Friday, July 18, 2008

Watermarks and Blending Off

I recently took your ROSE CLOSE-UP CLASS and enjoyed it a lot. I tried to practice at home and found that every time I blended with water or went back to add color to an area that was previously painted, I would make watermarks, and make the original color run and ruin everything. What am I doing wrong?
Thanks, Christine

SUSIE'S REPLY: Hi Christine! This is a common problem and a great question for me to share. Maybe we need to make a bumper sticker just for us watercolorlists that reads... Watermarks happen! I'm sure there would be many who can relate to this problem!
Watermarks (also called "blossoms" or "balloons") happen when the wetness of paint (or water) in your brush is greater than the moisture or wetness of the paint on your paper. When the water or paint you add to your paper the liquid is unequal to what's already there it will level off (spread out). This leveling process will "push" the paint particles as it levels out causing a watermark. It's actually collection of concentrated paint particles moved to the edge of the wetter area.
If watermarks are your problem, the solution is to use less water in your blending brush. Try blotting your brush to remove some of the moisture in it before you touch the paper to blend off.
I'll try to put together a new watercolor tip with photo illustrations to show what I talking about. In the mean time take a piece of scrap paper and do some blending practice exercises. It does take practice to be able to "read" your papers dampness and adjust the moisture in your brush accordingly.
I hope that helps! SUSIE

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