Video Demonstration: Sanding

English watercolor artists of Homer’s era commonly used sandpaper as a reductive tool. One popular authority wrote that, when “carefully employed,” it “is one of the most successful ways by which atmosphere is given to dark and clouded skies” (Penley 1874, p. 18). After applying a wash and allowing it to dry, the artist rubs it with sandpaper, abrading both pigment and paper to reveal the white substrate below. This method creates a speckled texture, taking away pigment only from the highest points of the rough paper while leaving it in the surrounding interstices. The amount of color removed is directly related to the amount of pressure exerted on the sandpaper.