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The Gum Bichromate Process


The gum bichromate process is an exciting technique which requires a thorough knowledge of color because of the successive buildup and blocking out of various layers of transparent colors.

Good drawing and strong composition skills are essential too.


First, the landscape shape outlines are drawn.





Next, watercolor is squeezed into a container filled with gum arabic.


Then the watercolor and gum arabic are mixed with potassium dichromate.

The initial application of this light-sensitive solution is painted onto the background mountains.

The painted paper is placed on a rack to dry.

Once the paper is dry, a second coat of light-sensitive material is applied (this time mixed with gray watercolor) over the first coat of yellow.

After applying the light-sensitive material to another area of the painting, the paper is left to dry. A fabric is laid over it and then it is exposed to light.

Next, the paper is placed in a tray of water and developed

Then the paper is allowed to dry.

The rest of the foreground is painted in with watercolor.

After applying two more colors of light-sensitive solution to the right and left of the path, some lace is placed over the grass area and a grape leaf just right of center. Again, the paper is exposed and developed.

The completed painting: Vineyard Summer,
gum bichromate and watercolor, 18 x 22

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