Monday, July 21, 2008

Painting Skies Wet-in-Wet

I hope you can help me as I am getting frustrated trying to paint skys, I have just started to paint and when I try to add another colour into a sky ( wet into wet ) most of the time it bleeds into the first colour rather than blending smoothly with the first colour. Regards Steve.


Steve, I hope I can give you a tip or two that will help. Believe me you are not alone when it comes to running into problems working wet-in-wet.

  • My first tip is to experiment using less water when you wet your paper in using the wet-in-wet techniques. You do need to have the paper wet enough for the paint to spread when you stroke it onto the paper but if it is too wet the paint might travel more than you want it to.
  • Second, check the amount of water in your brush as you add color (and more water) to your painting, if your paper is wet with water, and you add one color with more water then add another color with more water you colors may be overtaking the first color as the water tries to level out. Most of the time it is a water issue... either too much or not enough! It does take some practice to find a balance.
  • Third, don't soak or wet both sides of your paper. Doing this does give you a longer working time but waterloged paper could be part of your problem. If you are wetting both sides, try only wetting the top surface and see if that works better for you.

When painting skies and placing one color next to another allow for the paints spreading. Leaving a white space between the two colors will give you some room for the colors to spread then as the paint starts to settle somewhat tilt the paper back and forth to allow the paint to travel and either blend or just fill in the white gap you left.

When working wet-in-wet as the paint starts to settle and the wet paper starts to loose its shine you need to pay close attention to the amount of moisture in your brushload as you continue to paint. With less water and more pigment the paint will not spread as much and you get more concentrated heavier clouds that stay where you place them. They still have a soft edge because the paper is still damp.
If you are not extremely careful about the water in your brush it is easy to get a back run or water mark (aka water blossom) when the wet brush touches the damp paper. Practice will be your best friend as you learn how to read the wetness of your paper and your brush loads.

Keep trying! The more you practice the better it will be.

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