Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Frisking Tips...

 Last week I had planned on writing a post on liquid frisket, or masking fluid
 but was a bit distracted by other things, so here it is this week
 I decided to talk about it as I had a few people comment and email after the carrot demo  video that they had various hassles with it etc... and I have to say I do have a love  hate relationship with the stuff

 For doing things like this perfume bottle which was suggested by the lovely Twinkletoes  Allan, I love the stuff... especially since I found this Fine Line brand that has a lovely fine tip and  allows me to do swirly lines like this, and as I let the paint drip and move then it is essential  for preserving areas of white while still allowing me the freedom to splodge on colour with abandon

 But what I hate about this brand is that it clogs like crazy if you aren't really careful
and we all know that being careful is not my strong suit
there is a little wire that slips down into the nozzle and at times it sort of jams in there and then the whole top is useless, but I seem to be getting less of that... touch wood
so I have several bottles that I will be able to use in the future if I can manage to keep the the lids working correctly... and it is worth it because you get fantastic control with it 
and the fluid itself is really smooth and doesn't bubble, and the extra bottles that I have accumulated work beautifully with a brush as well 

There are two other types of masking fluid on my desk
and I pretty much dislike both with a weird intensity
like I would happily throw them under a bus level of dislike
and yet I keep them on my desk and still use them now and again
grumbling and cursing at them the whole way... but I hate to waste art supplies and the thought of turfing them just feels wrong, so I persevere 
and a little light cussing is good for the soul I believe

the Holbein one below bubbles like crazy whenever I use it
and is quite hard on the paper I use and doesn't cover completely
so you get flecks where the paint bleeds through which really drives me nuts
but lots of people swear by it so I keep thinking I am doing something wrong
but I have had no success with it at all... it really doesn't like me

The other is the good old Winsor and Newton masking fluid in a jar
and it works well most of the time
but is really really smelly  and is the epic destroyer of brushes
so since discovering the Fineline brand
it has been a bit neglected, but on large areas it works a treat
as long as you make sure the room has good ventilation
and dries quite quickly and is reliable

so that discussion aside here are my top tips for using it successfully
  • always test it on the paper you are going to use as some of the smooth papers don't like some brands and will peel of little bits of the paper if you aren't careful 
  • clean the nozzles really well before you recap them to try to stave off clogging for as long as possible because even if they say they are non clogging... they lie and they bloody clog like crazy
  • practice using them so that you can see how they react and get a feel for how they come out of the nozzle so you get smooth lines
  • be bold when you are laying it down because using the nozzle type ones requires swift application as if you hesitate then you can get a blob... not that a blob is always unwelcome, but if you don't love the blob, then be fearless 
  • always let it dry thoroughly before painting... and I have never had success speeding up the drying with a hair dryer... I have a little desk fan that speeds it up slightly, but it has to be really really dry before you lay down any paint or else disaster will ensue.. well maybe not disaster but you risk your good brushes and ruining your painting just as you begin

  • if you are using the bottle or jar type frisket then always dampen your brush before you use it...not soaking them, but dampen a touch, as it makes the brush a little less likely to completely solidify, though it will solidify to an extent no matter what, but it will be a flexible solid if you know what I mean
  • accept that with the jar frisket you are going to ruin brushes. I have brushes that I keep for that purpose alone,they are gungy and hard but they are still useable for the job at hand in laying down larger areas to mask, and by turning it on its side you can actually lay down quite thin lines
  • when you are removing masking fluid, and this applies to both types,  be gentle... don't rub it off like a whirlwind as you can damage the paper beneath... take it slow and enjoy the whole peeling thing... it is oddly satisfying to ease the strings off... 

  •  don't think just because you have masked an area that you have to leave it masked until the absolute end of the piece, because sometimes you reveal it and it is so blindingly white it looks a bit wrong. I often remove if before I lay down the detail parts so I can knock it back a bit with a touch of light Paynes Grey, or very very light colour washes so that it blends a bit better
  • you can use it at any stage of a painting... you might want to preserve a colour other than whites, and so you can use it mid way through... just make sure the paint is really dry before you add it or it will remove some paint when you peel it
  • and if all else fails...use a bit of gouache to add highlights ... or a white pen and just pretend you used masking fluid... when I can't be arsed with the whole palaver that is exactly what I do and it works a treat...
happy masking all...xx

PS .... I must say I was soooo  tempted to throw in tips on frisking criminals just for the heck of it... but restrained myself beautifully I think... 


