In this post, I'm going to show you my process of learning how to do washes with watercolor.
Before I get into the actual washes, I want to correct something I said in my video "Watercolor vs Acrylic". In that video, I said that watercolor paint consists only of pigment and water. That's not correct. In addition to pigment and water, watercolor paint has binders such as gum Arabic or honey.
Now that that's out of the way, let's get on with the washes. I used Winsor Newton's Cotman paint on their 140lb coldpress paper. I got this little pad that's perfect for practice like what I'm doing right now.
For my first wash, I had a lot of water mixed into the paint and I was expecting the paint to pool where the water is and become blotchy.
For my next wash, I mixed less water with the paint, so I was expecting it to come out more even.
For my third wash, I did what's called wet on dry.
For my next wash, I did what's called wet on wet. That could be wet paint over wet paint over other wet paint or just over water, which is what I did. My water was dirty, which is not good, but you can still get the general idea of how this works.
I tried to keep the layer of water as even as possible all around, so the paint would be even.
I really like doing wet on wet, because I think it's fun to see the paint spread out, but if you're doing small details where you need to have control, it's obviously not a good technique.
Let's see how the wet on wet technique looks with clean water. Keep in mind I'm using the same color I've been using this whole time, which, in case anyone is wondering, is ultramarine blue.
Next I tried to do a gradient. Now, a gradient is difficult because it has to be done with the previously stroke wet. So that means it has to be done in one sitting. You can’t stop in the middle of doing a gradient and come back to it, because then your previous stroke will have dried and you won’t be able to continue the gradient effect.
As you can see, I attempted the graduent a few times. Basically, everytime I make a stroke, I wipe some paint off my brush and get more water so the strokes get progressively lighter.
Alice's video that inspired this.
Painter of portraits and wildlife