Black Watercolor Paper

The next few pieces I’ll be doing will be on Stonehenge Aqua black watercolor paper.  It’s very challeging to use, as the blackness requires really thinking about the colors to use, and the subject matter must be well suited to using black.  I do have several reference photos and ideas for these types of pieces, and am excited to start working on them.

Metallic Paints

One of the members of the Madison Watercolor Society uses black paper frequently, and she uses metallic watercolor paints to make her pieces pop.  Recently, I went to an art store with a friend, and they sold these paints!  I was really excited to try them out on my next painting. 

I was afraid that the metallic wouldn’t show up very well on the black paper - normal transparent watercolors need to be mixed with Titanium White in order for them to be visible on the paper, and even then, multiple layers are often needed.  These metallic paints were incredible in that they were vibrant and colorful with just one coat!  And no white needed.

These pods are small, so I’m not sure how far this paint will go.  But now I know they work and I can reorder the ones I use the most.

Bronze Humpback Whale

Lucky for me, our next trip was to Hawaii, where we were looking forward to seeing humpback whales this time of the year.  

Before we went on a whale watching boat, I stopped at an information center where there were experts on humpback whales along with great visuals.  Outside of the center, stood a beautiful bronze statue of a humpback whale!  It was oxidized and the colors were stunning.  This would be a perfect subject to test out my new metallic watercolors.


After sketching out the lines, I put on a very light wash of orange and blue, regular watercolors.  As soon as I brushed on the first metallic color, I was excited.  It looked great!  In the light, the colors sparkle just like metal.  I’m mixing in regular transparent watercolor paints with the metallic.  This is new territory for me, so I’m learniing how the paints play together.  

My Set Up

I brought all my painting supplies with me to Hawaii so that I could work on this piece.  Our room had a nice dining table, and I was able to spread all my stuff out, plus the lighting was great!  



I have been asked how I create my Cookie Cutter paintings, so thought I would include the process here:  
Once I find a good combination of cookie cutter and image, I make a paper cutout of the cookie cutter, often enlarging it a bit, out of heavy construction paper.  I put a bit of tape on the back of the paper and stick it to my watercolor paper.  Then, I go around the construction paper with masking fluid (1).  Once the masking fluid is dry, I sketch the image inside the cookie cutter shape. With the masking fluid still on I start to paint, usually putting down a light wash so I will know where the outline of the cookie cutter is (2).  Once I know I’ll be able to see where the outline is, I remove the masking fluid and them complete the painting (3).