Thursday, May 28, 2020

May 28th, 2020 Beginning Homework, Wetter Wash, Thicker Strokes

Read this whole post before you begin painting, please.

This painting is made up of a sky and a field of sagebrush. Each was made by applying a  colored wash with some secondary strokes of texture, which were laid down while the wash was still wet.   We are going to try two different techniques for making the wash and stroke areas with all soft edges.

Starting with the sky, make a large puddle of a pale, warm neutral, and lay it over the entire top half of the page. Add some pigment to make a light grey, then paint the paler clouds with a few quick strokes. Add some more pigment to your brush to make the darker clouds.  Neither of these layers require more water. You already applied the water when you laid down the warm wash.

At this point, everything is soft-edged, right? If not, leave the top half alone and move on to the sagebrush.

Again, make a puddle of pale color for the initial wash. Lay it down over the entire field. Then, mix up the green for the 3 patches of sage. Add a tiny bit of red-orange to turn the green to brown and paint the middle of the field brown. Quickly add more pigment to the brown to make a darker brown for the branches of all the bushes, If the paper is dry, go on to the blue mountains. If you forgot and dipped your brush into the water bucket, remember to dry it.

OK, that's the approach called "working with the drying time of the paper." Now we'll practice re-wetting. This is the "no panic" approach. You'll need to stay aware of how dry the paper is, but you can take all the time you need.

Proceed just as you did in the first study, always watching for hard edges. When you see them, stop painting! All you have to do now is dry the paper thoroughly. Then it's ready for re-wetting. Apply a layer of clean water over the area where you want soft edges. Be efficient in your brushwork, not going back and forth and back and forth. That would cause the under layer to dissolve and move around. creating streaks and overlapping. Now apply the strokes of color while the paper is wet again
You should end up with two copy/studies, one from each approach. You've probably seen that you can combine the two techniques. You'll soon have a good sense of how fast the paint is drying in the current atmospheric conditions. If you're working outside and can't find the cordless hair dryer (because no one has invented it yet!), what you can do is work on two paintings at once, letting one dry naturally while you work on the other,


  1. I actually have a cordless hairdryer. Its a LOXO. Does not get hot. Use it for drying egg tempera.

    Thanks for all you do.