How To Create Perfect Washes With Watercolor | Ron Mulvey✏️ | Skillshare

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How To Create Perfect Washes With Watercolor

teacher avatar Ron Mulvey✏️, Artist / Art Teacher

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      How to Create Perfect Washes With Watercolor


    • 2.

      Art Materials and Set Up


    • 3.

      Overview of Class Project and Demos


    • 4.

      Draw, Design, and Paint


    • 5.

      Creativity and Wash Technique


    • 6.

      Expanding Creativity With Washes


    • 7.

      Fine Job with Fine Art


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About This Class

Welcome 'How To Create Perfect Washes With Watercolor'

Enhance your creativity and follow Ron as he designs a simple landscape for you to paint.

Whether you've never painted before or are looking to improve your skills, this course will teach you the essential watercolor wash techniques I've learned as a professional landscape artist. 

I've created, exhibited, and sold paintings for 30 years and run an Art School in Nelson BC. In this first course, you'll learn the "No Drips no Slips" English Watercolor Wash Technique. I use this exact technique in my studio and in the field. 

You don't need any previous experience to benefit from this course. I'll teach you the technique with simple, visual instructions. 

  • How to set up a simple drawing 
  • Simple techniques that get you painting fast 
  • Bring light and depth with the true 'English Wash Style'

I've used these exact techniques to create the watercolors below. 



Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Ron Mulvey✏️

Artist / Art Teacher


I've been working as a full-time artist since 1980. I have had the pleasure of teaching art since 1983 and have taught thousands of classes on drawing and painting. I would consider it a privilege to assist you in achieving your artistic goals.

I have taught the basic and advanced mechanics and principles which give us the skill and confidence to express creatively, for the past 30 years. Sharing them is my passion! 

What Do I Like Teaching?

Watercolors and Acrylic are my specialty. I work with oils also but not as often as the water based mediums.

