Always Carry a Paper Towel

One of the lines from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that my husband and I love is “Always Carry a Towel.” We discuss this at length to the point where he actually packs a towel for any of our adventures because we never know when we will need one. It actually comes in handy with the dog and any water source quite often! Speaking of water and needing a quick way to clean things up; I usually use a paper towel when blotting watercolor paint. I use a regular reusable rag when working with acrylics. The fine details and intricate lines I create with watercolor require a gentle hand with the aid of a small surface area especially with my 4″ x 6″ Originals. Paper towels are easy to fold into tiny spaces in order to collect excess water or fix runaway paint.

The joy of watercolor is to let the paint flow and interact with each color differently. In my large pieces I do need some control to keep my fine lines from trickling into nothingness. So I suggest always carrying a paper towel and yes, I reuse them. One paper towel will last me about 2 to 3 months if my dog does not get a hold of it and chew it up. I have to hide these beauties as if they were buried treasure he cannot sniff out. Keeping these paper towels safe for multiple months can be a challenge but I love reusing them so it is necessary. Blotting is super important in my technique so the paper does not buckle. I work in a wet on dry technique and control the minute wet on wet interactions specifically. Some of my recent work was wet on wet with a wet on dry technique to complete it and it was very enjoyable. The Daisy Way series was fascinating and fun to create. I used a paper towel with both styles and prefer the wet on dry for my larger works.

The wet on dry allows me to work for several hours, days, months on a piece. I can let it sit, focus on the lines, and challenge myself with determination to finish these. Each large painting takes many layers and many hours of work. Dolphin Smiles was painted using a wet on dry technique. My gallery focuses on the natural world and includes portraits interacting with nature. Recently I have been working in my sketchbook and posting videos on social media platforms. Each video, if you focus, you can see me use a paper towel to blot a section of the painting. These timelapse videos move quicker than I could ever paint in real life so you have to watch very closely to see a paper towel on one of these “reels.” Please drop a comment on what you use to blot your surface area, excess water problems, etc. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will respond in 24-48 hours Monday-Friday. You can also send me a private message at

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful Wednesday!

-Karen Hilliard