Exploring Intermediate Watercolor Wash Techniques Part 3

Join us to uncover advanced methods that elevate your watercolor skills to new heights

Exploring Intermediate Watercolor Wash Techniques Part 3
Exploring Intermediate Watercolor Wash Techniques Part 3

Delve into the world of intermediate watercolor wash techniques in our latest blog post, 'Exploring Intermediate Watercolor Wash Techniques Part 3'. In this installment, we venture deeper into the art of creating captivating washes, building on the foundation laid in previous tutorials. Join us to uncover advanced methods that elevate your watercolor skills to new heights.

Exploring Intermediate Watercolor Wash Techniques Part 3
Exploring Intermediate Watercolor Wash Techniques Part 3

Tips and Techniques for Painting Loose Watercolor Variegates Washes

  1. Wet-in-Wet Technique: Apply wet paint onto a wet paper surface, allowing colors to blend and bleed into each other naturally. This is the best way to achieve loose results as opposed to wet-in-dry techniques.
  2. Splattering and Spraying: Splatter or spray paint onto the paper for a random, organic effect, using techniques like flicking a loaded brush or spraying water with a toothbrush.
  3. Negative Painting: Paint around the subject to create shape and form, leaving white spaces or negative areas to imply the subject.
  4. Blotting and Lifting: Use a tissue, sponge, or clean brush to lift excess pigment or create highlights by blotting or lifting color from the paper.
  5. Dropping In Color: Apply concentrated pigment or water onto a damp area and let it spread naturally to create interesting effects.
  6. Layering and Glazing: Build layers of transparent colors over dried layers to create depth and richness in your painting.
  7. Mixing Techniques: Experiment with various mixing methods like using salt, alcohol, or other resist mediums to create unique textures and patterns.
  8. Gestural Strokes: Use bold and gestural brushstrokes to capture the essence of your subject rather than focusing on precise details.
  9. Limited Palette Approach: Restrict your color palette to a few colors to maintain harmony and unity in your painting while exploring different values and intensities.

These techniques are great starting points for achieving a loose and expressive watercolor style. Experimenting with them and combining different methods can lead to unique and captivating artworks.

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Did You Miss the Previous Watercolor Wash Tutorials?

Welcome to Part 3 of our Intermediate watercolor wash series. If you're new to watercolor painting, I encourage you to explore our beginner series comprising four parts. Watching them in sequence can provide a strong foundational understanding. You can find the beginner series listed below:

Beginner series

Mastering Wet-in-Wet Watercolor Washes: Techniques, and Demo
Discover the enchanting realm of wet-in-wet watercolor washes as we share expert tips for mastering this technique. Explore the captivating transparency of watercolors and unravel the art of color interactions in wet washes.
Wet-in-Wet Watercolor Washes Using Three Common Mixtures
Let’s explore three common watercolor mixtures: Tea, Milk, and Honey. Uncover the secrets to creating stunning wet-in-wet watercolor effects.
Blending Various Watercolor Wash Technique; Wet-in-Dry
In this beginner tutorial, we’ll explore the techniques of seamlessly merging wet-in-wet and wet-in-dry watercolor washes to create a landscape.
Master Watercolor Wash Techniques Part 4 - Beginner Friendly
In this segment of our watercolor wash mastery series, we’re delving into advanced techniques designed to elevate your artistic creations.

Intermediate series

Intermediate Guide Wet-in-Wet Watercolor Washes
Dive into the enchanting world of watercolors, where your canvas becomes a playground of creativity and expression. Intermediate artists tips.
Intermediate Guide Wet-in-Wet Watercolor Washes Part 2
In this comprehensive tutorial, we’re delving deep into the fascinating world of variegated wet-in-wet wash techniques. Intermediate friendly.

What are Variegated Washes?

A variegated watercolor wash technique involves applying multiple colors or varying concentrations of paint onto wet paper to create a diverse and blended wash effect. Here's a breakdown of the process:

  1. Prepare the Surface: Wet the paper evenly with clean water using a large brush. Ensure the paper is uniformly damp but not overly wet.
  2. Mixing the Colors: Prepare the colors you intend to use. For variegated washes, it's common to mix two or more colors of different hues, creating a range from light to dark shades. You can also dilute some colors to different levels of concentration for added depth.
  3. Application: Start applying the colors onto the wet paper in a loose and spontaneous manner. Using a medium-sized brush, gently touch the surface of the paper with the brush loaded with one color, and then touch it with another color, allowing them to blend and merge naturally. The wet surface will encourage the colors to spread and flow, creating interesting blends.
  4. Tilt and Manipulate: Tilt the paper slightly to allow the colors to run and blend in different directions. Manipulate the wash by tilting, tapping, or adding more color as desired to achieve the desired variegated effect.
  5. Control and Timing: Be mindful of the timing. If the paper is too wet, colors may bleed excessively, while a drier surface might limit the blending effect. Experiment with different levels of wetness to control the flow and diffusion of colors.
  6. Drying Stage: Allow the wash to dry completely. As it dries, the colors will settle and merge, revealing the unique and blended variegated effect.

This technique is versatile and allows for a myriad of color interactions and transitions, creating beautiful gradients and textures. It's essential to practice and experiment with various color combinations, wetness levels, and brush techniques to master the art of creating captivating variegated watercolor washes.

Materials Needed

Here's a list of standard watercolor supplies often used by artists. If you want the exact supplies I use including colors, brushes etc., be sure to check out the article below.

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Watercolor Supplies
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, choosing the right watercolor supplies is crucial to achieving stunning results.
  1. Watercolor Paints: Available in tubes or pans. Common watercolor paint brands include Winsor & Newton, Daniel Smith, and Holbein.
  2. Watercolor Brushes: Different sizes and shapes for various techniques (e.g., round, flat, filbert). Brushes made of natural or synthetic fibers.
  3. Watercolor Paper: Heavyweight, acid-free paper designed for water-based paints. Common weights are 140 lb (300 gsm) and 300 lb (640 gsm) with surfaces like cold-pressed, hot-pressed, and rough.
  4. Palette: Used for mixing and diluting watercolor paints. Palettes come in various materials like plastic, ceramic, or porcelain.
  5. Water Containers: For rinsing brushes and controlling water application. Some artists use two containers—one for cleaning brushes and the other for fresh water.
  6. Pencil and Eraser: For sketching outlines or details before painting.
  7. Masking Tape or Clips: To secure the paper to a board or surface, preventing it from buckling during the painting process.
  8. Spray Bottle: For creating different water effects by misting the paper.
  9. Paper Towels or Cloth: To blot excess water or paint from the paper or brushes.

Remember, while these are the standard supplies, there's always room for additional materials based on individual preferences and techniques.

Ad-Free Tutorial Video: Creating Loose Variegated Washes

The six-minute ad-free video tutorial below (only available for paid-members) demonstrates the step-by-step process of achieving loose yet vibrant variegated washes. Using a red barn as the primary subject while infusing various hues to add creativity and dynamism.

If you want access to this video and all the other, be sure to sign up as a premium member.