Caroline Deeble article for DANIEL SMITH. Australian Flora Watercolor Series on DANIEL SMITH Iridescent Gold Watercolor Ground

Caroline Deeble is an award-winning Australian artist practicing the difficult but beautiful medium of watercolour.  Throughout her many years of exploration, looking for ways to expand her techniques, she found DANIEL SMITH had released a range of Watercolor Grounds to explore.  This new exploration opened-up new avenues for refining her skills in her art practice and she welcomed the opportunity to expand her watercolour painting onto new surfaces.  Traditionally watercolour has been limited to specialty papers and as such needed more traditional methods of presentation; framing with glass to protect the delicate surface of the watercolour painting.  Not only has this proven to be an additional expense to artists, collectors and galleries, it has also limited ways in which to present their works in a contemporary way. Now with the DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Grounds, there are no longer limitations and watercolour has been given a new contemporary life.

Exploring the many options to use DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Ground, Caroline has been able to create new and unique styled contemporary artworks on new surfaces.  From ‘gallery wrapped canvas’, to the new styled ‘artist wood painting panels’, acrylic sheet, glass, metal and so much more, the Watercolor Grounds have opened up the full suite of painting surfaces available to painters of other mediums now for watercolour artists.  Exploring the DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Ground range [6 colors] has taken her journey of watercolour art to a whole new level, while saving money and time in the finishing and presentation of her new body of artworks.

A win/win for both artists and collectors who share in the materials costs as a part of the final pricing of any artworks.  There are no longer issues with packaging fragile glass and sending it across the country or the world with couriers to find broken glass at the other end.  The new surfaces can now be treated and protected as a part of the artist practice in the studio and the artworks present as fantastic new styles of modern contemporary art with the delicate and unique qualities of watercolour painting.

“Australian Flora” by Caroline Deeble
  • Artist:  Caroline Deeble
  • “Australian Flora”
  • 3 x individual 12” x 12” x 1.5” artist board panel
  • DANIEL SMITH Watercolors

The Demonstration

Photo of DANIEL SMITH Iridescent Gold Watercolor Ground

For the “Wattle Flower” Project, part of my “Australian Flora” series, I have chosen to use the glamourous Iridescent Gold Watercolor Ground from DANIEL SMITH, with subtle shimmering qualities that shine light from the surface of the painting.   Using the popular artist wood panels available from your local art stores, sealed with DANIEL SMITH’s Watercolor Ground, I’ve taken the time to create a new surface that behaves similar to watercolour paper to start this project. 

Wattle flower project finished painting, Caroline Deeble
Wattle Flower Project finished painting

“Wattle Flower” Project

Items you need

  • Artist wood panel (s).
  • DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Ground in Iridescent Gold.
  • A soft haired or foam brush for applying the Watercolor Ground, saving your watercolour brushes for use with your watercolour paints only. Note, wash immediately after use in warm soapy water.
  • Wax varnish – there are several artist brands on the market to try.
  • Gilding foil & gilding size paste – available at art supply stores.
  • A selection of watercolour brushes to suit the application of detail in your artwork.
  • A selection of DANIEL SMITH Watercolor paints.

DANIEL SMITH Watercolors for the “Wattle Flower” Project

The Project:  How To

Stage 1:

Applying the Watercolor Ground to the artist wood panel.

After collecting all the necessary materials, you will need to lightly clean/dust your artist wood panel surface with a dry clean cloth.  With a soft brush, paint a neat layer of the DANIEL SMITH Iridescent Gold Watercolor Ground onto the surface of the artist wood panel.  Note: the brush strokes you leave on the surface will dry and become a texture in your artwork.  

Applying DANIEL SMITH Iridescent Gold Watercolor Ground, Caroline Deeble
Applying DANIEL SMITH Iridescent Gold Watercolor Ground

You can choose the style of texture you desire by using different brushes or sponges to cover the surface as you apply the ground.  The next stage is to clean any edges that may be affected by finger marks or paint ground spills. Finally, allow 24 – 48 hours to completely cure the Iridescent Gold Watercolor Ground on the artist wood panel, making it ready to use as a new watercolour surface.

Stage 2:  

Creating your artwork.

While the Watercolor Ground on the artist wood panel is curing, you have the opportunity to explore your composition ideas further.  The “Australian Flora” project is based on a series of stylized native flora from Australia. Created as a set to be displayed together. The Magic of watercolour works beautifully on the Iridescent Gold Watercolor Ground leaving a soft lustre effect to the finished painting.  Explore the colours selected for your artwork by sampling them on a pre-prepared paper sheet or journal.  I’ve used some of my favourite DANIEL SMITH colours in this project that include Shadow Violet, Quinacridone Gold, Neutral Tint, Kingman Green Turquoise Genuine and Green Apatite Genuine. This will give you a better understanding how the colours merge, glaze and how the DANIEL SMITH Primatek range of colours granulate. 

