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A Toothbrush for Painting? Are you Kidding Me?

In an earlier blog, "Here, There, and Everywhere!", I posted a watercolor painting of a group of iris. I wanted to tell you a little more about how I painted this piece. I began the painting using a technique called wet into wet. This is probably my favorite way to complete a watercolor painting. This means that the artist wets the paper and then drops wet luscious color onto the paper. The color will spread, blend, and travel in any and all wet areas of the paper. If you don’t want color in a certain place then be certain that it remains dry. The great advantage of wet into wet painting is that it allows for beautiful blending and many pleasant surprises. The artist has some control but not complete control over the outcome. Remarkably if an area of the paper is dry the color will not enter into that part. The dips and bumps in the paper are responsible for this happening. If you look closely into the white areas of the iris found in the painting you will see another technique that I used. This is also a favorite of mine. I placed color on the paper and then I lifted it away until I reached the white of the paper. To achieve this I used a regular watercolor brush and then in areas that were more difficult to lift I actually used a toothbrush to scrub the area with continuous overlapping brush strokes until I reached the white surface. Afterwards I used a dry tissue to blot up the excess watercolor from the scrubbed out area. If more color needed to be removed I simply repeated the process.

For those of you reading this blog, you may find it interesting that an artist uses a toothbrush for part of the painting process. For me it is a very important tool and one that I use in almost all of my watercolor paintings. If not for this brush I couldn’t have achieved the soft white areas of the petals as well as other light areas.

So a toothbrush doesn’t just have to be used for care of the teeth. There are several other uses. Just be certain that you keep the art tooth brush separate!

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