Monday, January 9, 2012

Practical Painting Tip #1 - Wooden Skewers

Wooden shish-ka-bob skewers, the type that you buy at the grocery store in a package of 100 for 99 cents make great painting tools.

When working in watercolor they are handy for applying masking fluid.  First make sure your masking fluid is thin like water, not thick like gravy.  If it is too thick, just add a little bit of water and stir with the wooden skewer.  Do not shake the bottle as that will create  bubbles.  Then use the pointed end of the skewer to apply thin lines of masking fluid or the blunt end to make round dots of masking fluid. 

Skewers also work to make tiny fine dark lines on a watercolor painting.  For instance if you are painting a leaf with veins that are darker in color than the leaf itself, just paint the color of the leaf and while the paint is wet, scratch the veins into the paper with the pointed end  of the skewer.  The wet paint will roll into the line you scratched in the paper making it appear darker than the leaf.

Acrylic and oil painters working in impasto find these skewers useful for scratching detail into the impasto.  They are also helpful for picking dried paint out of the end of a tube of paint.

So next time you are in the grocery store pick up a package of these skewers and see how many uses you can find for them around your studio.  If you discover a new use, please add a comment to this blog post and share with all the artists that read this blog.