The colours used for the leaves and flowers: Kingman Green Turquoise Genuine, Green Apatite Genuine, Diopside Genuine, Hansa Yellow Light, Sap Green, Olive (created with a mixture of Neutral Tint and Quinacridone Gold) and Quinacridone Red for the stems. 

“Wattle Flower” Project start

Play with ideas, use wet in wet techniques to merge colours directly on the Watercolor Ground and paint your desired flora image.  Remember, Watercolor Ground takes longer to dry than watercolour paper, so allow yourself plenty of drying time between dry and wet areas.  The beauty of Iridescent Gold Watercolor Ground is a technique you can use called ‘lifting colour’ – this is when you use a damp clean brush to lift out veins or other details in your artwork to bring light and a shimmer of the Iridescent Gold Watercolor Ground back to the surface of our artwork.  You can see this in the leaf veins in the artwork below. 

The lifted leaf veins with the Iridescent Gold Watercolor Ground showing through, Caroline Deeble
The lifted veins of the Wattle and Sweet Gum leaves with the Iridescent Gold Watercolor Ground showing through

When your leaf and flower components are completely dry, you can start creating the interesting mottled, granulated dark background.  For this I used Shadow Violet.  The granulating effects offer interesting textural style and create cloudy, stylized areas that the Iridescent Gold Watercolor Ground can peek through.  Continue to complete the background and let it dry thoroughly.  You will notice as with all watercolour, that colours dry lighter than when applied with a soft matte texture.   

Wattle flower project, mottled background made with DANIEL SMITH Shadow Violet, Caroline Deeble
“Wattle Flower” Project, mottled background made with DANIEL SMITH Shadow Violet

Continue your multi panel project using the same techniques to create an interesting triptych.   Remember to let each layer dry completely between the detailed overlay or glazing brush work.  

Australian Flora Series Triptych, Caroline Deeble
“Australian Flora” Series Triptych by Caroline Deeble
Australian Flora Series Triptych, Caroline Deeble
“Australian Flora” Series Triptych by Caroline Deeble

Stage 3:

Applying cold wax varnish.

As each piece of watercolour artwork was completed, I decided to apply a protective finish to the artwork with a cold wax varnish onto the watercolor painting.  This is an art product that can be applied to a variety of surfaces including watercolour and will offer a sealed wax finish that can be polished with a soft cloth, developing a subtle matte seal. 

Stage 4:

Adding gold foil or leafing.

The final, 4th stage of finishing the edges of the wood art boards was completed with a glamorous gold foil or gold leafing wrap on the edges.  Using gilding (leafing) size, carefully spread a thin layer of the size on each edge of the board, let the gilding size dry, leaving a sticky surface ready to apply the gold foil. Using a soft clean brush gently fold the gold foil around the edges one at a time and repeat on each edge.  

Gold leafing or foiling process, Caroline Deeble
Gold leafing or foiling process steps for the “Wattle Flower” Project

Creating a selection of ‘Mini’ Artworks can be an ever-growing series of paintings, while offering the artist time to complete each individual piece.  

Australian Flora Series by Caroline Deeble
“Australian Flora” Series by Caroline Deeble


Photo of Australian Artist Caroline Deeble

An expressive artist painting ‘contemporary nature’. Caroline Deeble’s unique style explores a variety of ways to share her love of the natural world. Often called ‘the rock artist’, her artwork has included paintings from natural water courses to ocean reefs and Australian bush scenes. Her unique style created on her artistic journey of 30 years, explores layers of colour and shadows, while capturing the essence of Australia’s aromatic forests and free flowing waters.

Caroline has spent many years working with adults and young people in Fine Arts Education, showing her artwork in local, national, solo and shared exhibitions. She currently holds weekly classes and regular workshop from her studio in Australia.  Her artwork is included in many private collections nationally and abroad. She has a genuine passion for the importance of Art in our lives. Her artwork connects the viewer with nature, it’s gentle rhythm, it’s immense power and it’s cleansing ability to calm the soul. 

An international ‘Award Winning’ artist, recently her artwork featured as a part of the Australian delegation of Australian watercolour artists to Fabriano in Italy. Uniquely styled, Caroline Deeble’s watercolour artworks have also been recognized through her career as feature artist with a number of Australian & International Arts Agencies and is now included in the individual artist episodes of the award winning International Arts Documentart Series show ‘Colour In Your Life’ with Host Graeme Stevenson.   Looking forward to sharing her skills with art lovers from around the globe, Caroline has been invited to deliver watercolour workshops in Tuscany in Italy at the renowned creative studios of the Watermill Villa in Posara , where she looks forward to bringing her love of the DA range of products to her guest students at events like these.  

Photo of Australian Artist Caroline Deeble in her studio
Caroline Deeble in her studio