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Arches National Park Utah on Masa PaperArches National Park, Utah – watercolor on  21″x 14 ” Masa Paper

Toned MasaToned Masa Paper

First WashFirst Wash

I showed the final painting to a few people before this post and not one, not two, but THREE people told me it reminded them of the Flintstones’ house.   Fred and Wilma, I’ve renovated your place.  You’re welcome.

Quin colors

A while back I got a box of Quinacridone colors from Daniel Smith.  I’ve used them on occasion, but decided to do a test of all of them on watercolor paper to see all the colors together since many of them are similar.   Here they are in all their Quin Glory.  I had started the painting at the top using some regular watercolors, but decided to add some of these colors to the mix.  I like the splash of Quin Pink in the bottom left corner of the painting.

And again, for no reason, here’s another picture of my dog.  Hey, get off the bed!


watertower on masa 7-27-13Carroll Street water tower – 101/2 ” by 14″ – watercolor on Masa Paper

June was one of the wettest on record here in NYC.  I think it rained every day.  July was one of the hottest with temps in the 90’s and with the humidity making it feel like it’s in the 100’s.  And don’t even get me started on what it feels like down on the subway platforms.   I feel like I’ve been damp (a nicer word than sweaty) for two months.  Apparently you can’t use the word moist since a study showed that people HATE that word.  I never had a problem with moist especially when it’s paired with the word “cake”.

Well, I guess I’m mad for masa now.   I so enjoyed the first one I did here that I immediately started a second one.

Watertower on masa first wash 7-27-13

Here’s what it looked like after I toned the masa paper, drew the image and laid down the first washes.

I’ve already got another piece toned and ready to go.   Using the masa paper and toning it first is allowing me to be freer with colors.  Once the paper is toned you now must work with the toned paper and sometimes colors aren’t where you’d expect them to be since you are toning the back of the paper.

Speaking of colors, did you know that the definition of vermillion is?

a strong red that is deeper than geranium, yellower and deeper than geranium red, and bluer and deeper than average cherry red

How did I know that?  I was looking something up on the merriam-webster on-line dictionary and came across 10 definitions of colors. Now really, would you describe vermillion that way?   It almost sucks the life out of the color!

And for no reason, here’s a picture of my dog.

Kaiya 7-27-13And finally, why is the spacing all screwed up my my posts?   I have paragraph spacing, but when I post it all bunches up.  Ugh!  Anyone have any suggestions on how to fix it?

Cape Breton ferry on masa July 2013Cape Breton ferry – watercolor on Masa paper

Well, I finally did it.  A painting on Masa paper.  And here it is.   Ever since I saw Leslie’s paintings on Masa paper I’ve wanted to try it.   So what did I do when I wanted to start this project?  Go directly to Leslie’s blog, search for masa paper and viola!  Step by Step instructions.   She’s the best.    I also visited Beth’s blog because she has paintings on Masa paper too.  Here’s my quick tutorial.

Get some Masa paper.  Cut it to about a 1/2 inch all around shorter than your watercolor paper.  Take a sharpie and put a small dot on the shiny side of the masa paper.   The masa paper has a shiny side and a fuzzy side.   The shiny side is considered the “right” side, but I’ve read blogs where people have painted on both sides.   For now we will go with the shiny side as the correct side.

Ball it up and wet it until it’s soaked through. Squeeze the water out of the ball and then CAREFULLY un-ball the masa paper.  Check out where your sharpie dot is.  I put mine on the bottom right corner.   It might bleed through when the masa paper gets wet, but if you lay down the paper with the sharpie dot in the same place, i.e. the bottom right corner, you’ll know that’s the shiny side.  Now, flip it over to the un-shiny side with some paper towels underneath.  Spread it out and “tone” it.  Toning it means you take some of your watercolor paper and paint the back.  Keep in mind what it is you want to paint.  I think I toned mine to dark, but hey, that’s the way it goes.

Let dry and then, using matte medium mixed with a little water (3:1) spread it on the back of the toned paper, flip it over and adhere it to your watercolor paper.  Spread out carefully on the watercolor paper, let dry and then paint!

Now, some people draw on their paper before balling it up and wetting it.  My drawing disappeared in the water.  So I just waited and drew on it once it was all dry.

Here’s what the painting looked like in an earlier stage:masa paper start

Have fun.
And here’s some paintings from one of my wonderful teachers.  She paints about a subject all New Yorkers are familiar with.  The Subway.  Her name is Joan Iaconetti and her website is here:  I love them!

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