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Casa Quickie: Cut It Out

I love the transparent colors watercolor paints can create and the way different hues instantly blend on the page. But the trouble with watercolors is that mistakes can be much harder to remedy than with acrylic paints. If your brushstrokes don't turn out as intended with acrylics, you can just let your canvas dry, and you're ready to paint over it as intended. With water-soluble watercolor paints, you kind of have to work with what you've got.

I painted this tropical plant with watercolors and accidentally smudged my crisp white background. Instead of trying to fill in a background, or worse, starting from scratch, I decided just to cut out my painterly plant with an X-acto knife. Then, I placed it on a white mat in a frame, and voilà, it turned out to be a happy mistake! Now the painterly plant has depth, and its stems, leaves, and blossoms cast pretty shadows on the paper below it. Since then, I've painted a few other pieces, purposely cutting out the imagery to give them more texture and dimension with this technique. Give it a try!

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