Painting watercolour using a ‘Wet-in-Wet’ Technique

Last summer I made this time lapse video of painting a watercolour using a ‘wet-in-wet‘ approach. That means painting onto wet, cotton paper using wet paint!

Today I added a voice-over to the video. The sound isn’t great because I didn’t use a microphone – just the built in one in my imac. Still, if you crank up the sound, I think you’ll be able to hear it OK.

Working “wet-in-wet” is so intriguing because the dampness of the paper, which is made of cotton, creates a softness, a luminosity and an unpredictability as the paint colours mix together and change.

My inspiration came from a small monoprint I made using the watercolour on plexiglass technique that I’ve recently written about. I projected it onto a full sized watercolour sheet. Then I traced around the colours using a white oil pastel crayon and applying a lot of pressure on the paper. That line of oil or crayon will create a barrier for the watercolour and will work as a resist.

This monoprint was the inspiration for the larger piece.

I’d like to try it again now during winter while I wait for flowers to grow.Using a mechanical aid and working from an existing piece of art were departures for me – it kind of felt like cheating. What I learned from it is that I could focus on the actual painting because the colours and composition were already worked out.

Here is another example of enlarging a sketch onto watercolour paper. This is a sketch I made on location at Brier Island a few years ago.

This is the original painting/sketch.


You can see how much larger the new painting is.


Why don’t you give it a try?  It’s interesting to work on a piece that is so much larger than the original.

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