Watercolors by
  Bill Hudson     
Monthly Newsletter 

A n Exciting New Watercolor Technique
........ by Bill Hudson

   In my opinion, no media captures the sky with more intrigue, luminescence, and realism than transparent watercolor. And no painting technique provides the excitement and spontaneity of wet-in-wet color mixing.

   Unlike many watercolorists, I enjoy painting slowly. And therein is often my conflict. Wet-in-wet requires some speed to complete as the paper dries. And wet-in-wet always results in the paper buckling regardless of the paper weight, pre-stretching, or using blocks of watercolor paper. I also love the effects of painting on damp paper to achieve soft edges and controlled blending. But “damp” paper is difficult to maintain uniformly.

   I’ve studied the approaches of many artists to avoid these problems and was drawn to a method demonstrated on YouTube by Joe Miller, of “Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff” (www.cheapjoes.com). Joe avoids pre-stretching by simply soaking the paper on both sides, laying the wet paper on Gatorboard, and absorbing excess surface water with Viva paper towels. He then begins painting on “damp” paper while the paper is stretched and drying.

I like Joe’s approach, but I need more working time with wet and/or damp paper. Being a retired engineer, I discovered a near-perfect solution which I’d like to share here.

   I went online to McMaster-Carr (www.mcmaster.com) and found a product known as Aquazone. Sponge-like, this open-cell, blue, polyurethane foam is “super-absorbent” holding 30 times its weight in water. It is available in three sheet sizes with thicknesses from ¼ inch to 2 inches. I purchased item 8884K61 which is a 48” x 48” x ¼” sheet. The price … $34.57. From that large sheet I cut 6 small panels, measuring 16” x 23”. Each of the 6 panels is slightly larger than a supported half-sheet of watercolor paper measuring 15” x 22”. Similarly, 2 small panels can be combined to support a full-sheet of 22” x 30” watercolor paper.

For McMaster-Carr price comparisons, a 12” x 12”x ¼” sheet is $3.80, and a 24” x 24”x ¼” sheet is $10.37.

   I placed a saturated wet panel of Aquazone on a Gatorboard. On top of the Aquazone I laid a saturated half-sheet of 140-lb Arches, cold pressed, bright white paper and began painting…first, wet-in-wet, then on constantly-damp paper. I particularly appreciated the ability to paint slowly, deliberately, and indefinitely on “damp” paper that remained flat with no buckling. When I finished the afternoon painting over the still-wet Aquazone panel, I lifted my painting and let it dry on a flat surface. It had remained nearly flat! I am now in the process of adding details with wet-on-dry techniques.
The 1/4 inch thick Aquazone sheet cut to size
The saturated Aquazone sheet beneath the wet 140-lb Arches paper. Ready to paint
Before framing, I will still lightly spray the back of the painting with water and quickly run an iron over the back surface. I do that with every painting to ensure complete flatness. However, this new “Aquazone Process,” eliminates the need to pre-stretch the paper while providing continuous, controlled dampness. I will be using it on all future paintings. By the way, the Aquazone panel can be reused over and over.

  During research, I found no other person using or even aware of this technique. If you try it, please send me a review that I could share with readers in a future newsletter.
Follow Up

        Jenkins Creeker
 15” x 22” Watercolor by Bill Hudson
     $1,550 with custom frame
   Ref. An Island Out of Time (2019)
    by Tom Horton, Dave Harp
    & Sandy Cannon-Brown
  Last month, I listed my most recent painting, “Jenkins Creeker,” as “Not For Sale.” Since then, the film photographer, Dave Harp, granted permission for me to use his images and sell the painting . It is now available in a custom frame for $1,550. Here
Again, I thank each of you for your continued interest in this Newsletter. I particularly appreciate your responses. If you wish to make any art related announcements or comments that may benefit the readers, feel free to submit them for the next issue.
Past Newsletters
Past Newsletters are listed chronologically by title in the Newsletter section of my website www.BillHudsonArt.com/newsletter/

Events & Galleries
Singulart, an online gallery selling original art from juried artists with free global shipping and returns. I recommend Singulart for any collector or contemporary artist.
Fine Art America, is an online print-on-demand gallery which sells nearly all my images. These are available in a wide range of sizes on many substrates and objects including: coffee cups, shirts, towels, greeting cards, puzzles, phone cases, and tote bags.
Art Instructor, Laguna Methodist Art Association, Mondays in January, 9:30 to 12:30