Thursday, April 12, 2012

WATERCOLOR WORKSHOP -- Mingling Paint on the Paper

This week's workshop is about mixing (mingling) watercolor on the paper, using the movement of the paint on the surface.

Using a 1/4 or 1/8 sheet of 140-lb. watercolor paper, draw 4 rectangles, leaving about 1/4 inch between them, and about 1/2 inch around the edges.

Prep your paints on your palette.  For this exercise, I used cobalt blue, quinacridone rose, and aureolin yellow.

Fill the first rectangle with clean water, using a 1/2" or 1" flat brush.

While the surface is still glistening, paint the blue in the rectangle, starting on the left.  Paint about 1/3 of the rectangle and let the paint move on its own.

Now, paint the rose color on the right side of the same rectangle.   Don't paint into the blue -- let the rose color move on its own to meet and mix with the blue.

If necessary, to help with the movement, you can tilt the paper, both directions.  Watercolor can only move on a surface that is wet, It cannot move into a dry area, unless there is a puddle of water and the paper is at a steep angle.

After wetting the 2nd rectangle with clear water, and waiting for the surface to glisten, place the rose color on the left side and let it move into the middle.

Now, apply the yellow to the right-hand side of the rectangle, and let the colors mix together.  If the colors don't move, there's not enough water on the surface.  Water is the vehicle for color to flow and blend -- learning how much of each to use simply takes some practice.

By lifting the paper, the colors will mingle.  The paint will only move to the areas that are wet.

Now, after painting with clear water again, paint the left side of the rectangle with yellow.  

Paint the blue on the right side, and let the colors mingle.  Help it along by tilting the paper, back and forth -- not with your brush.

Blending/mingling colors on the paper is a great way to paint flower petals and leaves.  Divide the last rectangle in 1/2, with a 1/4" division between the two smaller rectangles.  Draw some flower petals in the left one and some leaves in the right one.

Paint a petal at a time, water first, then one color, then the other color.  Don't paint adjacent shapes while they're still wet -- skip around.  On the leaves, leave a sliver of white to represent the veins.

On the flower petals, I painted each petal yellow, then touched the edge with red, while it was still wet.

For the leaf on the left, I painted each segment yellow, then touched the edges with blue.  On the right leaf, I painted each segment blue, then touched the edges with yellow.

I painted the background (negative) shapes a solid color -- rose behind the flowers, and blue behind the leaves.

Mixing your colors on the paper, letting them mingle on their own, is one of the reasons painting with watercolor is so much fun.

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