Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day - Happy 4th of July!

Whether you celebrate Independence Day with fireworks or a bar-b-que, take a moment to remember those who protect our freedom. Say a prayer for them, thank them, remember them - and remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice that we might enjoy this peace filled day.

Independence Day: a civil holiday for the celebration of the anniversary of the beginnings of national independence; specifically: July 4 observed as a legal holiday in the United States in commemoration of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. 

The use of military fireworks in elaborate celebrations of war and peace is an ancient Chinese custom, but our term for the making and launching of fireworks is a product of the 17th and 18th centuries. "Pyrotechnics" and the earlier adjective "pyrotechnic" derive via French from the Greek nouns "pyr" ("fire") and "techne" ("art"). In "pyr" one can see such fiery relatives as "pyromania," the term for an irresistible impulse to start fires, as well as "pyrite," the mineral also known as fool's gold, which once referred to a stone used for striking fire. Like "fireworks," "pyrotechnics" also has an extended figurative usage, referring to any kind of dazzling display or performance.


I spent the day in the studio - painting fireworks. It was lots of fun since I recently learned several great hints that make using masking fluid much easier.
  • Use a synthetic brush that you have dedicated to Masking Fluid usage because it will destroy your good watercolor brushes. 
  • Have a small jar of water with a little bit of dish soap in it.  Dip your brush in this before you use the masking fluid and rinse it often in this while you are working.  If you stop for a short time, put your brush in this water until you resume working. 
  • Wash your brush out immediately when you are through applying the masking fluid.
  • Stirring your masking fluid instead of shaking it will stop all of the splashy bubbles from happening.  Duh.
  • Use a rubber cement pickup to remove the masking fluid.  It works like an eraser to pick up all of the little bits of masking fluid.  I had painted lots of fine lines and little dots and it worked great to get all of the masking fluid removed.
I liked using this method better than what I did before

3 paintings with masking fluid on them + 1 Rubber Cement Pickup = Easy Clean Up!

watercolor paintings with the masking fluid removed

After I removed the masking fluid, I added a little *fireworks color* to one of the paintings.

Fireworks - original watercolor work in progress

Now that I find the Art Masking Fluid easier to work with, I have been having a bit of fun with it and doing a little more experimenting.

I had reserved some white highlights with the masking fluid before I started painting.  Now, I have reserved some mid tones, too, by painting the masking fluid over areas that I have already painted.  I will continue to do this as I develop the character of the rough wood. 

I learned a few other tips, too:
  • Don't put masking fluid on wet paper because, when everything dries, it will tear the paper when you remove it.
  • Leave your masking fluid on the paper until you have finished the painting or are ready to paint the masked area.  That way you won't have to reapply it should you change your mind.
  • You can leave your masking fluid on for a while, but there is a point at which it will adhere itself permanently to the paper.  Note to self:  Don't put these paintings away and forget about them...
Well, that's what I did to celebrate my quiet July 4th.  What did you do?


Remembering gratefully my family members who have served to protect this country and our freedoms...


  1. I like your fireworks! They are beautiful and quiet! :D

  2. The masking fluid worked great for the fireworks!
    I use this sometimes when painting my engravings. Works great to color one portion and then add color to the engraved areas :)

  3. Thanks, Lee - haha - VERY quiet ;-)

    Thanks, memories! Wow - that is so cool to know! I wondered if the masking fluid would work on other surfaces besides watercolor paper. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great message for the 4th and your watercolors turned out beautifully! It looks like the technique was very successful. Thanks for sharing so many tips with us.

  5. Beautiful fireworks! Happy 4th of July!
    Thanks for the tips too!

  6. Thank you, Rose! It was fun to play with a new idea - hope to have them all finished soon.

    Thanks, Pam! and you are welcome!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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