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Question asked 2017-07-13 10:14:14 ...
Most recent comment 2017-08-18 12:41:36
A student recently showed me some watercolors of his that have a problem, hoping I could decipher it, but I don't know what's going on. Throughout several paintings there are areas where the paint is (in his words) "disappearing" - initially the paint went on fine, but over time there are patches of paint loss that look a bit like a bug has been nibbling; or, another way to describe it, looks like someone pressed a paper towel with a squirrely pattern to areas of the paint while it was wet, lifting the paint (although, as mentioned, this problem didn't occur until after the paint had dried). Neither of these are the best description of the problem…I have photos, if there is a way to share images. The paint loss is not limited to a single color and has occurred on several paintings with different types of supports. All I could think of was minerals or salts in the water, precipitating out? Any other ideas?
Answers and Comments
Hi Koo...there is a way to add images. If you can do so that would be very helpful!
A couple of things I notice upon examining the photos: One of the images appears to show a canvas-like texture in the support. What is the support material? Is it paper, and if so, which brand? Also, it looks like the "vermiform" pattern manifests over both paper and the masking tape at the edges. That makes me think there may be an issue with the binding power of the paint. Do we know which brand of colors, and what the specific palette is? Are some colors more affected than others?
That is a strange situation. I'm wondering if there is something on the student's brushes? Are they using a fixative? Is the student painting in a studio where you can observe them?
Hi Koo -
First there's a pun in that "short" greeting which I will leave untouched but it does make me smile :)
When you say it happened sometime after the paint was applied, can you give a sense of how long the period was? And how were the pieces stored or kept during that time? Anything in contact with the surface? And as was mentioned, knowing the particulars of the brand of paint and the paper would help.
Hi Koo...it seems that this problem has stumped a number of us moderators. There are so many variables here...and reassure your student as he seems to have been trying to tackle them one by one (moving away from tap water to distilled water). I think at this point the only words of wisdom left to give is to simply encourage your student to continue down that path. I am sorry that we could not really find a solution here but please keep us updated if you can.
Is the student using anything other than water to thin colors? I have read about paint loss in watercolors due to excessive use of additional Gum Arabic.
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