I love trees, mountains, rocks, water, flowers, and all that nature has to offer. Getting out into nature always gives me a creative boost. You get the real energy and feeling of space and belonging.See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. How to Create Perfect Washes With Watercolor: Hi. I'm Ron Mulvey and thank you for coming to this class. The no drip, no slip English watercolor style of painting. This is the first in a series of three films that we'll be doing for Skillshare. I really hope you enjoy it, get down, and get some work done, and have an exciting time finding a new skill. Watercolor essentials, essentials meaning the basics, it's open to all people, even people who don't paint, people who can't draw. But remember, the basics and the essentials are good for people who can draw and who can paint, like myself. I'll never stop using the essential and the basics. You may have experienced a few problems already if you've started watercolors, one of them being that the colors look muddy or you can't make dark slip dark enough, or the paint just doesn't seem to go on properly and you have to boss it around, and then when you get all frustrated, little pieces of paper are all over the place. Most of the problems that you've experienced and difficulties and perhaps in your mind failures are a result of two things. Improper tools and no idea of technique. How does the paper need to respond to the paint? What I'd love to see you do in this particular course is learn one method of painting, the no drip, no slip English, watercolor stuff. This was a technique that was used by mostly women at the turn of the century, the time of Jane Eyre and Mr. Dorsey and all the crew and the women were expected to be talented and pick up skills. So they took to watercolor painting, and drawing is one of them, besides piano playing. This particular style had its origins in England and it was developed by men later and by women to the extent that today it is very accepted in all the graphic arts, advertising, poster art. Lots of people are using this method and basically it's a wash on dry paper. What is expected in this class of the student? Would say the first thing would be, don't expect this to be a drawing course, this is a painting course. You are about to learn a dynamic way of controlling your paint and being successful with the watercolor painting. The goal of the short demonstrations you'll be doing with me, is to achieve mastery of a simple technique that is used all the time by professional watercolor painters. Another expectation of being the teacher, is you to show up for class with all your materials ready. Why teach a basic skill like the wash dark to light? That basic skill led to a revolution in art. In Italy it was discovered that by making the paint go from dark to light, that we could create drama, we could create interests, we could be entertaining with our paintings. Before that time, all the paintings were just flat. Your eye only went to a certain depth, but with dark to light, we're able to go into the picture and come out of the picture. So this English watercolor style is absolutely essential if you want to become a good watercolorist, it's the first of three important techniques. This is number 1, no drips, no slips. We're going to do a very simple pen drawing. Like I said, you can use pencil and I'll show you how to do the drawing. It's simply for me to be able to teach you the same thing so that everyone's on an equal playing field. You can change your trees a bit in your clouds, you can work on it. But do try to do this little landscape with me, the class isn't too long, but we learn how to go from dark to light. Then we have a flat wash here and a flat wash here. This is the first step, and then we will go back over and dark and even more to get a more dramatic contrast from here to here. That white on the trees will start to really show up. Then we'll add some yellow glazing to change the color, and we'll work it up into something similar to this and get it looking very realistic. For your project that you're going to be posting, you can choose anything that you want to paint as long as you're using the graded wash idea. The English invented this style of painting. There we go, and I have picked up successfully all the drips. There are no mistakes in art. Let's get started. 2. Art Materials and Set Up: Here we have all the materials you need except for the paints and water. We have 140 pound Arches cold pressed paper. We have a small brush here, a small round, a medium, a Chinese brush, and a flat brush. Over here is painter's tape, which has a low tack, meaning that the acidity is very low and it won't affect your paper and it comes off easily. Do not use masking tape or scotch tape. They're highly acidic. There are some scotch tapes that might not be, but just to be safe, painter's tape is probably your best bet. A rag so that you can recycle it, wash it up. I'll be using an Archival Brush Pen, it's called, for some of the drawings and a permanent Sharpie for other drawings. I do it in pen. You may use pencil and erase the pencil after you're finished when the painting is totally dry. But I'm using a pen because pencil is really hard to see when you're demonstrating on a film. It just doesn't show up properly. So I'm using