Watercolor is not a very forgiving medium. For the most part I've learned to just keep going when I mess up. A mistake is often not so much a "mistake" as it is a... "spontaneous change of plans" shall we say. No biggie. I can work it out. Just takes a little finesse and occassionaly some creative thinking.
Every now and then though I'll look down at my paper and have a moment like this.
This means 1 of 2 things. Either
1. I covered up some white of the paper where I needed it. PERMANENT foul.
2. I used a black Sharpie somewhere I didn't need it. PERMANENT foul.
Today I'd like to talk about big fat mistake numero uno. There is no white watercolor paint. You have to use the white of the paper. So you best be careful. Plan ahead. Once that white paper is gone, it's gone. There's not a single trick in the book to bring it back to it's former glory.
Here I was careful to leave the paper untouched so that I could carve out the white letters on this sign that is supposed to read M-U-G-S-H-O-T-S.
Only I can't spell and at some point I looked down to find this
Cue sharp inhale followed by colorful language.
After the initial shock I chilled out. This was salvageable. I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Let me tell you about my secret emergency weapon. Gesso.
Gesso is used to prime a surface for painting. For instance, a lot of artists will gesso a raw canvas before painting on it. Or you could even gesso completely over an old painting and start a new one on top of it. Basically, gesso creates a white surface that will accept paint. It also covers well over dried paint. In this way I can sort of use it like a typist uses white-out.
Of course, the gesso is not completely magical. There's always a noticeable difference in the color of it and the actual original white of the paper. Plus any watercolor pigment you put over it won't look exactly the same either. The best way to pull off the gesso save is to use is sparingly. And very carefully.
Lucky for me in this instance the area I was working on was very small. The whole word put together barely constituted and inch. The letters themselves were so small I had to use my tiniest brush. So I did this
And then I used gesso to (carefully this time) paint in the remaining letters. The rest of the painting is so busy and detailed that you really can't notice the slight variation of color between the last two letters on that sign and the rest of them.
But I know it's there. And now so do you.
Really any handmade piece is going to have a few tiny imperfections. But then that's the beauty of something completely unique made by human hands!
Hey, I'm Holly
I live in Raleigh, NC with my husband and our three boys. I stay at home with my kids and make art, and messes, and memories.