Watercolor Dye Technique #6: Toscana, Disassemble, Dye, Re-assemble

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 08-14-2013 12:23 AM 2483 reads 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Toscana, cutting and assembly Part 6 of Watercolor Dye Technique series Part 7: Flip, Flop, and Press ... protecting the dye. »

The general method of applying the dye is with an artist’s brush as seen in the first segment of this blog so I won’t go into great detail here. Suffice to say that each piece is done separately in one or more colors allowing the color to flow into the grain. The work area will become colorful so a cover of several layers of paper is a good idea.

The procedure I used here was to first mount the whole piece on clear “Contact” shelf paper face side up and then to remove a few pieces at a time, soak and peel the tape from the surface, dye them, and return them to their places. It is important to work on an adhesive surface like this and to work from the outside in toward the center because the pieces will expand with the water both from tape removal and dye. If the newly dyed pieces were not confined by the pieces around them they could not be made to re-assume their exact positions and you would never get them to fit. It is also important to have some weight to keep the pieces flat. I used acrylic plates.

This is a tree in the background by the farmhouse. It first gets a bath of yellow on its sun side, then a dark green on its shady side, then just a line of very dark green on the very edge. You can’t see the yellow at the end, but its effect is there.

You can begin to see the effect of the wiggly cutting here.

The picture is coming together nicely ........

........and the work area is becoming more colorful as well. At one point I counted 19 brushes, ten colors and six dilutions of base colors in use.

At last it is all dyed and everything has been forced back into its place. It is amazing how malleable these pieces of wet wood are. I fitted some of the larger pieces (leaves) that were 1/4 inch bigger than their spaces. I just inserted top and bottom and pushed the middle down ….. and they just compress down and fit… snap. That’s why the acrylic is there and that’s why there are no gaps. You can’t believe it until you do it. I should add that I did dry each piece with a hair dryer for some time before assembling but they were still quite swollen.

So I guess you’re thinking the fun is over for this time. ....... Wrong! ...... The fun part hasn’t even started yet.
Next up is to get this whole thing mounted and finished without any sanding and without making the dye bleed and without losing the shape and integrity of the assembly.
Sounds easy when you say it that way.
How I managed that next time (yes, it is already just about finished).

Thanks for looking


-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

10 comments so far

View tomd's profile


2210 posts in 4250 days

#1 posted 08-27-2013 01:18 AM

Wow that really looks great and I can not see any grain lines. Nice picture and you seem to have a knack for drawing too. I always seem to learn something new about marquetry from your blogs, I will wait till you finish this picture and blog, then ask my 300 questions. Love the skill you are displaying.

-- Tom D

View JeremyPringle's profile


321 posts in 2954 days

#2 posted 08-27-2013 01:52 AM

This is really cool. Every time you post I am more and more impressed.

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4404 days

#3 posted 08-27-2013 02:08 AM

Nice design Paul and nicely executed. You have been practicing A LOT! Way to go.

View tinnman65's profile


1388 posts in 3894 days

#4 posted 08-27-2013 02:09 AM

I must say I am pretty impressed with your work as a painter! This is going to be a beautiful piece of work.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4192 days

#5 posted 08-27-2013 02:13 AM

Amazing work. It seems to go pretty quickly for you also, its great to see so much progress.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Roger's profile


21010 posts in 3284 days

#6 posted 08-27-2013 04:58 AM

WowZa, Paul. Just totally amazing

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3814 days

#7 posted 08-27-2013 07:19 AM

It seems that you are mastering painting (dyeing) both at the same time Paul. Your rendering looks a lot better than the original photo. Very impressive work. I especially liked the way you did the trees with the different colors to get the sun and shading effects. That worked out extremely well. Thanks for this wonderful tutorial, I’ve learned at a lot from it so far, at least the theory part.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View kiefer's profile


5671 posts in 3147 days

#8 posted 08-27-2013 05:23 PM

Impressive and so fast getting to this point ,
I can’t believe it .
I like it a lot and now I am anxious to see the finished picture .
It’s going to be a master piece .

-- Kiefer

View shipwright's profile


8357 posts in 3278 days

#9 posted 08-27-2013 05:34 PM

In all fairness I had this almost finished before I started the blog. The cutting took about six and a half hours. The dyeing about twice that and assorted work-arounds, packet making and the like another half dozen. At the point you see here it’s about twenty five hours, not counting office time on research, sketching and Inkscape.

I really didn’t want to be two segments into a blog and have a catastrophic failure. Much of this was new territory, very different than the earlier pieces where there were only a few much larger pieces.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Mauricio's profile


7163 posts in 3631 days

#10 posted 09-07-2013 09:32 PM

wow, really nice!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

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