ink instead of pencil. One of the things you're going to need is a board such as this. This is just mat board that you can tilt, and this will help the water flow and also this is what we tape our pitcher to. So you're going to be working with smaller papers in the first project and you'll be taping them on there. We're going to tape it because we're going to be doing dry paper, and unless your paper is saturated with water, as soon as you add water to one side of the paper and wet it, if you don't wet the other side, it will buckle even if it's up to 200 pounds, eventually it will get worked or buckled. So we're taping the picture. I use the low tack painter's tape, comes off easily, and you just pull it this way. Don't pull this way. If you pull your tape this way, you'll rip the picture. It'll actually take the paper off. Especially if you're using a 90 pound paper. 140 pound paper you're safe but still pull it this way when you're taking it off. When you take it off, you have a nice white edge which shows your picture off. I just take my thumb and make sure it's sealed along the edges. Presentation after your picture is finished is part of the painting. The nature of paint. Paint needs water. These are called watercolor paints because they need water. They give you the color, but you have to provide the water. Now there are two ways to use watercolor paints. One is full strength on your brush without water. That means that the paper has to be saturated with water. That will be our next lesson. This lesson is going to be using paints that are thinned with water and then applied to dry paper. You'll need a small brush, a medium brush, and a rag. Remember small tools, small piece of paper, big tools, big piece of paper. We're going to add water in here, and we're going to add water here, and we're going to add water here. So we have three little wells full of water. Now we're going to just use one color. We're going to be using the thalo blue, not the cobalt, but the thalo. Choose a brush that's not too big, hold your palette. Take some on your brush, just the tip of the brush, get a blob on there like that, and then put it in the water and thin it in the first well. Notice these three wells have pretty much the same amount of water. If you want to get scientific, you can use an eye dropper and put an equal amount in each. See how the second one got lighter. It's not quite what I want. So I take a little of the first one and just by looking at that color, you can see which one is lighter. Then I go to here, and I'm borrowing from this one, and you can see going from here to here, I will get a dark, a medium and light enough. If that's not dark enough, I could add a drop more. Make sure it's all mixed and now rub my brush, tap my brush on the rag. I'm ready to paint. This is my water container. Don't get a little cup of water. Get a big jug, big container. That way you don't have to keep changing your water and interrupting the creative process. So big jug of water. If you look at this brush, it's the Robert Simon synthetic round brush. Round meaning it's going around this way. It's rounded as opposed to a flat brush. Once you've finished painting, what you'll do is put a little soap in your hand here and add little water to the brush, and you'll work that brush back and forth like this until the water and soap come out clean. Now I've not dirtied this brush, but by demonstration, you can see if it was dirty soap I clean it off, put a little more soap in my hand. Just get a good pure soap, and you keep doing that until the brush is clean. Just swishing it in the water, doesn't get it done. 3. Overview of Class Project and Demos: Here's your first project. You're going to need your board and a piece of Arches paper. You're going to need all those materials we've just discussed. But what are you going to be painting? This is key. Get yourself a sketchbook bigger than you can put in your pocket. If you get a sketchbook that fits in your pocket, you're probably not going to take it out. It might be people around if you're in the city, so get one that you have to carry. No one is really going to pay too much attention to you if you stop for a few minutes and get some sketches. Now, the sketchbook will give you some quick ideas. You may only get time for five minutes but it gets you warmed up. Here's a quick little sketch we did. My wife and I went out on the rail trail, it's a place where we live. A couple of people came by on their canoe. Subject matter; you might be wanting to do some characters for a children's book, you may be inventing some new characters for your kid's room, be doing a sketch of the garden in your back, you have a photograph of somebody, your family that you might want to do a portrait of, or a graphic design for a children's product, you might be designing a little book, you might want to do your drawing, paint it, and then put it onto a computer program and enhance it like this one, you want to design your own Christmas card, you might have a little sketch lying around from years ago and think that's cute. I'm going to use some watercolors and see if I can give it some life. Perhaps you're waiting at the ferry and you only have 15 minutes, you get your pencil or your pen out and do a quick sketch. Never underestimate the power of doodling. You