Friday, June 11, 2010

That Important First Wash

Putting down the first wash in watercolor is very important. It is the "ground" that gives unity to the colors to be placed on top. In the first wash, you can establish a warm or cool or a dominant color.

In "Doc Griffin's Cabin," look at the first wash of yellow ochre. It is obviously on the side of the cabin, but it also extends to the pilings and to the rocks below. Gradually I introduced other colors next to the yellow ochre so that they blended where they met in a diffused manner.

In the second wash, notice how the yellow ochre provides a link as it flows from pilings to rocks. I was careful not to paint the ground/rocks right up to the pilings so that the light and the color would flow into the next area. Your eye does the work of distinguishing wood from rocks without a hard line to do it. Also I didn't have to paint the pilings but only the darker background that popped them out.

Use a wet-in-wet first wash to give unity and linkage.
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