Detail: Effects of Blotting on Rough-Textured Paper

Homer exploited paper texture in several ways in The Water Fan. He mixed heavier pigments into his washes that settled within the low points on the surface to create a speckled look. Homer blotted to pick up pigment from the high points for a shimmering quality. He also brushed a dry, blue wash across the surface to deposit color on the high points only.

Homer took this paper to the Bahamas in the winter of 1898-99 and to Bermuda in the winter of 1899-1900. This twill paper, unusual in Homer’s oeuvre, may provide a clue for placing undated works into Homer’s chronology.

Detail of The Water Fan, showing the speckled pattern Homer achieved by blotting blue watercolor from the rough, twill paper surface at lower left.