Micropainting- Tiny Watercolor Explorations

Over the weekend, I thought it’d be interesting to try to translate what I do as an artist into a Foldscope experiment. I gathered the materials necessary for traditional watercolor painting & prepared to make some art on a microscopic scale.

Materials: watercolor paper, watercolor pencils (similar to colored pencils, but water soluble– forming paint when water is added), and my DIK. 

On a blank glass slide from my DIK, I mounted a small piece of paper with the pencil sketched on. I tried a couple different sketching methods, very light and very heavy, for comparison.

lightly colored
densely colored

Slide Preparation: for each slide the sketch is mounted beneath a glass cover slip, but because I knew I wanted to add water to create a “painting”– I also included an extra little piece of paper on one side to create a wedge. I then taped the cover slip to the slide on the sides and bottom. This was intended to create a little pocket to record as I add water & my painting to comes to life.

Initially, I worried the paper may be too dense to let light through, but was surprised how well it imaged! Here are some of my favorite views, I especially liked seeing the the stark comparison between the coloring techniques.


Next, I attempted to add water to make it a true “painting” and record the moment of saturation through video. This part I feel was less successful, but a moment to learn from! With I pipette I simply added a couple drops of water to the open end of the slide, and recorded as it trickled down to my sample.

Also, an audio disclaimer– I was watching Lord of the Rings during these experiments, so please excuse the wildly dramatic music and orc-ish voices!

I noticed as soon as water was added the focus was immediately lost. I imagine this is because the water filled a plane of space closer to the lens. In this next video I took some time to pan through the different planes & focus on the different levels of particles floating in the mixture.

Excited to continue to explore ways to make art at a very small scale… I find the concept itself very interesting. It was fun to repurpose a traditional medium with less than traditional methods.

Until next time!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. laksiyer says:

    Wow wow . Would be interesting to try this on different kinds of paper and media. I wonder how cloth,/nylon/plastic would do?

    1. RebeccaKonte says:

      I was thinking the same thing!!! Maybe in the coming weeks I’ll set out to try a variety of different media 🙂

  2. Manu Prakash says:

    Stunning colors @rebecca. What incredible beauty in every stroke 🙂 I will look at every painting in a new light now.

    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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