ZenziB said...

Good information Tracey. Funny too! I love your posts.

TwinkleToes2day said...

YaY!! 'My' perfume bottle looks fantastic!! Better even than the advertising images, imho. You got the colours just right of course. I can smell the perfume and I loves it!! **cheesy grin**
Frisket. Yup, love/hate for sure. I hate that it wrecks brushes and I hate the stink of it. I love the freedom it gives beginners like me that aren't sure about adding white paint but invariably contaminate my white areas with colour and I love the snow effect it gives on Christmas cards, lol.
Thanks for the tip about using it to preserve a colour; I never would have thought of that.
I'm going to get me a fine liner tip one, I think it would be fun to play with making squiggly lines and then splashing colours higgledy piggledy. Fun :D
Good Eve' to you {{Hugs}} xox

Sandra Busby said...

I have never been a fan of masking fluid myself, but I rarely have to use it because I use mostly oils as you know! That says, it has it's place and like you I have a fine liner one. The bottled one I don't get along with at all! It's great that you have given all of your secrets away because I would never have guessed you used it at all and assumed it was maybe gouache! I LOVE your perfume bottle - another masterpiece!!

Linda Kunsman said...

fantastic illustrations Tracey!And thank you so much for the very informative post about the masking fluids. I have never seen the fine line ones and only own the W & N bottle. I have learned to only use cheap dollar store brushes:)

Rita said...

I have had limited experience with masking fluid. Good to hear hints. I have seen masking fluid used in the fine tip applicators and wondered if they worked well. Love the effect! Have a lovely week, my friend!! :)

Anonymous said...

I am a frisking virgin, and that is a pretty good thing to be able to say at my age. Thank you for the tips, in case I decide to break my run. I hate fussing with anything, and am more impatient than even YOU.

Catharina Engberg said...

I´ve got the same feeling about maskingfluid. A hate/love relationship. About ruin the brushes: I allways put some soap (the old fashioned kind of soap that doesn´t come in a bottle)on the brush. It makes the maskingmedium come of easier after using. But I still use an old brush that I keep for only maskingfluid. This makes the lifetime of the brush a little longer as I don´t pull off the hair of the brush as much as without the soap. About the airbubbles coming out; just a thought that came to my mind when you mentioned this; couldn´t you bang the maskingfluidpen slightly against the table to make the bubbles go upwards so that they don´t go out on the paper with the maskingfluid. Just a thought. Haven´t tried this myself.
Did you get the photos of my cup?

LOVE that pink drink with a straw :) Allways enjoying your posts, this one too. Hug.

Catharina Engberg said...

Hi! It´s me again ;) I read just now that you had recieved the photos :)

Art Matters said...

Hmmm this love/hate thing with frisket - mine is mostly hate at the moment. I don't use it that often but like it now and again. Last year I bought some Daniel Smith masking fluid, fancy nozzles and all and this week I had to toss it in the bin - all of it had morphed into one sludgy lump. 😔
So maybe I should try another make.
Soap on the brushes works really well, but I always use an old brush.

Anonymous said...

Nice explanations of your preferences. I've never used the stuff, don't often use watercolors either, just admire those who do. xox

Viola said...

Masking fluid I think I've used only a couple of times. Such a long info here for many painters. You impress me.
and I love the red nuances and ink scratches in the first ones here.

Belinda Basson said...

I had masking fluid back in the day 25 years ago when I studdied graphic design...before Apple Mac and their fancy graphic programs were the thing...hated the stuff...hated the smell, kept my bottle till it went solid and threw it out only a few years ago! Never tried it again. Now you are tempting me to find out what new ones have come in...I like the nozzil idea! Clever! No more hard throw awayable brushes. Unless of course it blocks...I hear your frustration. Understand the love hate thing.