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Painting with Carol » masking fluid
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Painting with Carol

Techniques, tips and tricks for watercolours and acrylics

Using masking fluid

February 21st, 2008 | Category: Painting techniques, Watercolours

I like to think that everyone can be successful when they start to paint with watercolours, so I introduce art masking fluid with the first painting. There is a school of thought that one should never use masking fluid - that you should be able to introduce light in to a painting with out it.

But you know what? If you are successful with your first painting you are likely to want to continue.

Art masking fluid is a rubber latex solution. It is used to mask out an area you do not wish to paint. For instance, if you would like to paint a rose you would either trace or sketch the rose, then you would carefully block it in with the masking fluid, making sure the paper is covered well. If you can see the paper through the masking fluid, then you will need to add another coat.

Allow it to dry before you apply the required washes over the paper for the background. Masking fluid can be used before any painting has been done - this will ensure that any highlights can be kept white. Masking Fluid is available in a clear or slightly yellow tint and I have even seen it in a blue colour. It can also be introduced at any stage of the painting - providing the surface is thoroughly dry before it is applied.

I like to use the brand Art Spectrum which has a yellow tint to it this makes it easier to see when applying it. Of course, you can buy other good brands of masking fluid at your favourite supplier.

TIPS:

  • Don’t use your good brushes when applying the masking fluid, but use a brush with a good point.
  • Continually condition your brush with liquid detergent before you dip it in the fluid as it is inclined to clog the brush.
  • Leave a small amount of liquid detergent in the brush before applying
  • Wash your brush frequently.

I like to paint over the sketch lines as I find the masking fluid will remove them. It is important that the masking fluid is dry before you remove it - even when it’s dry it will have a wet sticky look so touch it with the tip of your finger to check. Gently rub away the masking fluid with a clean fingertip or an eraser.

Masking fluid can also be used for textured effects and splattering - the list goes on and on there is just so much for you to learn, it is so exciting. I think I will leave that for when we are actually painting a project together.

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