might have a quiet moment down by the river and actually spend 45 minutes studying nature and drawing it. You might have a passion for houses and Barnes and old buildings, a cabin in the mountain. It sounds like a cliche but it's not. A little girl on a swing, nothing wrong with that. A monkey at the zoo, your dog, your cat, your hand, your foot, your shoes, anything is worthy of being rendered artistically. I'm going to be using this sketch done by Courtney Lake as our model today and I'm going to simplify it down to something like this, which I've just started to see if it was going to work. Instead of the rocks here, but I'm still going to use the same type of cloud form and the same landscape with water and a mountain, some trees. I've simplified so that we can learn some principles of painting. You can follow me, this I'm going to draw it and the reason I suggest you draw it with me is because then we're on an equal playing field rather than doing a bunch of exercises showing you some isolated examples of technique. We'll apply the technique to a very simple landscape and you will learn some principles. Then you can take those principles and apply it to your home project and show me what you did with them. Because the principles I'm going to show you in this little painting are the principles I've used for over 30 years. They work, I didn't invent them. They've been with us since the 14th century, 12th century and we've learned a lot in that amount of time. I'm just sharing what others have discovered and perhaps maybe something I've discovered along the way also. Let's get to work. Here we go. 4. Draw, Design, and Paint: Today, this is our no drip, no slip method of painting. The first thing you'll probably wonder is, what are we going to paint? It's not so important as what we're going to paint, but what are we going to learn about painting. Now, I'm going to start this with a small ink drawing of a landscape. I'll just draw it upside down so you can see it from there and I don't have to flip the camera around. I'm going to start with three trees, and then I'm going to just take the side of my pen. Remember, it's not so much what we're drawing, is you're going to be learning how to manipulate the paints. Then we'll put those on the side of a hill. We will put in a lake down here, and another mountain here. Little hopping over here. Add some snow on the top of the mountain. Another little line here. Little texture. We'll leave this as snow. We'll put in some clouds, make sure we hop over. Three is a good number. There we go. Let's add some little bit at girth to the bottom here. You bring this one down a bit further. Keep that one short below branches. Join it up, very simple. I'm going to add the blue down here. Notice the blue soaks right into the paper. I have puddled it up on purpose. One of the problems with watercolor painting is too much paint on the brush. That's where a thirsty brush comes in. Now, a thirsty brush is a brush that doesn't have any paint in it, and it's dry. So here's all my drips and slips. Remember no drips, no slips does not mean that you're not going to drip and slip, it's just that I'm going to show you how you can get rid of that. Notice how I'm tilting the paper slightly, and I'm coming underneath here, and I'm tilting the paper into the thirsty brush. When we're doing this method of painting probably one of the most important things is the cloth, because dry brush will pick up wet paint. Now, you see that, I can't get that unless I tilt it on 45 degree angle this way, and now it's tilting down. I can just put the brush at the edge. The English invented this style of painting. There we go, and I have picked up successfully all the drips. Now, if I lay it down flat, it will level out. It's a little darker here and a little lighter here but that will probably just move over. That was that big Chinese brush that got me in all that trouble because I did not touch the brush to the rag before I started. Let me just do that one more time with the Chinese brush. I'm just going to get a little more of the paint, and you can see it right there. I'm going to rub the paint on the top, touch the paint to the rag. Okay, here we go. I'm holding my paper, the brush is up high, and I'm hopping over that little white spot there. I don't want to touch that. Notice I'm rubbing the brush. This is a flat wash. It's one way to do it with dry paper, and there we go. Now, you see we're getting lots of drips there. I'm going to add them in there. What do we do? Put the brush down, get the dry brush, tilt the paper, dry the brush, get our little vacuum cleaner working. Here comes the graded wash. Graded in watercolor means graded in contrast or darkness. So we're going to be going dark to light. Now, traditionally the sky is dark at the top and light at the bottom. But we can as artists also realize that up in the mountains, you don't see the bottom of the sky so we can go dark to light this way. So I may tilt my paper this way, and here we go. I prime my brush with water, I take a little bit of this blue, and I'm going to work the brush like this so that you can really see it. So there's my brush, I've touched it to my rags so it doesn't drip, and I just give it a little wiggle to get it just going. Then I have my well of paint right next to me. So