Monday, 28 April 2014

Drawn to Water!!

I played with my paint all Saturday afternoon and as everything was still out in my conservatory, the sun was shining and the garden is looking beautiful, I needed to carry on yesterday. I finished one of the landscapes I had been working on but they are very much practices and works in progress.. I need to stumble upon my way of painting them and though I am getting closer I am not satisfied with what they are looking like at the moment. I figure that the more I practice the more likely I am to create something whether intentionally or by chance that I will be pleased with and which tell me the direction I need to go in!!

In the meantime I was being drawn all the time to soak the paper and paint completely wet in wet as I did with the painting "Moving On." I don't know whether it is the challenge of working like this but wet in wet has never been how I paint... this isn't just like adding the sky wet in wet or painting small areas which I have done before, it is a whole new way for me at least... knowing just when the paper is at the right moment during the various stages of drying and then knowing how wet I need the paint to be to either to keep it flowing or get it to stay and in the meantime trying to manage a whole piece of wet paper!! Techniques such as  lifting off, to keep the whites, all the time trying to get the shape of my subject as in both cases I didn't draw, all different ways of working to my normal methods.

I had an image of a small white jug, and I used

Prussian blue
Alizarin Crimson
Burnt Sienna
Raw Sienna

I thoroughly soaked the whole page then started by dropping in a mix of colours to the bg and defining bits of the jug but didn't like what was happening so sprayed it all and started again...this is much more possible while the paper is soaking wet and the strange thing is that while everything is so wet, working in with the brush(though not too much)  is also possible without getting again I slowly added the darks and lifted out the lights..... the wetter the paper the stronger the paint needs to be to have the slightest chance of "staying put" and blue tends to move and run less than  other colours. Likewise as the paper dries, the concentration of paint can be slightly less to stay so these are things I am learning and trying to analyse...I am at the stage where I have a good idea as to just how wet or dry the paint needs to be and the more you practice the more instinctive it becomes.  I find I am drying the brush to various degrees depending on what I am looking to do and it is now a sort of inbuilt knowledge which if I am ever going to teach this way of painting I need to understand and be able to verbalise what is happening and why!!

So here is my little practice piece... Charla van Vlack has described it as "soft but powerful" which I think is hugely complimentary but also I think describes why I like this way of painting, still on my journey to create loose watercolours and using every tool at my disposal... let me know what you think!!


  1. When I was in highschool I used to love painting wet in wet. We'd do the whole stretching the paper on boards things and I would churn out these sunsets, I used to adore doing them. My teacher would hang them on the wall and when I left and asked for them back for a portfolio she refused and said they belonged to the school (she wasn't my favourite art teacher - has to be said. Though looking back, I should have been proud that she wanted to keep them I suppose.) Anyway - I feel like I've pretty much forgotten everything learnt back then. I love coming here and getting little jolts of memory.

    I think Charla's description is pretty spot on. This is just lovely Judith :)

  2. Fantastic jug - and yes it really is soft and at the same time, powerful. Keep working on this technique, Judith. The results are looking really good.

  3. Gosh! I'm on the same journey as you yet not so far down the wet on wet road. I'd better start following your blog to discover the next development.

  4. I think spring invigorates and makes us want to step outside ourselves and our comfort zones. And this painting is definitely a success!

  5. Evident you were in the zone Judith, a lovely result

  6. You did well Judith for a first try. Still life as a subject is probably not the best for wet-in-wet practice. Try painting flowers or semi-abstract landscapes. You may find that easier since you don't have to be as precise and the result comes out looser.

  7. Dear Judith - I think this is quite lovely. I believe wet into wet is hard for me because I do not practice near enough with it. You have inspired me though to start. Have a lovely day.


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