Susan Fryer Voigt – Watercolor with Roller and Trowel (no brush zone)


Voigt Demo 1Teaching and working in her studio in the Northrop King Building, Susan is always on the hunt for new techniques and new products to keep her work fresh and on the edge as well as challenge her students.

Voigt Demo 2As Susan explained, she used to paint with brushes like most of us do until, several years ago, she took a NorthStar workshop with Kate Worm who introduced her to painting with a roller (brayer).

Some time after that, Susan started using a trowel as well. Typically, Susan will start with rolling paint on paper (140 or 300 lb. paper) and then switch to her trowels to add detail. We’re not talking big trowels that brick and tile layers use, but more palette knife-like trowels. Occasionally, she will prime the paper with acrylic to create a more luminous feel to the painting. Voigt Demo 3

Although it’s possible to use watercolor paint out of the tube for rolling and troweling, Susan prefers Daniel Smith watercolor sticks. After dipping a stick into water, she will move the stick back and forth over her palette paper, then take her roller or trowel and apply it to her paper. In addition to the ease of the sticks, she feels she wastes less paint that way.

Voigt Demo 4After applying the first layer of paint with her roller, Susan keeps layering paint into the painting with her trowel pushing and pulling the paint. As she confessed, it’s often hard to know when to stop.

At times, she also uses Aquapasto—a thickening agent for watercolor that gives a 3-D illusion to the painting Rather than 140 or 300 lb. paper, she’s starting to use boards for this technique so that she doesn’t have to cover the painting with glass anymore, but rather varnish it with 2 layers (using spray varnish). Susan kept the NorthStar artists captivated throughout her demo inspiring many of them to keep pushing their boundaries.