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Old 10-24-2012, 07:18 AM
gododdin gododdin is offline
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Drying watercolours outdoors in damp climes...

Hi - I live in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and it's very 'damp' much of the time.
I paint finished work in my studio from watercolours done in a hardcover sketchbook on location (usually wild, mountainous areas far from habitation) but I have a problem with watercolour sketches which simply refuse to dry outdoors. I've tried a disposable lighter (ok but I burnt my fingers eventually!).
I searched for rechargeable hairdryer but it seems there is no such thing (probably because of the power requirements). I also thought about getting a pocket blowtorch (there's one made by Soto which looks quite good) but at 2300f I think it would set my sketchbook on fire!
My final idea is a small lightweight meths (alcohol) camping stove (and I can always make tea afterwards ).
I usually work back into the wash once dried with a Copic multiliner (BS) Working into a wet wash messes the pens up double quick, which is why I need to dry the wash outside.
Any ideas or suggestions would be much appreciated!
Thanks
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:07 AM
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Re: Drying watercolours outdoors in damp climes...

Quite a problem. I have heard of a watercolour painter using a small blow torch. Should be OK if you are careful.

Doug
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:14 AM
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Re: Drying watercolours outdoors in damp climes...

alcohol instead of water?
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:52 AM
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Re: Drying watercolours outdoors in damp climes...

Go to ebay and type in small butane torch. Find one to fit your needs. They work fine on drying watercolors. jbmi
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Old 10-24-2012, 12:55 PM
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Re: Drying watercolours outdoors in damp climes...

Just a thought, but how about putting some alcohol into your water to help speed drying? It's something I do at home not for painting but for other things and drying is faster.
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:41 PM
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Re: Drying watercolours outdoors in damp climes...

I have seen YouTube videos where an instant-on torch was used to dry a WC painting, but the torches themselves seemed kind of bulky. You mentioned that you go to far-away and hard-to-reach(?) places? Carrying more gear might hamper the effort.

I would try the alcohol.
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:14 PM
DaveCrow DaveCrow is offline
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Re: Drying watercolours outdoors in damp climes...

I know that pocket sized butane torches are made, as well as the full sized ones. That may be a workable option. I would practice on a "disposable" sketchbook first, just in case...

My parents live in coastal Maine. The fog there keeps everything perpetually damp. I expect to run into this same problem on my next visit.
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Old 10-28-2012, 01:07 PM
gododdin gododdin is offline
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Re: Drying watercolours outdoors in damp climes...

Thanks everyone for the great ideas! I've ordered a SOTO pocket blowtorch and we'll see how that goes. I'll also try the alcohol trick. I'll report back... In case anyone wants to see my work have a look at www.rhodevans.com. Not selling anything

Last edited by gododdin : 10-28-2012 at 01:09 PM. Reason: add web site details
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:28 PM
gododdin gododdin is offline
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Re: Drying watercolours outdoors in damp climes...

Somewhat belatedly here is an update. I bought a SOTO blowtorch in the end and, with care, it works fine for drying washes. I say with care because if I leave it in one spot for a second too long the paper begins to turn brown and scorch! I'm afraid that the weather has just been too bad of late for sketching out of doors (ok, I admit it, I'm gettin' old!) so I've just been busy painting indoors, setting up a Facebook page etc. I'm looking forward to getting out and about again when the weather improves.

It won't be tomorrow though - 77mph winds forecast for the Hebrides!

Thanks again for all the suggestions.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:51 PM
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Re: Drying watercolours outdoors in damp climes...

Sorry I am a little late - but I am painting most of the time PA at different conditions - sun , rain , snowfall ....
If I have problems with drying - I use a minimum of water and avoid wet washes

If you are able to controll the water on your paper - you have controll on your paintings too
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:47 AM
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Re: Drying watercolours outdoors in damp climes...

Peter Cronin uses a full sized plumbers blow torch! I have been using a small battery fan. It is the movement of air as well as the temperature that dries things.
Rob
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:34 AM
SSB SSB is offline
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Re: Drying watercolours outdoors in damp climes...

I have found that if I wait until the right moment they can be kind of patted off without disturbing the image, then stacked with a couple of scrap paper pieces to help absorb the excess water. There has been no change to the work so far, but you must wait until the paint has set (not the water) and gently blot with no smearing, hardly touching the painting surface. It is very very humid here and I do plein aire once a week or more. Finally, I made a folder from watercolour paper which transports the paintings well and seems to also encourage drying, obviously that is once you are done for the day...
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:59 PM
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Re: Drying watercolours outdoors in damp climes...

What several people do is have two things going at the same time. It helps if one of them is a drawing and the other a watercolor.

Richard
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:22 AM
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Re: Drying watercolours outdoors in damp climes...

Please don't use the blowtorch if you have used alcohol . . . .





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