Saturday, April 02, 2016

Wet in wet and various factors

Wet in wet is likely one of the most well known watercolour techniques and one that provides some beautiful effects.  It's also one of the techniques that produces unpredictable results associated to watercolours. For this technique, the wet paint is applied to wet or damp paper, the colours flow and blend into one another in beautiful, unexpected ways, creating a diffused effects.

A number of factors need to be considered for the use of the wet in wet technique.

Paper weight
  • The use of this technique is known for making 140lbs paper buckled, especially when the entire paper is wet.
  • Even with lots of water, good 300lbs paper will not buckle with this technique.
Proportion of paint to water
  • Very watery (high ratio of water) washes will spread quickly and leave washed out colours and very diffused shapes.
  • Thicker washes,  also called charging, will not spread as much and will produce more intense colours.  The thicker the mix, the easier it will be to create shapes.
Texture of the paper
  • Hot pressed paper doesn't absorb much water or paint and the paint will not stick as easily, if the surface is angled. The paint will flow and will not leave much colour on the paper.
  • Cold press and rough paper will absorb the paint more and produce more vibrant colours.
Angle of paper
  • Gravity can play a significant role.  The greater the angle of the paper, the more the colours will spread. Sometimes that's a desirable attribute, other times you may want the paint to slightly diffuse.
  • In some cases, it might be necessary to tilt the paper in various angles to spread the paint. This is useful if you want to mix the colours on the paper.
  • Applying a wash to paper on which water was just applied, will cause the paint to spread quickly and more uncontrollably. This will produce undefined shapes.  Sometimes this is the intent.
  • Letting the paper dry until the surface is no longer glossy, but still damp and cool to the touch, will allow the shape to be more controlled while creating beautiful soft edges.
When using this technique, you must paint quickly. Alternatively, sometimes you want to keep the paper damp for a longer period of time. You could spray the surface as you work, but you could also put your paper on a damp thin towel to retain moisture.  Another method includes working a non-absorbant surface like glass or plexiglass. This approach also helps keep the paper flatter.
This week's artist find is Michał Jasiewicz:
Michał Jasiewicz watercolour
I had trouble selecting one of his paintings to put in this blog since there are so many that I like.

Have a great week,

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