Exploring Art in Isolation – One

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Watercolor Toilet Paper Art

I started to write this a month ago and it was put to the side as I shifted gears and made face masks. Two of my sisters keep asking me where is it? So, here is it.

I got a good chuckle from a fellow artist when she posted a photo of a painted empty toilet paper roll. I asked her if it was a challenge. She said, “I feel like it could be one.”

Watercolor Toilet Paper Art

List of what you will need:

  • Watercolor paper
  • Watercolor paints
  • Container of water – I use a shallow plastic food container
  • Palette – You can use a plastic plate or storage lid
  • Small (6) and Large (12) round brush
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Spray bottle with alcohol
  • Plastic wrap
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Masking tape
  • Backing – I use heavy glossy card stock, a plastic clip board works, as does a counter top.

I wanted to accept the challenge by posting a watercolor exercise, inspired by empty toilet paper rolls, the isolation we find ourselves in, and the need to find something fun to do.

I added a little color exercise to the mix to help me break out of my usual color palettes. I started by going to my Pinterest Board called Color. https://www.pinterest.com/ruthieonart/color/

I picked out three color palettes that looked good together. I choose three because I wanted to do a series of three paintings using different colors and different textures. I cut three 9 x 9 inches of watercolor paper and taped them down.

Taped down. Color scheme to the side.

The one thing that I decided would unite the three pieces is the use of empty toilet paper rolls as a stamp. I decided to use the end of the roll to stamp circles on a layer of watercolor texture. Circles are a theme I am incorporating into my art this year.

To the side of my watercolor paper I wrote down the names of the colors in my color scheme that I would be using on each piece.

I put down a wash using several of the colors in my scheme. A wash is achieved by diluting your watercolor in a puddle of water on a palette. Using a large brush, I painted the entire surface of the paper. Don’t use too much water, it will puddle on the paper, but you do need to get the paper wet with color.

Into the first wash, I used a water spray. Prime the sprayer and shoot one or two sprays of water onto the painting when it is shiny. A shiny watercolor is not soaking wet, but not dry. The water reacts nicely with it.

Wrap, Water, and Alcohol Texture

Into the second wash color combination, I used alcohol spray. You do it just like the water spray, but you use rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle.

Into the last wash, I used plastic wrap to texture the third piece. I painted a wash using my last color scheme. You do not have to wait until the painting gets shiny. Cover the entire sheet with plastic wrap and create wrinkles in the wrap. I let it dry, then removed the wrap.

I always like to think in terms of light, medium, and dark. In watercolors you typically work from light to dark, background, shapes to detail.

This initial wash forms the first lighter layer.

Next, I created more puddles of color wash in my watercolor palette sufficient enough to dip the end of the toilet paper roll.

I stamped each of the textured sheets with circles. I used different colors from my color schemes. I stamped different circle patterns on each sheet. I used a brush in some areas for extra lines and shapes. I splattered on top of each creation to finish them. The spatters were some of my darkest colors.

Final Wrap, Water, and Alcohol Texture

I let I the paintings dry and carefully removed the tape, pulling away from the painting.

I took my creations a step further by scanning the art and using it in a what I call digital watercolor quilts.

Digital Watercolor Quilt from Toilet Paper Art

Artist statement

A quilt speaks of our history particularly as women. I can image a homesteader in Kansas on many winter nights isolated but connecting a quilt piece by piece for a new season to come. I think of my great grandmother Emma Jane making quilt squares from flour sacks during the Great Depression.

Today, we are connected to those times through our isolation. All the sudden we get it, there is a huge appreciate of our collective past.

Great grandma Emma stitched quits by hand. I have sewn my share by machine, and as an extension of my skills as a graphic designer and watercolor artist, I create digital watercolor quilt square from “fabric” I create in watercolor and scan into my computer.

I wanted to add a little humor to this project, and we all need a little humor right now, by creating my “fabric” by stamping circles into watercolor textured washes with the end of an empty toilet paper roll.

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