Ice play

This post is going to be more pictures than words. A few weeks ago we were mid-heatwave and the paint was drying on my paper as it came off the tip of the brush (or so it seemed). Painting in my studio one Sunday, with the doors flung wide to capture even the faintest whiff of air movement, I needed a long cold drink to cool me down. The ice in my glass sparked an idea and I dropped into experimental mode. (WARNING: This is going to be a very geeky post)

Taking two different papers (don’t I always?) I tried incorporating chips of ice with paint by:

  • dropping ice into wet paint already on the paper
  • placing chips of ice onto paint that had already dried
  • putting ice onto the paper and spattering different colours.
Watercolour and Ice experiment on Arches NOT paper
Ice and watercolour experiment on Arches NOT paper
Ice and watercolour experiment on Arches HP paper.
Ice and watercolour experiment on Arches HP paper.

 

The following weekend when I went back into the studio I had a look at the results. I thought I would probably get some very predictable outcomes – after all the two elements were in fact just watercolour: pigment and water. But changing the state of one element did produce some interesting effects.

Ice dropped into wet paint - on Arches HP
Ice dropped into wet paint – on Arches HP paper

 

Ice dropped into wet paint - on Arches NOT
Ice dropped into wet paint – on Arches NOT paper

Not entirely surprisingly, by far the least interesting result came form placing ice on dry paint.

Ice placed on dry paint - on Arches HP
Ice placed on dry paint – on Arches HP paper

 

Ice placed on dry paint - on Arches NOT paper
Ice placed on dry paint – on Arches NOT paper

The ice does seem to lift a very small amount of pigment off the dried paint and creates a shadowy ghost of it’s melted shape.

Finally the splatterings:

Blue and yellow paint splattered over an ice chip on Arches HP paper
Blue and yellow paint splattered over an ice chip on Arches HP paper

I rather like the little ‘rock shadow’ effect created by splattering at an angle so a section of the paper stays unmarked. I assumed when I did it that, as the ice melted, that gap would fill in. The fact that it didn’t just blend in was the surprise.

Blue and yellow paint splattered over an ice chip on Arches NOT paper
Blue and yellow paint splattered over an ice chip on Arches NOT paper

If you haven’t given up reading all this geekery by now, I am impressed by your perseverance. The sheets of results will go up on my studio painting ideas pinboard for possible inspiration one day in the future. I hope you’ve found my experiment at least marginally useful (even if it’s just a reminder not to waste time playing with ice instead doing proper painting. 🙂 )

All the results are unpredictable to an extent – you can’t control where the water goes when the ice melts, or the pace at which it melts. And it requires great patience – using the trusty hairdryer won’t deliver the same results. You need to wait until the ice melts and the results are completely dry before you can do anything more on the paper. But I rather like some of these effects and I may well consider using them in abstract works in future. Was it massively useful? Probably not. But at least, it stopped me thinking about how damned hot it was!

7 thoughts on “Ice play

  1. Vandy, I love your experimentation – just trying to stay cool and think cool thoughts, you came up with something interesting you may use later. Yep, Geeky me read the whole thing and enjoyed it all 🙂 Wishing you cooler weather!

  2. Vandy so proud of you doing more and more experimentation in your work. The effects with the splatter could have lots of interesting uses and looks like a lot of fun
    ~ you are one COOL chick~ keep up the great work!!!! : D Georgia

  3. I must be as geeky as you then because I found this thoroughly interesting. Thanks for sharing. 😉

  4. Thanks everyone for all your enthusiasm. I’m so pleased my experiments were enjoyed. I’m sure I’ll find something else that makes me curious before too long.

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