Saturday, March 29, 2014

Masking Fluid

To mask or not to mask? For those that aren’t familiar with masking fluid, it is a liquid composed of rubber latex for protect when applied in broad washes. Most often it is applied to the paper at the beginning of the paper to keep some whites. It can also be applied to maintain colours of previous washes, e.g. layers of grasses. When you do remove from painted areas the latex will probably pick up some of the color underneath and make that area lighter.
It is best to use for small complex shapes, such as fences. You can apply it as a fine spatter, to represent the effects of light on water. The beauty of masking fluid is that it allows the painter to paint freely over the masked area and have uniform areas. 
Here are a few tips of applying masking fluid
  • Do not apply to damp paper, or it will not come off.
  • Remove as soon as possible.
  • Wait for the masking to dry completely before painting, otherwise you risk ruining your good brushes.
  • Plan where you want the whites to be. You must know exactly where the highlights or areas you will want to preserve are.
  • Do not shake the bottle. Shaking will cause the product to lump and you might get tiny air bubbles in the fluid. You can stir it gently.
  • Do not use your good brushes; even you apply soap to protect the bristles. You can buy colour shapers to apply masking fluid. An old brush will be easier to wash if you rub it before on a bar of soap with a bit of water. Silicone brushes (Colour Shapers) are also very convenient for smaller areas, as you only need to wait for the masking fluid to dry and then peel it off the brush. You can also splatter masking fluid with a toothbrush or draw lines with a toothpick or a squeeze bottle with a fine tip.
  • Remove it carefully once paper is fully dry. You may use your fingertips or soft erasers. 
  • Make sure paper is completely dry before you start removing.
  • Once removed soften the edge of paint that have been created with a stiff brush and water.
Other cautions
  • Make sure you are not using a permanent mask.
  • Do not use a hair dryer to accelerate the drying time as the heat will make the latex adhere to the paper and it will be very difficult to take off.
  • Do not dilute too much with water when it gets thick. A bit of water will make easier to apply, but adding too much water will make it loose its resisting properties and adhere too strongly to the paper.
 I’m hoping that other AT members will be contributing articles to this blog.

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