I'm going to get what's called a puddle going. I'm going to get a puddle. Now, the paint will only follow the wetness of the path I'm making for it. Notice the paint is not going in there. Notice I have continually dripped into my little well of paint. Now, you see that edge there, that's the wrong angle for the brush. The brush now has to be moved over here, and whatever edge you're painting, that's the edge that you point the brush at. So the brush points at the edge of your painting. Notice I've continued this puddle. Now, you have to tilt the paper just right, because you don't want any drips and you don't want any slips. As long as you keep the paint wet, it'll just go where it has to. Now, you see my big puddle there? I'm going to let it drip, because it might happen to you. I can't let that sit too long or the paint will dry and make a mark. So I'm going to tilt the paper even more. I'm going to wait till it drips, I might even encourage it a little bit. Come on. Okay, fine. We'll keep going. Isn't that amazing? It only goes now depending on your paper you see cold press 140 pound, or two pound, or even 300 pound paper will perform like this, because it's so smooth and it doesn't have any big dents and ridges in it. Okay, here we go. Now, here's something, because I want to go graded, I have to add some water to my puddle. That puddle of paint that I had over here, I quickly add some water, or you could have pre-mixed three types of blue like a dark blue, medium blue, light blue. Now, I got to get over my tree. Very easy, I just make a pathway. Now, I want a little white showing there, so I'm just going to leave a little white. I'm going to bring my pathway over the sharpie to see if I can drain it over. There it is. It's draining just like playing in puddles when we were kids. I've got over it. There I am. I got my puddle over here now. Now, I'm going to do something pretty magical. I'm not going to add anymore paint, and I'm just going to add water. Each time I go a little bit further, I'm going to add more water. Touch the rag a little bit, I don't want any drips. You can see by the excitement in my voice that this is a very concentrated technique. There's no time for fooling around. Notice how I've ended almost now. There's my big drip at the end. Very easy, I just run it over the tape, get my rag, and I want to lift a little bit of the paint right here. Just gently, not too much, just a little bit, lift a little just to give a little variation and now let that dry. I'm going to turn it around. How do I check to see if it's dry? Because I want to put one more wash on here. I take the back of my hand and it's still cool. That's probably needs to dry for now. I'm just going to leave it alone. I'm going to try one more graded wash here with blue, but this should be a faster one, and I think you'll see how easy it is and I'm going to start with darker blue. See my little well, now watch, darker blue, get the puddle going, and I'm only now going to be adding water. It's all in the way I tilt. What if this one is faster and a little more rubby? Because I want a little texture from the snow. Now, watch. I'm going to tilt it, and this is called a wet paper graded wash. I'm going to tilt it this way, I'm going to tilt it that way, and now I'm going to turn it right around this way, and I'm going to get it all dripping down to this. Look at it. Now, that's a nice graded wash, but light to medium to dark. Now, if this was a vase of flowers, a person's face, a motorcycle, a classic truck, a building, you would use the same techniques. Now, I'm just going to take all those up with my thirsty brush. You don't want to leave puddles in the beginning as you learn this technique, because puddles leave lines. Pick it up very gently. Here we go. Put my next graded wash, one more. Get my puddle. No paddle, no wash. There we go. I've got my puddle. You must get the puddle. Then I'll add one more. See the puddle? Now I can just add water. I think I'll probably be able to get away with just dipping my brush gently into the water, not swishing it and concentrate. Point the brush at the edge you're painting. Get into the zone. Better start thinking thereon. See that big puddle there. There it goes, I got it. We do have to think when we paint. Now my brush is just basically water. I'm coming to the end of my wash. I see I have a few drips up top here. I'm ending my wash with water, and I have a few drips here. Look, I'm going to bring it right into the cloud with some water. See? Here we go. Repeat after me, there are no mistakes in art. You can't make mistakes in art. I'm going to tilt my paper slightly, and I'm going to get a bead going. As you can see that's fairly dark paint, and just so you can watch it, there's my little puddle. Now I feel to turn the paper slightly because I want to point at the edge, remember? Tilt the paper. That's as far as I'm going to go, and then I'm going to rinse my brush and take some of the lighter paint which I started with. But I'm going to start it down a little further and then bring it up and bring my puddle down that way. Because I want a dramatic darker light, I'm going to wash off my brush again. I'll get one more of the original paint. Now you see I can't reach that until I come at it from over here. Same with this one. Now it's getting