How do you fit a long house in a square format? I decided to focus on the front door and attempt to capture the pure FUN of this home.
This secret commission was a true exercise in ‘creative decision making’ and such a joy to paint I actually had a few goes at it, getting more familiar with the building each time.
Of interest might be the prepping of the watercolour paper with Gum Arabic ‘dust’. Gum Arabic is made from the sap of the Acacia Tree and is used as a binder in quality watercolours. This little jar, complete with tissue, was given to me as part of Olive Bull’s calligraphy lessons about… ohhh… 22 years ago! (See – ‘art supplies ARE heirloom items’!) Back then I used the tissue to rub the Gum Arabic dust onto the surface of the paper I was about to write on – to prevent bleed.
I knew I wanted some hard edges in this painting so I pulled out the jar and prepped the paper and it DEFINITELY made a difference.
Gum Arabic can also be bought as a liquid and used to thicken ink for calligraphy (and thicken food colouring, interestingly!). It can be used as a bonding agent for gouache or powder pigments (so that the ink doesn’t wipe away after the water evaporates). It can also decrease cracking in some thick inks.
So there you go! You can thank me when you win the prize at the next (online) trivia night!