I had seen a couple of artists scrubbing the paper they were painting on and was horrified. How could they do this? However, always keen to experiment, I decided to have a go myself.
Having started work on the painting of a shoebill (Balaeniceps rex), or Shoebill Stork, I decided that I wasn’t happy with the way it was going. So on a whim I started the hard treatment.
The first try was in the reeds at the front of the bird that were not of the value I wanted. So I grabbed a damp brush, rubbed hard, then scrubbed with tissue paper. The watercolour paper (Hahnemuhle) took it well! So I then tried the same treatment, a bit harder in parts, on the body of the Shoebill and in the background.
I even tried repeating the process in the same part, expecting the paper surface to suffer, but no issues even after repainting.
The only area where I had problems was a patch where I had used an eraser. Although used lightly the eraser seemed to damage the surface of the paper.
I am still not happy with the painting but will probably do some more scrubbing and adjusting to see if I can rescue it.