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How to Preserve White Paper When Painintg Wet-on-dry

Video - Part 3

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How to Preserve White Paper When Painintg Wet-on-dry

By Vladimir London, Watercolor Academy tutor

Part 3 - In this video, you will discover how to preserve white paper when painting wet-on-dry

How to Preserve White Paper When Painintg Wet-on-dry

The previous variegated wash is fully dry by now. I will use the same six premixed colors to make another wash on top of the under layer. However, this time I will apply it not wet-into-wet but wet-on-dry. The same painting technique is used this time as well. This technique is called the saw-wash. I apply short, diagonal brushstrokes, overlapping every stroke with the previous one. This painting layer is optional for this artwork. The only reason I am making it is to demonstrate how to preserve white areas when making a variegated wash wet-on-dry. For this wash, I am using the medium sized mop brush. This brush is made of natural squirrel hair and comes from Escoda. It has a sizable belly and takes a lot of paint. Because it has a very pointed tip, it is easier to paint with such a brush with high precision. When needed, it is easier to make wide strokes with this brush. It releases paint in a controllable manner. You can see that I am not overloading this brush with paint but continue painting rapidly so the painted edge doesn't dry. Every next patch of color is mixed with the previous one easily.

When I come to the area I would like to protect, I use so little pressure on the brush and only touch the paper with its tip. This way, I make very thin but precise lines. With a little bit more pressure on the brush, I make much wider strokes to continue the variegated wash. The board is tilted at about a 15 degree angle and wet paint slowly flows down, accumulating at the bottom edge of the painted area. This creates a nice juicy bead. It is important not to overload this bottom edge with paint so it doesn't run uncontrollably. Even though I am painting wet-on-dry, the borders between neighboring colors are very smooth. This is because areas of different colors are still wet. They intermix directly on paper. As you can see, I am not using a palette to mix paints. Instead, I add premixed colors next to each other, slightly overlapping such patches. The paint flows from one color to another, making soft and diffused gradations.

When two layers of variegated washes are applied on top of each other, you need to keep one rule in mind. The second layer can either enhance or mute the underlayer colors. If you apply similar colors on top of each other, for example red-orange and orange, the resulting warm color will be deeper and stronger. However, if in two different layers you have visually complimentary colors, for example yellow and violet or red and green, such colors will produce chromatic greys, and will mute each other. You have to make the right decision about what you would like to achieve; to enhance some color and make it stronger, or calm down this color and make it more greyish. Both ways are acceptable, they only depend on what result you would like to achieve.

As you may see in this artwork, I am almost repeating the same colors in the second layer on top of the underlayer. If the first layer has orange or yellow color, I am applying the same orange and yellow on top. I mentioned before that this layer is optional, now you know why. I would easily achieve the same variegated wash in one layer applying stronger mixes of paints in one go. Nevertheless, it is a good exercise and I'm quite pleased with the result. The only purpose of these variegated washes is to make a multicolor background, filling it with almost random colors. Six colors I'm using have very little to do with the actual design. The left part of the variegated wash is almost complete. The excess paint at the bottom of this wash is absorbed with the damp brush.

At the top, the painting layer is dry. That is why I'm carefully starting from the dry border, using exactly the same color. This way, there won't be any visible joins. I will continue the second layer of the variegated wash on the right hand side. I will try to use the same colors as in the underlayer because I would like to increase color saturation. If you are not fully familiar with color theory you can learn this topic in a fast and easy way in the Watercolor Academy Course. In this Academy, you will learn advanced techniques for using watercolors and trade secrets that are not taught anywhere else.

There are actually two courses in this Academy: the Online Course, which is a self-study, self-paced course where you can learn how to paint in watercolor by watching video lessons and doing assignments; and another course is provided by correspondence. In this Correspondence Course, you will receive personal tutoring, which is unlimited and custom tailored to your skills and needs. In the self-study online course, you will receive 80 video lessons on how to paint in watercolor. You will get a lifetime membership, which comes with personal support that includes answers to your art questions and critiques of your artworks. The Correspondence Course however is very different. It is arguably the best watercolor course available today. This is the only watercolor course where you can get unlimited, personal one-to-one tutoring from professional artists and art teachers. It is truly unique because you will receive a custom-tailored curriculum according to your level of art skills. This curriculum will also take into account what your art goals are and what you would like to learn. No art college or university would ever provide you a personal curriculum. The team of dedicated art tutors will help you reach an advanced level of watercolor painting skills. Their tutoring is unlimited. This means that for a one-time fee you will get lifelong tutoring until you achieve your educational goals. Within this curriculum, you will get 100 watercolor painting tasks. Each task will come with in-depth detailed instructions that you can follow step-by-step. You will get constructive critique of every artwork you do in this course. You can study in the comfort of your home at your own pace. There are no deadlines. Your membership will be for a lifetime.

If you would like to dedicate your professional life to making fine art, this course will be very helpful in achieving your dream. The information and skills you will learn in the Watercolor Academy Correspondence Course are not taught at contemporary art colleges. I have completed the second layer of the variegated wash and now it's time to decide on colors for the third layer.

The background will be done in warm colors. I pre-mixed three colors - yellow, orange and red - and will use a slightly smaller natural squirrel hair mop brush to apply the third layer. Although this brush is a little bit smaller than the previous one, it holds a lot of paint and is perfect for the job of making juicy brushstrokes as well as working small details. You may wonder why I am not mixing paints on the palette but use premixed colors as they are. There are several reasons for that.

The amount of paint I premixed will last me for the entire background so I don't have to spend any more time on mixing colors on the palette. The second reason, which is more important, is that I have a much greater control on which colors I'm using. For example, if I would like to apply the same saturation of orange color in various areas of this artwork, it is much easier if the color is already mixed instead of making a new mix for another area of this artwork. Also, you may see that in some areas I am not using just one color, but actually two. I start with one, for example red, and then add orange. If I start with orange, I end with yellow. In a way, I am making small variegated washes, and for a wash I have to use premixed colors. I wouldn't call filling such small areas "washes" but the principle of applying different color paints is the same. So, using this technique you can fill the entire sheet or just a small spot. I am almost done with this layer. You can notice that yellow color is applied in the center and it goes orange and then red towards the edges. This unites the whole background and it doesn't look like multicolored swatches any more.

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