Roz Is So Gross—Making Art By Any Means Available

September 30, 2019
Sketch and paper napkin I used to apply the pigment to this sketch.

I think it’s important to make art every day, by any means necessary—or in this case available.

The other day I went to my massage therapy session. Dick dropped me off because I can’t drive with my right foot in a cast. 

I sat in the waiting area. Since there was no one else there and I’ve sketched the interior so many times before I got out Sktchy and did a quick brush pen portrait.

I then balanced my phone (where the photo was displayed) and purse in my lap. I reached into my purse for my waterbrush. It wasn’t there.

I remembered that I’d removed it when moving things around before and after the Minnesota State Fair. 

But I really, really wanted to paint this sketch!

There was a paper napkin in my hand. I’d pulled it out when tearing my purse apart after I discovered the waterbrush wasn’t where it is supposed to be. “Maybe it simply fell out of the pocket and is rolling around the bottom of the bag,” I thought. Nope.

I looked at the palette already open and sitting in my lap with the sketchbook and phone. I looked at the napkin. 

Pushing my right index finger tip up behind a piece of the napkin I spit on the end of the napkin and ground the now wet napkin into my paint palette. I started “painting” with red.

Brushpen and watercolor sketch from a 6 x 6 inch sketchbook turned vertically so the gutter runs through the center. This is from an Artist’s Field Sketchbook and they don’t collate the pages in the journals to match paper surfaces across the spreads so the top part of this drawing has the textured “front” of the paper sheet, and the bottom page has the smoother back of the sheet.

“Go for it,” I told myself as I smeared the pigment from the napkin onto the page, smiling. I may have even chortled in my glee.

To change colors I had to spit on another area of the napkin. As I worked I found this method wasn’t wet enough. I spit into one of the palette mixing wells. I used it for a water well and continued to work.

I love this sketch so much. Not just the sketch, which was quick and fun, but the color application—both the way it worked and the way it now looks.

Don’t let the lack of water and a brush stop you from painting a watercolor. 

And NEVER, EVER put pigments in your mouth!

Detail from today’s painting so you can see the two paper surfaces and how the pigment went down differently on each.
    • Sharon Nolfi
    • September 30, 2019

    sharon, I’ve taken this note down because it was just your URL and you have another item up. So I think this was just a glitch.

    • Sharon Nolfi
    • September 30, 2019

    Love the technique! Because it’s you, it all sounds perfectly reasonable (in a good way).

    1. Reply

      Thanks so much Sharon!

    • Paul
    • September 30, 2019

    Best spit sketch I’ve ever seen😲!!! The tissue allows for a lovely soft blended application of paint, ideal for portraits👍👍. I don’t think it’s gross, as long as you were using a clean tissue 🤧! I’m also pretty sure it’s not an archival approach to watercolour painting. The sketch is wonderful and the guy looks very surprised to have had spit spread all over his face… PERFECT Roz!!!! Thanks the dose of inspiration and leading the way to showing us there really is no excuse for not sketching daily👍👍.

    1. Reply

      Paul, I agree about the blended application, it was like pastel even though there was moisture. It was a fresh paper towel. I think you’re probably right about this not being archival, sigh. I shall have to ask the dentist at my check up what the ph of spit is! (I did choose the face before realized I’d have to paint with spit, so that’s pure serendipity!)

    • Georgy
    • September 30, 2019

    You – Brilliant – Total Inspiration
    Please Be Well!

    love & love,

    1. Reply

      That’s kind. I just really, really wanted to paint!

  1. Reply

    This made me laugh! I know the room was empty but I imagined someone else coming into waiting room and seeing you use spit!

    1. Reply

      Carol, because I’m in a cast right now I didn’t go into the regular waiting room where there is a step down (there were no people waiting there either), but say in a large entry hallway adjacent—where lots of people might have passed by, so I just have to say that before I spit into my palette I did look over my shoulder each way down the corridor!

    • Tina Koyama
    • September 30, 2019

    How I wish Dick had returned at that moment to take a video of you! 😉

    • Lori Rhodes
    • October 4, 2019

    I laughed and chortled with you. GREAT story to inspire one to never let anything get in your way of creating.

    1. Reply

      Thanks Lori.

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