Sometimes the topic is a bit mundane such as My Twitter Experience . Today's topic, however, is on frisket. If you don’t know what I’m talking about—read on.
Why would I pick a topic such as frisket about which to blog? Well, I recently have been taking watercolor lessons at what I like to call Watercolor School, and we have to use frisket. Although most all watercolor artists are probably familiar with it, it was new to me. So I decided to blog about it.
Just what is this frisket that I refer to? The plastic bottle that I have actually calls it liquid frisket, which I found out was only one of the forms it comes in. It also says, “For All Your Masking Needs.” A little marketing never hurts, right?
When you Google “frisket,” you find there is a lot more information on it than you ever imagined. There are 107,000 hits on frisket—imagine!
Turns out, the term frisket refers to several things, all having to do with separating one thing from another or covering up one thing so it won’t get mixed up or in with another thing.
In Wikipedia there are several descriptions. One is about the old letterpress printing methodology where an oiled sheet—the frisket—is used to keep the ink from touching certain areas of the page to be printed. Another description is about air-brush, which is a spray painting technique in which a plastic sheet—the frisket—is used to mask off certain areas to keep the paint from covering that area. It also mentions using friskets like a template that you use to cut out areas to be painted.
But none of the above descriptions have much to do with the frisket I used for watercolor. For watercolor what you want to do is to apply the frisket, liquid frisket to be exact, on the areas of the painting where you don’t want the watercolor to cover or even touch. If you don’t use frisket, the paint will mix instantly no matter how carefully you try to keep this from happening.
So what exactly is frisket? Without getting into the actual chemical composition, it’s basically natural latex and ammonia. The label on my bottle says do not take internally and avoid contact with the eyes. Based on the odor—strong, with a whiff of ammonia—I will heed the warning.
Natural latex, as I found out with some more Googling, comes from—exudes was the word they used—the Hevea Brasiliensis tree, which, I assume, grows in Brazil. It’s flexible and has "unique molding abilities."
You can apply frisket with a paint brush (not one of your good sable ones, though, as it ruins them) or a nib. A nib is a handy little thing, sort of like a pencil but with plastic rather than lead. Anyway, you can apply frisket with it, too; maybe I’ll blog about it someday.
So, I’ve used frisket on a couple of paintings and it works just as advertised and keeps the watercolor from going where you don’t want it to go. When you’re done, you just peel it off in rubbery strings, and whatever you covered up with the frisket is ready to be painted or left alone.
What will they think of next?