Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Testing, 1, 2...
There's no denying it -- my nerdy side pops up in the blink of an eye!! While I was picking up some home repair items at the hardware store, I found something called Frogtape. Both the name and the color (a tasteful froggy green -- as it might be imagined by the makers of children's crayons) caught my eye, and then I discovered that it had been treated with (drumroll here) "Paintblock Technology" which is supposed to absorb the water from latex paints and create a seal to prevent paint from seeping under the edge of the tape. Well, if it works on painted walls, a little voice in my head reasoned, maybe it would work on watercolor paper. Enough said. Into the cart it went.
When I got home, I decided to make a proper test of it by comparing it to all the other tapes I have lurking around the studio. From left to right: frogtape, 3M-256, drafting tape, masking tape, clay board tape, delicate surface painter's tape, multi-purpose painter's tape, and tape for hard-to-stick surfaces. (You can see the tape colors in the little squares I cleaned off after painting over them.) All are 3-M except the frogtape. I stuck them on a scrap of Winsor Newton 140-lb. cold-pressed paper, burnished them down with my finger, ran a wash across them, let it dry very thoroughly, and carefully removed the tape. None seemed to harm the paper except the clay board tape, which roughed up the surface noticeably. Although it's not shown here, I then painted a stripe of bright paint down the middle of each white space and, with the exception of the clay board spot, there were no indications of damage to the surface of the paper. You can see that the painter's tapes and the extra grip stuff were most effective at keeping a clean edge. Ironically, the worst happens to be 3M-256 -- the white tape I use to seal the edges of my paintings before starting to paint!!
And periodically I succumb to the lure of the more exotic Daniel Smith watercolor paints. This time it was five tubes of Primatek. (I thought I was quite restrained, considering.) I tested each in several ways. What you see here is paint floated onto a pre-wetted rectangle. Although I probably won't make regular use of these, they have some interesting qualities. My favorite is Piemontite -- a very rich earthy color that separates and granulates beautifully. Bronzite has a sparkly appearance (which unfortunately doesn't photo well) as the result of its mineral structure and the sparkle holds up well in mixtures too. Rhodonite and Garnet resemble but are heavier and more opaque than Winsor Newton's Permanent Rose and Brown Madder. Mayan Blue, based on a pigment made of clay mixed with indigo dye, was a disappointment -- gummy and weak and blotchy -- and not likely one I will use in my work.
There's another installment in the masking techniques tutorial on the horizon. See you then.