Fingerpainting in Watercolor

Hello my little Squares! I am in the middle of a piece I am working on right now with a lot of experimentation in textures and the like – but I had to share a pretty cool trick that I just discovered myself. Yes, I know – it sounds impossible for me to have not read about it and just blundered into something useful. I am normally much more skilled at making mistakes that mark a failure.

Fingers! I learned that by using your finger in a heavy wash, you can help direct the flow by redistributing the pigment with a bit of a bull’s-eye effect. It resembles dropping alcohol in a wash, albiet smaller in circumference (depending on your finger-size) and a little less dramatic. It really helped me to distribute some darks while sculpting some bushes. I will make a post about the painting itself in the near future, especially as it looks it won’t be a failure (as long as I don’t mess up the sheep too much). 🙂

Having spent a little more time thinking about this situation, I may have been inspired by Joseph Zbukvic in a video I had seen in the past, where he used fingers to lift small amounts of color from a wash. In that same video, he used a nail to scrape color out of a wash to create texture. I also am familiar with the fact that some Chinese watercolor techniques involve dropping a heavy wash with a lot of pigment and then using a finger or a nail to draw tendrils out of it in order to create grass or straw or things of the like. However, neither of these methods explicitly used a finger to solely redistribute the pigments to conform to better develop the shape of a subject. Maybe they think it is something so obvious it is not worth mentioning. However, that would underestimate me – I don’t think anything is overtly obvious in the world of watercolor. Maybe be explaining this will help out or inspire one of you to give this a go.

A quick disclaimer on this method, though: wash your hands after doing this process before eating anything. Some paints have potentially-dangerous toxic chemicals in them that could cause problems if they are consumed and accumulate. It is best to avoid this issue by keeping food and drink away from the painting area and always washing your hands well before taking a bite of that apple!

What other unconventional ways to do you use during your painting process? I’d love find out and give it a try.

Until then, happy painting!


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