15 common questions about my watercolour practice
As an introvert, I have found social media an amazing tool to promote my art. Instagram is kind of 'my thing' and I love it because it helps me connect with other artists and like-minded people. One thing I noticed is that very often people ask the same questions: What paper is that?, What is that 'blue thing'?, Do you paint on canvas?, so I thought I would answer all of these in one place, and this blog post was born! So here I go...
ABOUT MY SUPPLIES
1. What mediums do you use?
In general I use water based mediums, being my favourites watercolours and acrylics.
2. What are you painting on? Is that canvas? Is that a giant paper block?
I always paint on watercolour paper, it looks like that because I use a thick white wood board to stretch my paper.
3. Why is your board so thick?
Just because it is what I have at hand. The thickness is not important at all. In fact the wood boards I give to my students during my workshops are very thin and light. Sometimes, when I pant in a larger format I use an acrylic sheet and it also works very well for me.
4. How do you stretch your paper?
There are two techniques I use depending in the amount of water that I am going to use and the size of my painting. In one I use painters tape and in the second one gummed tape. I will write a tutorial soon.
5. What paper do you use?
I love working with Arches paper 300 or 185gms. The thickness that I use depends on the technique I use to stretch it, which also depends (again) in the amount of water I plan to use.
6. Do you work with cold or hot press paper?
It depends on the project I am working on. I love cold press (the one with texture), I prefer the experience of my process with it. But sometimes I also use hot press because it’s easier to digitise and it just make my life easier.
7. What is the ‘blue thing’? What is the paint that you remove and leaves white behind?
Ahhh! The magic of masking fluid, my favourite technique. It’s just a liquid that works as a resistance when it dries. It comes in white and blue colour, I like using it blue because it is easy to spot on the paper. I wrote a tutorial about how to use masking fluid here.
8. Where do you buy your supplies? What brushes do you use?
I buy them at CassArt where I am brand ambassador.
Painting on stretched paper over a wooden board.
ABOUT MY PROCESS
9. Why do you paint on the floor?
Because of the size of the paper that I use, I find it easier to work on the floor where I can paint using my whole body instead that just my arms. I danced classical ballet for more than 10 years and I also trained to be a yoga teacher, so the connection with my body is an important practice for me.
10. Is not that bad for your back?
Its actually the opposite because I know what I am doing. When I am painting it’s a meditation in movement, I breathe and move very consciously. It’s not easy because I can paint for 4 or 5 hours in a row, so by the end I am exhausted and happy, like when you go to a very intense session in the gym. But remember that I trained as a ballerina for years and I’ve been practicing yoga for more than 8 years now. This is the reason I always call my painting sessions ‘Brush Dancing’.
11. Why are you barefoot? Why do you step on your paper? How do you keep your paper clean?
Being barefoot gives me the feeling of connection with the earth, but it’s also very handy so I can reach all the corners of the paper by stepping on it. My paper stays clean because everything around me is clean, my floor and obviously my foot. I also have a lot of practice so I kind of know what areas of the paper are still wet and I try not to step in there.
|My palette||In my studio
(Etsy interview 2018, London).
12. Where are you from?
I am a Mexican as all my family is and British because I have lived in the UK for a long time. I was born in Mexico where I lived until I was 24. Since then I’ve lived in Barcelona, London, NYC and I am back in London since 2016.
I consider myself a self taught artist because I started painting at a very young age, always playing and experimenting with what I had at hand. I only decided to make it my full time job after a year abroad in NYC (2015-6) where I purely focused in training myself and felt confident enough with my own voice.
- 2006 - Bachelor’s degree in Information Design in Mexico (UDLAP, Universidad de las Americas Puebla)
- 2008 - Master’s in Publishing in Barcelona (IDEC, Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
- 2015,16 - Various classes at The Art Students League of New York
I am a full time artist since 2016.
Being an independent artist is hard work. There is an idealistic idea that creatives have a life of chasing inspiration while travelling and drinking coffee, but the truth is that it is a job like any other.
There are so many things to do that you will be amazed of how little time one has to paint. There is painting (obviously), digitising and design, photography, social media, customer service, lots of administrative tasks and yes, I do all that by myself, no team unfortunately.
I hope this fast Q&A is somehow helpful, but if you have any more questions please leave them below and I will be happy to answer them. Thank you for reading.