Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How To Control Watercolor And Keep The Edges Soft

After I posted my watercolor "Blue Eyes" on Facebook, several people asked me a very good question. They were wondering how I managed to keep all the edges soft, as if I painted on wet paper, while achieving so much control, as if I painted on dry paper.



The truth is, the whole painting is based on one simple approach. Here's how it works. First, make the paper wet. Then wait until the surface is no longer glossy, but still damp and cool on touch. Next, apply the paint, varying the amount of pigment on the brush depending on your needs.
On the picture below, this approach is illustrated by the brush strokes in the middle. They are well defined, but a little bit diffused, which creates a nice and soft appearance. The brush strokes on the left were made when water was still sitting on the surface. The ones on the right were applied on completely dry paper.



In other words, all you need is catch the right moment, when the paper is not too wet and not too dry. This maybe not quite as easy as it sounds at first, but it certainly comes with practice.

Happy painting!

20 comments:

  1. Thank you very much, Maria.
    Question. Suppose, paper is OK, edges are OK. But painting is big, and while I work on left side, right side gets too dry. How to wet paper again, when I am afraid to ruin left side and to have "cabbages"? (Правильный момент влажности бумаги пойман, и края картинки получаются нужного качества. Но если картинка побольше, и пока я занимаюсь левой частью картинки, правая высыхает. Как мне увлажнить правую сторону, ведь я боюсь разводов, и боюсь повредить левую, уже готовую часть?

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    1. Irina, in that case I usually damp the paper using a wide soft brush. If something is already painted on the particular part of the paper, I wait until it dries completely before wetting it again, so the paint doesn't smudge.

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  2. thank you very much,Maria,your watercolor are splendid .what about paper? arches 640?

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  3. This is amazing! I adore your paintings, thank you very much for sharing your tips!

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    1. Jelena, thanks for your kind words!

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  4. Thank you for sharing this! It's nice to see it so clearly laid out. I'm a beginner and find the wet-in-wet to be the most challenging technique so far. I'm trying to paint my tabby cat and getting the stripes just right is going to take a lot of practice and patience! I seem to either wait too long for the paper to dry and get hard edges or not long enough and the paint spreads everywhere. Your cat painting is gorgeous and I aspire to paint like you someday!

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    1. Jessrose21, I'm glad my post was useful. I'm sure you will master it soon!

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  5. MARAVILLOSA PINTURA!!!!! Felicitaciones!!!

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  6. Maria Bravo! The cat is beautiful! Thanks for the tips!

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  7. So beautiful...I love it!! I've been trying to paint cats recently and have had trouble with keeping them soft, yet controlled. Thank you so much for your tips...I plan to give them a try!!

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  8. Wouh , gorgeous, , greeting from Belgium in Mons

    http://louisette.eklablog.com

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  9. Wonderfull warecolors ,greeting from Belgium in Mons .
    Mons my city blog, http://louisette.eklablog.com

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  10. Maria I love this post your tips are very useful i am new to watetcolor painting but love it alot & will work hard too i see your painting & I try to do it I bet it's a lifelong determination & hardwork & practice along with talent on your part. Stay blessed Maria & thank you tons & tons

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  11. Maria I love this post your tips are very useful i am new to watetcolor painting but love it alot & will work hard too i see your painting & I try to do it I bet it's a lifelong determination & hardwork & practice along with talent on your part. Stay blessed Maria & thank you tons & tons

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  12. Maria I love this post your tips are very useful i am new to watetcolor painting but love it alot & will work hard too i see your painting & I try to do it I bet it's a lifelong determination & hardwork & practice along with talent on your part. Stay blessed Maria & thank you tons & tons

    ReplyDelete
  13. Maria I love this post your tips are very useful i am new to watetcolor painting but love it alot & will work hard too i see your painting & I try to do it I bet it's a lifelong determination & hardwork & practice along with talent on your part. Stay blessed Maria & thank you tons & tons

    ReplyDelete