3 Ways To Fix Those Painting Booboos
Tea Roses Watercolor Painting
No One’s Perfect
Every now and then and artist creates something that didn’t come out just as imagined. This doesn’t mean that it’s a disaster or a mistake. We don’t make mistakes…. Only happy accidents. But even with happy accidents, there are occasions when I hate how a picture came out. What then? Do I throw it away and start over? Sometimes. But first I see if there is a way to fix the mistake or area that didn’t come out as planned.
Oils vs Watercolor
This is where most artists say they like acrylics or oils best. You don’t have to discard a painting altogether to fix areas with oils and acrylics. Just paint over them. You cannot do that with watercolor. The very nature of watercolor is to keep its transparency. So if an area got too dark, there are some ways to pull the color back up but only to a point. Some of the paint will have seeped deep into the paper and will never come off.
Tea Roses ReworkedClick thumbnail to view full-size
Watercolor vs Oil or Acrylic
Do you paint with Watercolor?
Method #1: Work slowly
In the case of my Tea Roses, I noticed that the background was so busy that it took away from the focal point of the roses. I was disappointed. I thought the darkness would bring out the color but it didn’t. Now what? Slowly I used a stiff brush and water to loosen the color and dab it with absorbent paper towels. I worked in small areas at a time, moving along the perimeter and working my way inward. This took some time but the results were much more favorable than throwing the painting out and starting over.
Alone AgainClick thumbnail to view full-size
Method #2: Collage
I created a painting of a lady’s hands from a photo and unfortunately painted the railing and background just as they appeared in the photo. This is one of those cases where I should have taken artistic license and changed the photo to enhance the subject. The railing looked bad and created an unpleasant tangent with her fingers. Painting over the dark area was not an option. Light watercolors will not cover dark ones. I tried pulling up the color and that helped only a little. The tangent created was still evident. What now?
I went to the art store and found some lovely textured rice paper. Buying a variety, I returned home, tore the paper and glued it to the offending areas of the painting using a thin mixture of white glue and water. After the rice paper dried, I repainted some of the areas that had been covered and left the rest whitish.
No Longer Just Watercolor
Now, this is not a pure watercolor since the paper has been added so when I entered it in an art show, I had to use the category of mixed media/collage. However, this painting received an award. The collage made a disastrous painting successful.
Tiffany PortraitClick thumbnail to view full-size
"A Walk In The Woods With Tiffany"
This same technique was used to save a portrait I did of my niece. Working from a photo again, I painted a portrait of my niece with a window and climbing roses behind her. The background again was so busy that it took away from the charming girl. I tried washing the roses away as before but the outlines were still there. So once again, I got some rice paper and glued it all around the girl. When it dried I drew a border and painted some shadows lightly with watercolor over the rice paper. Then I added some objects from my Nature Journal. I call it “A Walk In The Woods With Tiffany”. Once again, I won an award for this painting.
Nature Journal PagesClick thumbnail to view full-size
I think every artist should keep a Nature Journal drawing and painting little things of interest where ever they turn up. This can be a reference later as in this painting with the natural objects around Tiffany.
Mixed Media Book
PaintingsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Method #3: Mixed media
When you have created a painting, even if you don’t like all of it, there are usually parts that came out very well. And watercolor paper is good heavy paper, not cheap. I have created many a craft project using watercolor paintings that were only partly successful because of composition or color choices. I have several patterns that utilize watercolor paper and make great gifts.
Boxes, Bags, and Fans
You can create boxes with your paper. See the included pattern and feel free to copy and download it for your use. I have also created a book of boxesto be used with watercolor paper available on Lulu called Boxes, Boxes, Boxes by Denise McGill.
You can create fans, which come in very handy at family reunions. These are invariably held in parks during the summer months and therefore make great gifts. I have written a few articles on making fans and include patterns here.
Make gift bags for all occasions using good watercolor paper. Paper bags from your own paintings look really clever and make a hit any time of year.
Also, cut portions of your watercolor paintings to use for homemade cards. Very memorable.
My Skillshare Watercolor Class
Mixed MediaClick thumbnail to view full-size
Another Mixed Media Approach
Create a mixed media project using oil paints and acrylic medium. This is a fun project for the artist who has never mixed these different mediums. Take a watercolor painting and cover it lightly with acrylic matte medium. Do not press hard or stir the medium on the watercolor much as you can pull up the paint below without meaning to. When the medium is dry it can now be covered with a thin oil antiquing. Use burnt umber and Liquin medium. The Liquin will cause the oil paint to dry quickly. Paint the thin layer all over the painting and allow it to almost dry. After about 10 to 15 minutes use a paper towel to lift some of the paint back up to give an antiqued effect. You can add another layer after this one dries completely, to give a darker perimeter or darken areas you aren’t happiest with. It makes a very interesting painting effect and spruces up an otherwise dull painting.