a little bit tense in here. Notice I dried my brush off. Now I'm going to get just water on my brush. I'm tilting, making sure that I get all my edges. More water, touch the edge. It's a good beat of water, and I'm going to come down here now. If you let your paint sit too long in one place, you will get a line. The thing is to keep it liquid and keep it moving. Now we're over here, and I'm going to tilt. Now, remember my little white spots on the tree, I want you to look carefully here. Looks like I might have gone a little bit in here, there we go. Little dry brush there. I don't want to touch that white spot there. Notice I haven't added any water, but tilting my paper, got locked in there a little bit. Don't worry about it. Don't even touch it. Now it looks like I hardly did anything here, but actually, there's some paint on my brush and I'm really going to clean it here. If you don't wet the whole area, you'll get a line. I'm going to let that dry. Now I flip my picture over this way. I'm going to start with my dark paint over here. This is the Thalo. Now you'll notice that I've got my bead and I'm not really stroking hard. If you stroke the paper hard and you rub it in any fashion, you will abrase the surface of the paper, and you'll not get a nice clean effect. Now, you'll notice here I'm leaving some of the white showing on my trees. I'm going to be tilting it now, bringing it over here because there could be some snow on the trees. Now I'm really judiciously looking for white spots that I'm going to leave. I better get in the water now. There we go, slowly but surely, moving my way over. Now remember, got some beating up here. Bring it down to the bottom. See? Remember this little area before, we didn't make it completely flat. We wanted some undulations to give it into snow effects. Now rather than worrying about even here, I just want to make sure it's all wet. Then I'm going to get some running going, make some running marks. Bring it down. Here we go. I don't want to run back too much here because this has already started to dry. If I run water back here, I'll get some effects that I might not want. Now if I let it just sit flat, it'll soak in. Now I'm going to stop talking and concentrate. Dark to light. Dark to light. Dark to light. This is light. I'm going to go dark here, and pull it up to light here. I'll have little dark here coming across by the time we get to here and keep this light. But this can go darker. I get my dark blue, get my puddle going. Tilt, get your puddle, take a little of this blue, make sure it will touch the wet. Here we go, going right across. Now it's time to get water quickly. Touch to the rags, you don't get too much. Let it tilt. Bring it over. I'm going to do a very depth wash here. I'm going to add a little more of this paint. See I've got a nice stripe coming down here. I'm going to pull it right through the bottom of this because I want to accept this white area here. I can have a dark light, dark light also. It doesn't have to always go just dark to light. It can go dark to light to dark, especially if you have shadows. Now notice I'm doing the little because the paper's getting wetter here, and I want to make sure I leave a little white showing around the tree and the snow. I'm doing the tap method now. Rather than rubbing the paper, I'm gently tapping. I'm going to finish off, clean my brush, dry it, and just tap out near the end here. Now because the paper is wet here, I can throw a little more in. I'm going to get a little bold. Amateurs are afraid to be bold. Professionals are afraid to be timid. Notice the paper is very wet here, and I'm going to see if just tilting it, if it's going to go past and end up over here. I think it's going. There it is. I'm going to encourage it with one more. Hope it's coming through here too, I like that. I like that random effect there, it's coming along here. This is not too wet yet, just right. I'm going to add a little bit of the light around the bottom, looks like ice cream snow. I'm going to let that drip down. But because the paper is dry here, it's not too dry. There we go. I'm going to take my dry brush, and I'm going to tap it out. Dry it off, tap it out. Dry it off, tap it out. Don't rub the paper, you're gently tapping it. But I am going to introduce one more color and that's a little bit of the red. This is Alizarin crimson. It's the strongest red, and it makes the best pinks. I'm taking a little tiny, look how little I've got here. That's even too dark. I'm going to make it even lighter. I'm going to start up here, and I'm going to leave a little bit of white on this side. I'm going to have the light coming this way. All this part of the cloud, make sure you don't touch this. If you really want to be careful, get your hair out. Notice I put a little bit of pink there, and I clean my brush off. Now we learn a great technique called softening the edge. We just soften the edge, more water. Going around the tree. Notice that the paint only goes where the water is. I've softened the edge now. Now that's too hard and edge right there, so I'm tilting. See? Hard-edge there. Take my dry brush, pick up a bit of the drip. You're always dipping your brush and softening the edge. I get the pure white here. Now remember when we brought this into the cloud, that crimson is