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Salty Stuff...

An experiment in the reactions of different paints and salts and their uses in adding light to sky scapes.


Science says that salt attracts water, sucks it in, yet when sprinkled onto wet watercolour paper it repels the paint leaving white behind. The patterns left are organic and unpredictable, which is appropriate as watercolour often has it's own reaction to a wet paper and much like science, the art is in the observation and adaption of the formula to create something new.

salted sky.jpg

Salted Sky

Salt and colour worked their magic leaving incredible textures and shapes across my page with the light of the paper glowing through. Yet it took another month of slowly adding depth and coaxing out the shapes I wanted to keep, an yet more time before I knew what to do to finish the piece. 

This is my first art endeavor using aquapasto - a translucent thickener - that gives watercolour the viscosity of acrylics while maintaining their depth of colour an luminosity. Notice the trees and mountains - they ''stand out" from the paper but allow some of the amazing colours of the sky to glow through.

Bright Night.jpg

Bright Night

We often see stars as single lights in the sky, but in February before dawn,  and before the world awakes, the milky way can be seen lighting up the sky. Clusters of stars and colours play together in a band across the sky. In some parts of the world it can be a full arc or horizontal light show.

And this is what drew my attention - and image by Clint McKoy  on unsplash where the trees were lit up by the milky way and I knew I wanted to try using salt to create the sky.

And there the painging sat, until I took a course by Kolbie Blume on landscape painting and the painting said - ok finish me. 

And that salt? It left small grains embedded in the paper that, when the light hits them just right, sparkle like real stars.

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Sky in Motion

When you drop colour and salt on a paper you don't alway know what you'll get. It's exciting. 

This  painting  started no plan, would it be Northern Lights, the Milky Way or something new that I would push my creative thought process further.

When i first saw the effect my salt had made it reminded me of a time lapse image taken of the sky above, but once I added more colour and shape to the sky i realized it could hold it's own. 

So take it as  you wish - a dream, a vision, or a fantasy of stars in a dance across the sky. 

This is my rendition of Van Gogh's "The Stary Night". 



Below is the beginnings of the  painting - you can see just how the salt transformed the paint.

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