Twinkling H2Os for Backgrounds


I just love making beautiful color backgrounds to tangle on! Or not to tangle on but just to drool over! Hahaha! It’s all the same to me!

I was cleaning up some photos on an old cell phone and came across these pictures that I never posted. I thought – they’d make a really great post! So here you go – twinkling H2O’s. Little pots of beautiful yummy color! The hardest part is giving them enough time to get ready before you start making color. Think 10 – 15 minutes prep time. I began with a sheet of mixed media paper – about 9″ x 12″. To get your pots of color ready, put a couple drops of water – or spray some water – directly into the pot. I use a pipette when I work, it’s easy to control how much water you use. And a little trick I learned from Dion Dior – add a drop or two of ox gall to each pot with the water. It speeds up your ready time. Once the color starts to soften up start stirring them around with a brush. There are a bunch of mica bits – most likely settled towards the bottom in the pot. You want to be able to swish around enough color to pick some of those up. Add another couple drops of water if you need to. Once the color is the consistency of honey – you have hit the sweet spot (pun intended) and the color is ready to use. For this project I used three colors – a blue, a yellow and a pink. Sorry. At this point in time I can not tell you the color names.

I used a mop brush to put down a bunch of water all over the surface of the paper. Then started dropping in color with a paint brush. Just drops all around. Blue first . . .

. . . then the pink. I used a smaller brush to drop in flecks of the yellow. I knew I wanted to make any underwater scene when I tangled, so I added some yellow towards an upper edge that could simulate the sun shining through the water.

Then decide where you need more color. If you have never worked with twinks before – you are going to be amazed at the rich, beautiful, shimmery colors. And they move very well in the water.

I kept working with color and allowing it to move and blend until I liked what I had.

And then the magic began! I use sea salt, but really any salt will work. Just a decent bit in the palm of your hand and sprinkle it all over the wetness, into the puddles on the page.

And leave it alone. You can admire but leave it alone. Hahahaha! You can either leave the paper like this until everything is totally dry OR you can place a piece of Saran Wrap over the page and scrunch it up here and there. And leave it till everything is totally dry. Think the next day most likely.

And once it is totally dry, start brushing the residual salt off the page with your hand. You can get a lot off that way. Look at this photo – do you see all the really cool patterning the salt creates as it dries?

Once you have cleaned your page up with your hand – you can use the flat edge of an old credit card to scrape more of the residue off. Keep those hotel room key cards – they work great! Gift cards do, too! Just be careful not to dig into the paper so you don’t cause damage. You can rub pretty hard if you used some good paper to start with. At least 120 – 140 lbs. I have to say I am pretty impatient and I don’t always get all the residue off. As you will see in these closeups to follow.

Isn’t that shimmer from the mica wonderful?

I ended up cutting this sheet into several pieces. This is the top portion – or one of the sides – depending on how you look at it. One end of the paper. I cut the other end in half and used it in some swaps. In this tangled underwater world you can see a lot of that wonderful texture. And those places where salt residue remained – I removed some to draw, some I left in open areas for texture, and some I just drew right over to give texture to the designs. So much fun! I need to do this again soon! Twinkling H2O’s! I hope you will consider them!

Colourarte Twinkling H2O’s
Ox Gall Solution
Sea Salt

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16 thoughts on “Twinkling H2Os for Backgrounds

    • thank you, Julie, these are so much fun to make. I may need to do a couple more today 🙂

  1. SO inspired by this post!! Thanks so much for sharing all these great pictures (and tips!!).

    • you’re welcome , I hope you can find time to do this. I’d love to see what you make

  2. Alice, this is gorgeous. I miss seeing dion Dior. She turned me onto thinks many years ago! What kind of pen do you use over the water color? ???

    • Just my regular tangling pens, micron, COpic multiliner, pitt artist pens, zebra technical pens, tomobow’s Drawing pen -they will all work.

  3. Beautiful textures! Have you ever tried flake salt? It’s a bit spendy, but I love the results you get from the larger size of grains.

  4. I think this has to be one of my most favourite tangled pieces of yours. Love the way that sunshine has hit the shoal of tiny Printemps jellyfish & that hooked one in the middle is great fun. The burst of yellow around the plant on the left makes me think of Moses & the Burning Bush though I can see it’s the sun shining through the water & shimmering with iridescence off that seaweed. Those little Mooka & Fescu fronds have such character plus the Indyrella fish swimming about add even more life.

    • I think the Indy Rella are my favorite bits in this piece. and that glowing yellow light <3 thanks, Evy, you bring such insight and I appreciate it <3

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