now mixing over the Thalo to make a lovely shade of violet. Your best secondary colors are when one of the primary is put down and then you put another primary over it, such as what we'll do in a minute when we put yellow over here. Dry, I can't stress enough to an absolutely vital things you need to remember. One; do not put washes over washes unless the under-wash is dry. The paint needs to dry, then you put another coat on. No, rub; that destroys the top of the paper and makes it dull and muddy. Only gentle strokes. The second thing on dry paper; always let the paper dry between washes. Let's bring out this sky one more time with one more wash. 5. Creativity and Wash Technique: Let's bring out this sky one more time with one more wash and get the beat going again gently, and instead of water, I add that second blue that I'm tilting. Now I'm going to just add water because I want to get a very nice graded wash going right across. There we go. It's happening. More water. Now I'm going to do something. I'm going to take a little bit of the puddle and rub it off, add more water. I'm getting that line there again, see. I make sure I tilt it to get it looking right. I actually have to tilt that right down. Then I've got to boss this around a little before it starts to set. It's all wet, bring it up. See what I'm doing there? Now this works with transparent paint. If you're using grainy paints like ultramarine or any of the earth colors, you are not going to get this effect. You have to wash the paint off every time you do a wash. I'm going to get that blue through there. There we go. The English would either take bread crumbs and rub them all over the painting to take up some of the granulated paint from ultramarine, or burnt sienna, yellow ocher, all the earth paints, they have to be washed off in this technique. But we're lucky today we have all these coal tar paints. They're called coal tar derivatives and synthetics, like thylacine. I'm just going to let that dry now. Sitting straight. I get my hairdryer. Don't go too close. Keep it from a distance. If you go too close, you're going to blow all the wash around, so come from a distance, gently set it right down in. I'm going to take some of this alizarin crimson and really thinly. Now I'm going to add this little wash here very gently, and I'm going to do a little pepper stroke at the end. I'm not going to use anymore water, just a little pepper stroke like that. See? Believe it or not, there still is some red left in the brush and I want to just lose it into here. Now this is all wet, so I could add one more now. See, I've wet the paper. You can see it's glistening. Now I'm going to be watching carefully as I just pepper the stroke in. You see it's a little drier here, the stroke's showing up. So I can gently stroke it, and even over the white here. That'll look like it's in the shadow. What I'm doing is creating a bit of a shadow on the mountain because I've added this violet color to it. Now you'll notice that this is starting to show up more. That's something I don't want to lose. I don't want to touch that. Now I'm going to take it from the other end. If I tilt it this way, it's all going to drip down here, which is one of the things we want. We want it to drip. We don't want puddles of paint sitting on the paper. A water color looks great when it's wet. The test of your technique is when it is dried. Just because it looks all nice and shiny with a puddle of paint, it's not going to look like that when it's dry. I'm going to be taking a little bit of the azo yellow, just a little bit on my brush. I'm going to load it, shape it, touch it to the rag so it doesn't drip. I'm going to do that little tap stroke. If you do it gently, you won't disturb the layer of paint underneath. If you hammer too hard, you're going to disturb the paint underneath and it's going to get mushy looking and dirty. Once again, if this was ultramarine underneath and it wasn't well washed off, this would all be turning into mud. We will be using those colors in the next session. But right now we're just being very careful. Let me take a look at that now. It's affected the difference. Now I think what we'll do next is we're going to put in something called a flat wet wash. What I do is very carefully, I wet my 140lbs paper. It doesn't have to be everywhere, but I can see by holding it on an angle where the paper is wet. That's why today I have my halogen lights on. They're not shining directly. I shine them straight up at the ceiling. I get a lot of light bouncing around in my room because it's winter and it's about four o'clock in the afternoon and there is no light of any worth left, so you may have to work at night. If you're going to work at night, get some halogen lights. Don't work under fluorescents or incandescents. Use halogen, they're the best. That's all wet. I'm going to let it sit for a minute, and what I'm going to do is I'm going to take a drop, alizarin, and I'm going to drop it in. I'm just going to give it a minute more. Just waiting. Think more, paint less. I'm going to do a little dispersion test. I'm just going to touch it. Oh yeah, it's working. That's good enough. Now I take a little more water. Remember, this blobbing or this pooling of water is only good if you know what you're doing. Don't be afraid if it