Set II Beginners Lesson 6: Wet to Wet

Supplies: Watercolor paints, watercolor paper, drawing board (masonite), artist’s tape, 2 containers of water, hake brush, round, pointed watercolor brushes, paper towels and pencil

Set up your working area with your supplies. Tape down a piece of watercolor paper to the drawing board (this can be a piece of masonite board or a clip board). Taping is done by pulling the tape out and laying it along all the 4 edges of the paper so that at least 1/4th” of the edge is held down by the tape.

Run your finger along the tape to make sure you have sealed the paper against the board. Dip a “hake” brush into the water and wet your paper from “top to bottom”.

Hold your board up at eye level to see if there are any dry spots left. Make sure you have wet any dry spots. Wait until the water is completely absorbed into the paper.

Start painting. Dip a watercolor pointed (round) brush into CLEAR, clean water and then put the brush into a color and put the color on your paper. Move your brush around on the paper. Watch how the color spreads or is absorbed into the paper. If the paper is really wet, the color will “run”. Rinse your brush in one of the containers of water (RINSE WATER) and thoroughly wipe your brush with a piece of paper towel. Dip your brush in the second container of (CLEAR WATER). Make sure there is no residue of paint left in your brush.

Lift another color from your paint set and put that color onto your paper. Keep filling your paper with wet paint from your paint set to the wet paper. This is called “wet in wet”.

After you have experimented with one piece of paper, let it dry completely before you remove it from the board. Keep the board level so that the colors don’t run into each other. This is very important! If you remove your painting before it is dry, it will “curl”.

You may want to buy a “watercolor board” which contains more than a dozen sheets of watercolor paper held together by a glue bond around its edges. You can paint without having to tape down your paper. These boards come in many varieties. They can be expensive. Some are smooth and others are rough (cold press or hot press). You will need a very sharp blade to lift the sheet off when it is dry. This is “tricky” and requires very careful handling.

Blank watercolor paper postcards are a good choice if you want to explore the various methods of working in watercolor. They can also be easily scanned and reproduced.

If you are a person who likes to paint a lot, then work on more than one painting at a time. Let one dry while you are doing a second painting.

When you are finished. Clean up your work space, rinse, wipe and reshape your brushes back to their original shape. Some artists use spit to hold the bristles in place.

After your painting is dry, use a 3-H pencil or an”Extra Fine”pointed black rolling ball pen to sign your painting and include the date.