Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Saltwater Trials

I've been experimenting with different ways to use salt in making background fields for some small art pieces. I made a reference card for myself, since I'll never remember otherwise. I think I like all five examples and can imagine I'll find uses for them all. I was surprised at how different the effects are with the same four ingredients: paper, water, paint, and salt. The order made all the difference. Of course, the paper stays the same (at the bottom of the stack), but it did make a big difference whether the paper starts out wet or dry.

So, here are the results:
The "C" overlay is an example of how the techniques looked in use on a 3"x3" piece. I'm pretty sure the kind of paper makes a difference, too. I'm using my favorite paper, which is Strathmore 140 lb. mixed media. I love the smooth texture, which works well when you do a lot of lettering as part of a piece. This paper holds up to a lot of abuse, like when you scrub the salt off.

Here are close-ups of the two basic sequences: salt down first, followed by color and color down first, followed by salt.
Salt followed by color

Color followed by salt
I found all this fascinating. I'm sure others, who spent more time in art school than I, already know all this. It was kind of eye-opening for me. When you're self-taught, you miss things...P.C. things...pretty cool things.


  1. Thanks for sharing this with all of us. What type of salt did you use? I wonder about the results by varying the salt, i.e. table salt, sea salt, kosher salt, rock salt.

    1. Shirley, I just used ordinary table salt. I am sure kosher salt would make a difference. I'll have to give that a try. I have some rock salt, too. I wonder if that would really do anything. It's worth a shot here in my "laboratory." :)