View Full Version : Wallis Experiment with Atomizer

Donna T
02-23-2007, 09:04 PM
Hello everyone! I have been playing around with this white paper and trying to find a way to tone the background. I tried brushing rubbing alcohol on and it warps the paper a little. This is the professional grade, not the sturdier museum grade, and it's not dry-mounted. The brush leaves streaks, too, which aren't always a bad thing. Deborah Secor showed us in one of her demos how she uses a spray bottle to apply the alcohol. This worked great but I still had some warping when I applied enough alcohol to push the colors into the paper. Rubbing the pigment in dry worked very well for me...until I had to brush off the pastel and make corrections. I usually make LOTS of corrections:rolleyes: and want my background to stay put. So here's what I tried: I applied NuPastels and then rubbed them into the paper, trying to cover all the white. The skin should grow back on my finger any day now!:lol: I put my finger in a plastic bag and rubbed the rest in. Much better! This is how it looked. before I rubbed the colors in.
Then I spritzed it lightly with the alcohol from this purse-size atomizer that cost about $2.50. I didn't let it get so wet that it would drip or run. I let this dry and it didn't warp at all!:D
I liked the watercolor effect I got and even darkened some areas and spritzed again. Still nice and flat!
This is the finished painting- "Cold Breakfast." These poor crows were eating spilled birdseed after our recent ice storm. It's not as blue or as dark IRL. These guys had so little color that I had to jazz them up a little!
Oh, I don't want to forget to mention that I brushed off color and even used my kneaded eraser and the background stayed put!
C and C always welcome!
Donna T

02-23-2007, 09:20 PM
Thanks for that info! And nice painting too!

02-23-2007, 09:32 PM
How interesting!!
This is a cute painting, I like the affect you achieved.


02-23-2007, 10:23 PM
what a lovely finish !! ... :thumbsup:

02-23-2007, 10:36 PM
Hi Donna,

Thanks for sharing your experiment. Haven't tried my Wallis yet, but used the "Viva Wash" on a piece of La Carte and liked that method. Will have to try an atomizer.

Really like your painting... did a great job on the snow and love the arrangement of the crows.


02-23-2007, 10:44 PM
Donna T,
Love this! The composition, palette, and subject are great!
Lots o character, too.
:) Cindy

02-24-2007, 05:06 AM
what a great idea...........
and just love the finished piece - excellent

02-24-2007, 05:18 AM
Just love this - except it makes me feel cold!

Mary Brigid
02-24-2007, 07:03 AM
wow Donna what a fantastic result you got. I don't know my Wallis well enought yet to experiment with it.
I really like your subject. It makes an ordinary every day scene into something special.
Thanks for sharing this
Mary Brigid

02-24-2007, 08:28 AM
Thanks for sharing your experiment...It turned out beautiful!

Karen Margulis
02-24-2007, 09:08 AM
Thanks for sharing your experiment!! Your painting turned out wonderful....love the colors in the birds. I hate having warped paper so that is why I always hesitate to do the alcohol wash. Now I have to get one of those atomizers....can you tell me where you got yours? Here's a tip I got at a Terry Ludwig workshop for rubing in the pastel...use a piece of foam pipe insulation which you can get at any hardware store..I got mine at Big Lots!
Thanks again!

Rose Baggs
02-24-2007, 09:32 AM
Nice painting! Thanks for sharing the experiment with us!

Donna T
02-24-2007, 10:55 AM
Thanks everyone for all the positive comments! I also tried the atomizer on my gesso and pumice surface that I use on paper. I thought it might dissolve the surface but it didn't. It also didn't fix the pastel into the paper like it does on the Wallis. I guess there isn't enough "tooth" to stick to. Karen, I've heard of pipe insulation and I'll find some and give it a try. I bought this little atomizer at Bed Bath and Beyond but a drug store might also have them. I've been looking at perfume in bottles that I never use and wondering if I could dump it and refill with rubbing alcohol. Hmmm...scented paper? :lol:

Donna T

02-25-2007, 02:45 PM
Donna.... very nice painting! Those crows will find food where there isn't any, every time! I like the added color... makes the painting come to life. Donna Roth

02-26-2007, 11:27 AM
Beautiful work! Everything about it is incredible. Background, birds, snow....brrrrrrrr. Wonderful. Who'd a thunk that crows would make such a beautiful painting! But it certainly did.


