows and I really feel its due to the desire to share knowledge to teach others. Which is very generous on your part you are a true teacher and of course a master at what you do.