Painting on Anything

I had been wanting to use collage in my painting for a while but hadn’t worked out how. Using watercolor limited the number of surfaces I could paint on to one: paper. Then I discovered two products: Golden’s Absorbent Ground and Daniel Smith’s watercolor ground. These two products were game changers because they allow me to paint on any surface, releasing me from my chosen medium’s limitations.
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I am still discovering the difference between these two products (beside price), so I will only tell you what I have observed so far. The Golden product only comes in one color (white) while the Daniel Smith comes in Titanium White, Buff Titanium, Mars Black and Clear. Thus far, I have only used Clear and Titanium White. I find the white Daniel Smith to be grainier than the absorbent ground and applying it with a roller is great for if I want the effect of painting on stucco. I have to be sure to change to a coarser brush, though, as this surface chews up my watercolor brushes pretty good. This surface is also quite absorbent, especially when laid on thick , so it takes several washes to build up deep color.
Being thinner, the Golden Absorbent Ground is kinder to my brushes and allows me to paint some pretty fine detail. Both of these products can be thinned with water and applied in layers or put on thick and sanded down. I have found that the smoother the surface, the easier it releases the pigment, so tread lightly when painting.
I am currently loving the transparent ground. This the perfect starter to my collage paintings because it allows the newspaper (or whatever) to show through while letting me build up shadows.
Below are some examples of what I’ve done. I would love to hear how you use these products. Leave a comment below or send me an email.


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