Donna T
02-26-2007, 12:41 PM
Thanks Donna and Ronda! I'm glad there are others who appreciate the artistic potential of these noisy, rowdy birds. They are definitely not the prettiest birds in my yard but they do have personality!

Donna T

Pinecone Conniff
02-26-2007, 09:00 PM
Great experiment! A complete success!:clap:
Crows are fabulous, smart, social critters...their dark plumage really shows off their bird poses...silhouettes in a way. I love their different positions...you captured that in your painting.
Have you ever seen the paintings Jamie Wyeth has done of crows/ravens?

Donna T
02-26-2007, 10:24 PM
Hi Annette, I just checked out Jamie Wyeth's raven painting. I had never seen that one before. It looks kind of scary! You have the most beautiful works on your website. I added it to my favorites list!

Donna T

Alachua Artist
02-27-2007, 10:24 AM
Who'd a thunk that crows would make such a beautiful painting!
oh I LOVE my crows! http://wlwilkerson.com/crows.htm
And after seeing this painting, it has inspired me to try my guys in pastels.

Very nice work, Donna T. But don't feel too badly about the crows - they do quite well. Smart dickens they are!

Donna T
02-27-2007, 12:10 PM
Wow, Wendy! I love your crows too! Gouach and rice paper...never heard of the combination but it sure works. Your bird pictures are awesome and I admire your style- realistic but with lots of expression. I hope to get to that stage someday.

Donna T

Enid Goyers
03-19-2009, 01:36 PM
Thank you so much Donna. It is now all clear to me and I will certainly try to experiment. I just need to buy the sprayer so that I can start.

Donna T
03-19-2009, 02:54 PM
Hi Enid, you should be able to find some kind of sprayer. I would have used the ones that came with some cologne that I never wear but the tops are not meant to be re-used. Some of the nicer department stores sell empty perfume bottles but I hope you can find something that's not expensive. Some glass cleaners come with sprayers that put out a fine mist - maybe there's something around your house that you can experiment with.


03-19-2009, 03:11 PM
Donna, I love the composition and the individual personalities of each bird, the focused urgency they have really comes across. Boy you must have a steady hand with that atomizer to keep that wallis flat.My experience with wallis pro and liquids is not very good at all, although I've never tried the atomizer, my paper buckled worst than plain paper with a water color wash.I'm glad your experiment worked out. Joe.

03-19-2009, 03:19 PM
Donna Great painting love the explainations. great colors on the birds they work well!

Paula Ford
03-19-2009, 07:24 PM
Great experiment Donna! Can't wait to try it. Beautiful finish to the painting too!

Donna T
03-19-2009, 08:30 PM
Do you guys realize how old this thread is? :lol: Thanks Joe, Betsy and Paula. Joe, I hardly ever use anything wet on Wallis anymore without mounting it first. Even a little warping drives me crazy!


03-19-2009, 08:44 PM
Hi Donna, I'm glad this was brought out of the depths of debris! I love the birds, they are beautiful! Real one's are beautiful too. I'm trying to capture magpies with my camera (they live next door, or rather, next tree), but the wee things are weary of humans, although my backyard is their turf. (Less wary of me than my husband, though, so I may yet succeed.)

Yes, it is my experience too that alcohol and water makes the underpainting stay put on sanded papers.


Paula Ford
03-19-2009, 08:46 PM
:eek: :lol:

03-19-2009, 11:11 PM
Donna, I like this alot looks cold, I'm going to have to try this also when I get some paper. thanks for the info and to see a great painting.

03-19-2009, 11:46 PM
Donna,I always wondered what those funny looking numbers near the top meant! Lol. Those birds sure have stood the test of time though. Joe.

Deborah Secor
03-20-2009, 09:40 AM
I really wondered when I saw some of the names from the past, so I checked the date! Goes right along with this current thread on underpainting (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=553015)...


Adriana Meiss
03-20-2009, 03:12 PM
Hi Donna,
I'm so glad the thread is back or I would have completely missed it!
It made me smile right away. The poses are great. It's really beautiful!
What's the size?

03-21-2009, 02:21 PM
Wonderful painting.. & I am so glad you shared your experiment.. I have been wanting to try an underpainting & this is great info!!

03-22-2009, 09:54 AM
What a nice painting, Donna! I love your crows and although the alchohol lesson is over my head I think your painting came out great! I can remember using an atomizer in highschool with shellac to seal pastel paintings.....but we had to blow into it! Not fun!!!! That was a LONG time ago! ;)
Your crows are so real looking....and their poses are perfect. Nice job! Donna R.