Watercolor ground, first contact

The very first trials on watercolor ground was on the small test panel I painted earlier with the left over ground. Quick observations: colors blend nicely, look vibrant (if slightly pastel at least in test board), can paint sharp edges and lines that do not bleed (unless there is slight moisture) and masking fluid came off without damaging the surface.

Other pros using a canvas with Daniel Smith watercolor ground is that you can easily revert back to white background without any damage to the surface. In below examples

  • for the flower I wanted to add and modify petals
    • for the first petal I taped the petal form so I can just start to blend the existing colors into one petal while lifting off excess color, without disturbing areas under tape
    • after removing the tape I reshaped the petal a bit more and also adjusted some other petals with just brush and water
  • in the bird I accidentally painted blue to wrong area so I quickly lifted most of the color off with brush (leaving dim blue) and then moistened magic eraser and rubbed the area clean

However, problem for me at least was, it is also too easy to lift off paint by accident. So layering colors can be a bit problematic, especially if twiddling same area too much (do I twiddle, why?).

Reworking an area can make the color to start lift off and leaving a nasty white spot which is hard to fix to blend with the surrounding area. You either have to live with it, try and make it work or redo a larger area to correct the spot. (magic eraser <3)

Overall I like the feel of painting on the ground and the look of end result. At the same time there is a bit of learning and adjusting to different ways of working compared to using paper. Per my feelings on the first trials and errors, the colors should be pretty much laid out more or less as wanted in first layer, the color variations and intensity. After drying you can add a few additional layers for depth as needed but do not start to fiddle too much or paint can lift off.

Not sure I would trade easy layering to the possibility to ‘undo’ areas without fear of destroying paper, but lets see how I feel after finishing all three panels. I’ll then review my pros and cons on using the Daniel Smith watercolor ground.

Sneak peek of flower painting on a panel prepared with Daniel Smith watercolor painting ground:

See panel preparation in post: https://soilatuominen.art/2020/01/28/watercolor-ground-and-cradled-panels/


6 Comments Add yours

  1. I personally prefer paper, compared to special watercolor canvas. Paint lifts too easily, and there is hardly any nice flow since everything sits on the surface. I started 1 painting on watercolor canvas about 10 years ago, never finished. I think I will paint it over with acrylic, it was quite large 20 x 24 inches or 51 x 61 cm. Watercolor ground is a bit disappointing. I once tried it, it’s expensive and if you really need to recreate the white paper, I think lifting helps and it’s better to paint watercolor as watercolor, just leaving paper white. I have tried all grounds, and not one is really good. For watercolor, it’s actually way better to stretch paper over bars. It works very well and you got yourself canvas which is covered with nice paper. Even not that expensive paper acted very well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. soila says:

      Nice to hear your experiences on panels and ground and tips on canvas with paper 🙂 Good points and I agree. I still have my last panel to paint but not really feeling motivated to finish it either. Now I am craving to paint something on paper for a change.


  2. Following this with much interest as I am wanting to try pet portraits in watercolour on canvas. Your flower is exquisite!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. soila says:

      Wow, beautiful portraits you are creating! However, in case you create watercolor paintings with as strong colors and layering, as also I have been doing, I am afraid you might also face the unwanted lifting of color. It is quite annoying. I suppose the panel is likely to be better with a more loose painting technique and light layering. Interested to see also how you feel about the panels 🙂


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