Feb 17, 2012

Painting Watercolour using a Wet-in-Wet Technique

Last summer I made this time lapse video of painting a watercolour using a 'wet-in-wet' approach. That means painting onto wet, cotton paper using wet paint!

Today I added a voice-over to the video. The sound isn't great because I didn't use a microphone - just the built in one in my imac. Still, if you crank up the sound, I think you'll be able to hear it OK.

Working "wet-in-wet" is so intriguing because the dampness of the paper, which is made of cotton, creates a softness, a luminosity and an unpredictability as the paint colours mix together and change.

My inspiration came from a small monoprint I made using the watercolour on plexiglass technique that I've recently written about. I projected it onto a full sized watercolour sheet. Then I traced around the colours using a white oil pastel crayon and applying a lot of pressure on the paper. That line of oil or crayon will create a barrier for the watercolour and will work as a resist.
This is the original monoprint that I drew my inspiration from.

Using a mechanical aid and working from an existing piece of art were departures for me - it kind of felt like cheating. What I learned from it is that I could focus on the actual painting because the colours and composition were already worked out.

I'd like to try it again now during winter while I wait for flowers to grow.

Here is another example of enlarging a sketch onto watercolour paper. This is a sketch I made on location at Brier Island a few years ago.

Brier Island's Big Pond.

The resulting enlarged watercolour.
Here is a very short video of the painting process. It works best if you paint watercolours from light to dark.

Why don't you give it a try?  It's interesting to work on a piece that is so much larger than the original. 

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