Day 23: a study in cobalt

While looking for something for a drawing class I’m taking, I found a tiny little unopened pot of powdered gum arabic. I knew it was used in painting but didn’t know how, so I watched some videos and found that one way it is used is to slow the movement of watercolor. The video shows how to create the impression of a reflection of plants and trees at a river’s edge. The gum arabic used in the video, however is liquid. The powdered pot I have came with a small delicate fountain pen and pot of ink, so I’m fairly certain I’m expected to mix it with the ink (?) but decided to see how it would work in the water reflection test. This probably interests no one but me, sorry.

So, the first sample I tried. I painted a rectangle of water onto the paper… maybe 2×4 inches.  I mixed a small amount of the powder into a small amount of water (like… a ‘brushfull’ of the G.A. to six or so brushfulls of water.) Then I dragged a bead of blue paint along the edge to see what would happen. Didn’t do much. Nothing I didn’t expect, anyway. Second sample… another rectangle. This time adding no gum arabic. (my ‘control’ sample… I don’t know why I did it second… my mind doesn’t think scientifically.) Pretty similar results.  I could see a difference, but not much.

So I doubled the gum arabic in the solution and tried again, producing an interesting effect, but not really what I’d hoped for. I scribbled some tree shapes in to see how it would look. .

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One more try. Tired of playing, I painted my rectangle, and this time dipped my damp brush right into the gum arabic powder, and brushed it over the top edge of my rectangle of water. Then ran the bead of color along the top. Ah! There! Pretty cool, really. Except for that blob of white powder in the center. Sometime soon, I’ll invest in the liquid, and figure out how to really use the powder. Until then, I have this if I need it.

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