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Using Plastic Sheets for Textured Backgrounds

Author: Rod Webb, Contributing Editor

For this watercolor painting I needed a textured background that would suit the subject. This was achieved by using crumpled plastic shopping bags. 

Left image: the painting

Right image: detail, upper right

I first printed the word "WetCanvas" onto 300gm watercolor paper by running it through my Canon printer set to the thicker paper setting.

To preserve the lettering, I applied masking fluid using an old brush with "washing up" liquid rubbed into the bristles. This will stop the fluid sticking to the hairs and can be easily washed off  immediately after use.

After wetting the paper with clear water, I dropped on some strong colors.

Next we need some plastic sheeting. I used some supermarket shopping bags as these are thin and when crumpled many small creases are produced.

Experiment on small scraps of paper before applying to your painting. Thicker plastic will give larger creases and hence, a different pattern.

The plastic is placed on the watercolor paper while the paint is still wet. Next, add suitable weights and leave for an hour to dry.

Experiment with amount of weight as this will also change the effect. After drying, the masking fluid was removed, and for added effect, I outlined the lettering with a black marker pen.

Unusual effects can be generated with this method, as shown in these detail shots.

  Rod Webb is a self taught artist who works mainly in watercolors and pastels. His primary interest is in local scenes and still life paintings. He started painting 4 years ago after watching videos of well known artists.

Rod is a contributing editor to WetCanvas! and can be reached via email at: rodw@ihug.co.nz