Monday, 30 May 2016

Experiments - watercolour and ice

Thanks to Peter Davies ( for his advice and demonstrating the art of making watercolours. 

In the Arctic, temperature has increased at twice the rate as the rest of the globe, and could increase by another 8°C (14°F) by the end of this century. The warming atmosphere along with new weather pattern extremes is causing Arctic sea ice to melt at an alarming rate—12% per decade—that suggests the Arctic will be ice-free by 2030. The impacts of dwindling ice cover in the Arctic are far-reaching, from species endangerment to enhanced global warming, to the weakening or shut-down of global ocean circulation. See:

So one of the plans I have for my Arctic trip is to make frozen blocks of water-colours based on the colours I find in the Arctic, and then to allow these to melt and flow across paper -  reflecting the melting of the Arctic ice. 

I've been doing some initial experiments in my studios in Shetland and Somerset with water-colour pigments and ice; grinding down pure pigments with a glass muller to make my own water-colours...

the equipment
grinding water-colour pigments using a glass muller
adding water-colour medium and water

Pouring the watercolours in blocks ready for the freezer: 

Pigments ready for freezer

 Allowing the blocks of ice pigments to melt onto damped paper:
Melting blocks of iced water-colour
A bit of outdoor weathering...

Results -

There are lumps of pigment sitting on the surface which I quite like - probably frowned upon by watercolour purists! But I like the textural qualities that are emerging.

Initially I've used ordinary tap water, but have just mixed up some water-colour using sea water gathered from Lerwick Harbour, and distilled water gathered from the studio dehumidifier.

So I'll be trying these out soon...