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How I Use Daniel Smith Metallic Watercolors

Using Daniel Smith Metallic Watercolors - A step-by-step tutorial by professional watercolor artist Jean Grastorf

I have worked with Daniel Smith Metallic Watercolors for a few years now, adding them to both my watercolor and acrylic paintings. I like the exciting texture and depth they provide. Their metallic shine can either be bright and up front or quite subtle and lovely, depending on the situation and how they are used. This demonstration study of koi in a pond shows several ways I use them.

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Stage 1: I mask the fish shapes, pour three colors of diluted acrylic ink, then texture the acrylics with wax paper. Then I mix Daniel Smith Richgold and Palegold Metallic Watercolor powders with water and pour some of the paint on the fish. I spatter some metallics onto the wet paper, and add more once the paper dries. I also create texture by "printing" the metallics with bubble wrap.

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Stage 2: I remove some of the mask and pour more diluted inks. I add more spatters on the wet paper. The metallics act as a resist when layering more color on top, and when a metallic is dropped into wet ink or paint, it tends to push the color aside.

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Stage 3: With all the mask removed, I pour more acrylics over the fish and water. I do some direct painting with metallics on the fish and add some texture by pressing plastic wrap into the metallic paint. Another effect I like is achieved by pouring liquid metallic paint into wet paint or ink. It creates veins in the base color. Adding coarse salt to this mixture reinforces its crystalline, mineral-like appearance, As you experiment, I'm sure you'll find your own ways to use these interesting paints.

About the Author

Born in upstate New York, Jean Grastorf is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology. She has applied her skills to paintings of the beautiful rural countryside and small villages where she grew up. Now a resident of Florida, Jean works with the demanding medium of transparent watercolor to capture the luminous light falling on tropical foliage and water.

Jean has been awarded Signature Memberships in several art societies, including the American Watercolor Society and the National Watercolor Society. She has been featured in many publications and has received awards from art exhibitions across the United States. Included among these are awards from the American Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society, the Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors, the Midwest Watercolor Society, the Montana Watercolor Society, the Southern Watercolor Society, the Florida Watercolor Society, Watercolor West, and others.

Jean was a member of the Board of Directors of The American Watercolor Society from 2000-2002 and Chairman of the Jury of Awards for the 2002 Exhibition. She also served on the Jury of Selection for the 2005 Annual Exhibition. Other jurying was done for the Baltimore Watercolor Society (2005) and the Kansas Watercolor Society (2005). The Watercolor Society of North Carolina (2005), Rhode Island Watercolor Society (2006), Western Colorado Watercolor Society (2006), and Arizona Watercolor Association (2006) have also retained Jean as their juror.

Her work is regularly shown in galleries, and is owned by major corporate and museum collections. A popular teacher, she conducts workshops across the United States and overseas and is frequently retained as a juror of watercolor competitions.

Materials List

Daniel Smith Extra Fine Metallic Watercolors:
(Available in 1oz. and 4oz. Jars)

Egyptian Gold
Autumn Gold
Lemon Gold