19th-Century Watercolor Style Really Works September 2, 2021 12:37

Years ago I read how some of the 19th-century British watercolorists did various things to make their paintings look more like oil so they could charge more for them. After all, why should oil painters get all the money? :) I read about their use of aquapasto and tried it a few years ago but didn't get oil-painting results. 

Then I tried it again recently and started getting ideas. I did an experimental painting where I saw how I could get a buildup of texture in a painting thanks to aquapasto, so I set out to use it in earnest.

In this painting, I always mixed the tube paint 50/50 with aquapasto and used only a tiny bit of water. It makes for sticky stuff, but it is still easier for me to paint with than a sticky oil paint. Feels lighter somehow too. I didn't have too many issues with unwanted lifting with layers of paint, only when the brush was too wet.

The stickiness means I will need some stiffer brushes than I have, which are mostly Dynasty Black Gold, made of nylon. The way I've been scrubbing, they will get ruined. For oil paints, I like synthetic hog bristle, so I ordered some Mimik Hog brushes, which are synthetic.

I really like how I can do oil type painting but not have to deal with how long it takes oil paint to dry. Because of slow drying, I had even begun to use a lead/manganese drier and bought some lead white because I couldn't deal with it anymore. My oil paints take 3-5 days to dry, and with the drier, 1-2 days, but this stuff takes more like 3-5 minutes, faster if I use the blow drier. So nice! And no smell of oxidizing oil or cleanup with solvent. 

For me, tube watercolor with aquapasto is also easier to use than gouache or casein. Both of them have issues with unwanted lifting that are way worse than this. 

I've been using cold wax to finish my watercolor paintings, and it works just as well with this. It removes a very tiny amount of paint, I'm thinking from the highest areas of texture. It's not visible on the painting, but the towel showed a small amount of pigment. 

Someone mentioned in a comment elsewhere that they were using shoe polish brushes to apply the cold wax. I think that would be good if I weren't using the aquapasto. I am going to stick with the flour sack towel pieces I use.