Watercolor Canvas - from guest blogger Megan Harper

Watercolor Canvas - from guest blogger Megan Harper

Hello! Welcome back to another blog! I hope you’re enjoying the first little bit of August. This month is extra special because it’s the birth month of The Smiling Hippo business! Be sure to check out The Smiling Hippo shop for all the wonderful colors I’ll be using today– there are some special things in store this month!

    As I was wandering the aisles of my favorite hobby store looking for inspiration for this month’s set of blogs, I stumbled upon watercolor canvas. Now I might be behind the times, but these are new to me! I was so excited and immediately had ideas flooding in. They have wood frames, so they will hang nicely on a wall and I thought– kiddo keepsakes! Grab your little artists, your favorite Smiling Hippo watercolors and let’s create a cute memory to hang on your wall!

Like I said earlier, these watercolor canvases are a new territory for me, so I experimented a little bit. I poured water on the back of the canvas and used a paper towel to spread it around and soak up the excess. 

I did the same with the front, hoping it would help the pigments spread more evenly. For my color I selected a purpley-red with a blue-green color shift (I’m in LOVE with this color!) and painted my hand. Then I pressed down firmly on the canvas and left a fairly even print– you might need to add more paint to the prints and press your hand down again to get more coverage. The canvas “drank” the paint, even with water on both sides, which is a nice feature! It helps the paint dry between hand prints, keeping them from blurring together too much. 


Here comes the tricky part, getting kids to hold still long enough to paint their hands. But with a lot of wiggling and giggling, we got it done! Same deal; paint, press, maybe paint some more and press again (depending on how patient your little ones are).

 Today was the first painting my son was a part of! He just turned one a couple weeks ago. Usually he isn’t interested in what Big Sister does with paints, but today he was! So I had him do a hand print too, but he had other ideas, he slapped the canvas. A lot. His little  hands are green.
Here is the final product, proudly displayed over the dining room table!
On to the grown-up painting! I felt called by my recent trip to the Big Horn Mountains to paint something similar to what I saw on a hike. Tall, beautiful and strong pine trees on a clear day.
    This time I wet the front of the canvas, spreading the water around but not removing the excess, I left the back completely alone. This seemed to set the paint even faster. I started with a lighter green for the farthest trees in the back, layering darker colored trees in the front. Then I mixed a vibrant gold with Aquamarine from the Hidden Gems collection to create a bright field green.
Originally I was going to put a river through the middle and foreground, but I didn’t like the way the blues looked against the trees– too much blue!!
So I used a nifty trick, the magic watercolor eraser so to speak. A damp paper towel! Just a couple of swipes and the offending blue was gone and a lovely path of dirt color was in its place.

On canvas using the paper towel eraser works so much easier. Watercolor paper is more porous and really traps the colors, so you end up wearing the paper down when you try and erase it. Sometimes it happens with the painting process too, the paper gets over saturated and starts to pill up.
I think these canvases are going to be my go-to now for watercolor works! They don’t bow up when wet either, which eliminates the need to press the painting. Win-win in my book!

Here is my final mountain forest painting, I hope this inspired you to try out a watercolor canvas! Stretch your creative muscles and enjoy your week! See you next time!

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