Creative Techniques: Experimental work. Learn to love it. Windsor & Newton Pigment Markers

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pigment marker

Although my style of painting would appear fairly straightforward, it is not as easy as it seems. Could I keep things relatively conforming and easy? Certainly, repetition would make my job easier but I’m just not built that way. Nothing excites me more than new material to play with and test out. While in Vancouver for Art! Vancouver, I discovered a new Michael’s store in the heart of the downtown core. Having a few hours to idle away in the morning I investigated. Whoa! A whole slew of incredible marker pens beckoned me and threw my mind into “hmmm, I wonder what I can do with these pigment markers in my work? The next thought was “and how much will it cost me”? A fair amount as it was but worth every playful moment.

So what I’ve discovered is that the two-pronged pens (large and small nib) are somewhat water resistant and work quite nicely on many different surfaces. The markers are lightfast and use pigments rather than dyes. Windsor & Newton claim they will be lightfast for at least 100 years. What I really liked was that the ergonomic design made it easy for me to hold on to them without any hand cramps. I decided to try it on a gel with inclusions in it named Light Molding Paste. Because Light Molding Paste is very absorbent a lot of the marker’s ink is absorbed into the surface. This could be a negative for some people but for me it’s a plus as it allows for a nice subtle earth-toned color for the petroglyphs I create.

If you do not go over the surface with a hard brush or go over an image frequently, you can minimize the pigment moving around. Of course, one trick is to give your painting image a shot of odorless fixative but be aware that it can change the look of your surface. Another way of slowing down the seepage of color is to lightly mist your surface with water, colored ink or acrylic from high above rather than use a brush. Of course, to really seal the surface you would need to do an acrylic isolation spray coat which consists of 2:1 mixture of Gac 500 to Transparent Airbrush Extender. The absorbency of the surface dictates the number of isolation coat layers.

Other discoveries were that their white blender allows for lots of color blending and mixing of different tonalities. You can shade one color from darker to lighter and create pastel shades over an underpainting. Highlights can also be added and can be used on black or colored paper. Marker colors can also be added on top of other marker colors.

An added bonus is a colorless blender which allows a range of gradations from dark to light on any color. Put a base color down, apply the clear blender down and voila! it will dilute the color to create a clean, gradual lightening. Tints can also be created by varying the amount of the colorless blender on the base color. Cleaning the nib is easy, requiring ( eliminate doing) a couple of strokes on paper to remove the excess color. Beautiful!