Now it’s time to remove the masking that has been applied in stages throughout this painting. I use a tool called a Masking Fluid Pick Up. Most art supply stores should carry them. They can cleanly lift your dried masking and will keep the paper from being touched too much. Erasers tend to leave marks, so don’t use them.
Once you get an edge up, you can grasp it with your fingers and gently, slowly pull the masking fluid up from the paper. Take your time. If you pull too quickly you may tear the paper and all of your hard work will be ruined.
Now all of the masking is removed. If you would like to soften some of the crisp edges left you can wet the paper with clean water and a soft two-inch brush. Avoid over brushing as this will lift a lot of pigment and make your painting look “washed out”.
At this stage you can really see the beautiful blending of the colors and you can study and decide which areas may need small repairs. You may need to lift a little here and there, and you may need to add more color to other areas.
Final repairs next…
It is time to remove the masking that was applied at the beginning of this project. I like to use a rubber cement pickup. You can purchase these at any art supply store and also at Cheapjoes.com. They work great! You can really scrub this tool over your paper to pick up every last bit of masking without worrying about damaging your paper. If the edges of this tool get black and crumbly in appearance, simply use a scissors or razor knife to scrape down to a clean edge.
Now that the masking is off you will see the sparkling white of the paper. I chose to soften some of these areas using a number 4 Fritch Scrubber brush. This is a small, stiff-bristled brush that I dip into clean water and gently brush over the edges of the masked areas. Then I quickly press the area with a paper towel to lift the moisture and scrubbed pigment. Be frugal, don’t over-do this technique or you will loose your whites. The direction of the scrubbing motion will determine how the lifting looks, so be conscientious about the direction you push and pull the brush. Use your photo reference as a guide for where to lift and soften. One thing to note, this DOES chop up the paper somewhat, so only do this in areas where you do not plan to add any more color!!!
Check to be sure that you have painted all of the underpainting where it needs to be around the masked areas. Thoroughly dry your painting. It needs to be bone-dry for this next step. Now it is time to remove the masking.
Use a masking fluid pickup, the best, cleanest and most efficient tool for removing masking. Any other tool will leave residue on your paper, or leave unattractive marks. You can purchase a masking fluid pickup, which looks like a rubbery eraser, at most good art supply dealers, or go to CheapJoes.com, one of my favorite online suppliers.
Simple rub the masking fluid pickup over the areas where you applied masking. You can actually use a scrubbing motion and not have to worry about disturbing your paint. With very clean, dry hands, gently touch your paper to see if any masking residue is left, and use the pickup tool until it is completely smooth and clean.
Now you have some beautiful, crisp whites to add sparkle to your painting!