Friday, April 8, 2016

The Power Of Dark Values

One of the more difficult things for beginning watercolor painters to do is to paint a dark shape with confidence.  To hit the paper with enough paint to make a bold statement with a dark value is a hard step to make. 

If you are timid with a dark in the first wash, and discover that the dark you thought was dark enough, you will try to go back and make it darker, only to discover that the area becomes muddy.  Too much water is usually the suspect.  Darkening an area requires a bold application with lots of paint. 

Oftentimes, the paint is applied on the first go around, and then when it starts to dry, the artist goes back in when the paper is still damp.  Try to be patient and wait until the area is completely dry before trying a second wash.  Better yet, go darker than you think the area should be on the first application to insure its freshness.

As Ed Whitney said,  "If it looks right when it's wet, it's wrong."  More paint and less water will result in purer darks and movement in the paint if applied quickly. 

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