Watercolour Wet on Wet

In response to “RB’s Message” :http://www.redbubble.com/people/redbubble/journ... I thought somebody might like to know how I go about producing wet on wet effects.
First of all, choose the right paper for the effect you want, basically rough or smooth. How much granulation do you want? Choice of paper and paint can effect granulation dramatically. On the whole , yellows do not granulate and tend to stain, whilst blues have the opposite effect (See Moira Clinch’s ‘Colour Mixing Bible’ – 2500 mixes and glazes {Search Press}).
The order in which you place paints on the paper also has different effects. The degree of wetness is an important factor. I grade wetness into four groups: invisibly damp, moist, wet and swimming.(By invisibly damp, I mean that you need to place heel of hand on paper. If it is cold to the touch, it is still wet). All have their uses. In normal practice, you should let the paper dry just to the point where there is still a visible sheen. Drop in second colour and do not stir about too much – this can produce a muddy effect.
Some colours do not take to the paper directly – they need a coating of clear water applied first. This is wet on (or in) wet at its most basic. The paint can be applied more thickly as it will mix with the water on the paper, particularly if it is still at the swimming stage. (Some papers benefit from this technique also, so unless you know the exact properties of paper and paint, I suggest you always use this technique).
For a complete beginner, I would recommend a medium, pre-sized paper such as Brighton Seawhite. The paint flows smoothly and does not soak into the paper so rapidly. Use lemon yellow and ultramarine blue, and experiment with different thicknesses of paint (amount of water in the pre-mix). Note difference between yellow over blue and vice-versa, particularly on damp to dry.
With heavier papers, in particular Langton Rough, I apply a liberal coating of water. To prevent cockling, I tape down first. I have found that it is better to use pure colours rather than mixes, which tend to get duller and duller the more times they are applied. I also favour the ‘drop in’ method as practised by original impressionists.
More to follow……..

Watercolour Wet on Wet

John Moore

Bristol, United Kingdom

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