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Tag Archives: wet-in-wet watercolor


The above painting is another experiment in format. Instead of cropping an image into a long and narrow format like in the previous post here, I cropped my reference photo to a square. A square will often give an up close and personal look at the image you are creating. It is a non-commital format but can be used to attract attention when hung alongside the much used rectangular formats used for landscape. This week, my landscape students have been asked to create a landscape, using the guidelines of composition, within a long and narrow format or a square.  This means they need to be mindful of their area or center of interest.  It is my hope that this exercise will inspire them to reach for an interesting crop with their reference materials and open the door to more creative interpretations of the world around us.

I was fascinated by the image of the above tree when I found it on wet canvas. I do not know what kind of tree it is. I liked the contrast of the warm colors against the snow and those foreground shapes with the deadwood branch pointing back to the tree, above. There was a lot of movement in that old gnarly trunk and the foliage offered me a chance to play around with color and wet-in-wet applications.  I liked the feeling of playing around with abstract forms to render something realistic. I also thought this image could be created in collage papers rather effectively.

Thank you, again, to wet canvas for the reference for this.



Tiger Eyes

Horse Mouth

Recently I began a watercolor portrait class. When I have taught this class, in prior years, we have jumped right in and begun drawing and painting the whole portrait. About halfway through each class I begin to get questions about how to: paint an eye, paint a nose, paint a mouth. This year I decided to begin the class a little different and demonstrated how I paint an eye and a nose. How there is not much to either but that we rarely take time to study them, separately, in previous classes. This year we took an entire week to just paint pieces and parts of the face and it has made a huge difference. We discussed how much brighter our colors were if we mixed them on the paper as opposed to the palette. We worked with layering the colors on the paper, or mingling them wet-in-wet and came up with examples like the above. Note the various colors to make the grays in the horse’s mouth or the indications of red and gold in the tiger’s black stripes. Both those colors were created with layers of varying reds, yellows and blues. We discussed the varying shades of reds and yellows and blues we had available to create skin tones and how much more vibrant those tones were when we painted them wet-in-wet and reserved the darker tones for the shadows or the rosey colors for the cheeks.  We talked about shadows cast under the eyelid, on an eye, or under the upper lip on the teeth.

Next we put these pieces and parts together and just created faces. That seemed to get this class rolling and there have been fewer problems with face parts as a result. I created the following faces:

Child’s Face

Woman’s Face

Man’s Face