tilted, it's only going to go where the paper's wet. I'm concentrating my attention on this shape and then tilting, and I'm not letting it go everywhere. Remember, I want white on this side showing. I want to get rid of these little lines here, so I have to boss the paint a bit and pick up the drips, turn it around. Always when you get a pool of water, tilt and pick up the drips. Remember your best friend is your egg for the English watercolor no drips style of painting. What I'm going to do is I'm going to just put a flat wash with my fine Robert Simmons number eight brush, a little bit of yellow there. I'm going to now darken this side of the cloud. I'm going to make sure it's dry. Yes, it is. Put a little bit more of the alizarin crimson and I'm going to take a little bit of it. I'm going to do a little wash here gently, but I'm going to do an infused wash. Notice I've done the alizarin crimson, then I pop over here for the very thin phthalo. I'm infusing the two of them together and bringing them up on an angle, cleaning off my brush, soften the edge. Never soften the edge just once. If you can, get two little spots of water coming down there. Of course, as always, tilt and see if there's any drips to pick up. What I'm going to do is put a shadow on each of the trees. Here's where your big brush comes in. Sun's coming on this angle, and this seems to be a rounded shape so I'm just going to wet the bottom of this. Gently, I'm putting a little bit, dampening it. Now I'm going to take my smaller brush and it's going to use the dark blue and I'm going to make a little stroke like this. Hold it up right underneath with that nice brush and just stroke it over on each one. Same angle. Now because that's wet, I can add a little more here. Here's the rule for shadows, or not so much a rule but an observation, bring it right up into the tree. The shadow is always darkest at the source, which is here, and the edges are always sharpest at the source. Darkest and sharpest here. Take my brush, because I wet the paper, I'll come in right here and soften the edge, gently soften the edge just exactly at the tip and then leave that hard edge. I think I'm going to leave it like that for a while, let it dry. I'm going to warm up this with a nice little yellow wash. Gently, just wash it over gently right in here. Don't touch that. I can pick up the drip here. Watch the shadow doesn't drip. Notice I'm leaving the shadow paint on. It's not quite a blob, but because I wet the paper it's sinking into the paper. Now what I've added here is nickel azo yellow, that's this color right here. It almost looks like yellow ocher. But making sure my brush is really clean, and notice I have a good tip on this number eight brush. [inaudible] done with painting. I'm going to take a little bit of this azo yellow. That's way too much, so I'm going to take some off. We're talking just a drop. Look at what all that makes. This is a tremendous yellow stainer. Now notice my brush is fully loaded with it. It still looks rusty. Wait until you see what it looks like when it hits the paper. Now I've touched the brush to my rag and I'm going to, just over there leaving a little bit of white, just going to get a little bit of that yellow on there. There we go. Notice how I've just tapped it in. There's a very fine amount up there, but I'm not going to touch that. I'm going to get a little more yellow here. I'm going to take a little more yellow and I'm going to look around. There's a little spot here, it's all dry and I have a little bit of yellow. Look at the blob. I take a thirsty brush, touch the blob, and what I'm doing here is I'm adding little spots of warmth into my tree. If I redid this picture, I'd probably leave more spots in here where I can put in a little bit of paint. 6. Expanding Creativity With Washes: Dark to light. I get my puddle going on my 140 pound Arches paper. Point my brush. Where's the puddle? Is it too late to get a puddle? No. There's the puddle. You've got to have the puddle, so you might have to tilt your paper a little more. There's the puddle, we're off. Now I'm going to do a little trick here, so be careful, this is a good way to get clouds when you're doing flowers to get a soft transition, and I wet the bottom here, and don't touch that blue, but just come up to it. It's going to create a soft transition. You see that? Soft, that's what I want. Then I continue across. Be conscious of soft and hard lines. I'm coming up to another one here, and I'm just going to sweep in through here with a little bit of wet. I'm going to wet that a little bit, and I'm going to sing about here. You see? It's wet, there. Look how it's going in there. See how nice and soft. Lost my puddle. Back to puddle. Tilt, and I should be able to get a little bit in here, and I did wet here to soften the edge. There we go. I'm leaving this. I like that. Pick up the puddle. I want to leave a little bit of white there. You can always fill it in later. See where it goes to. I think the hop over is right through here. There we go. Now I can work on my puddle. I got my puddle. Leave the white, remember. With just pure water so I can get light to dark. Because this is wet, you see, I can just tap it in there, and it'll disperse on its own. A little technique, you never want a puddle to just sit in one place. What I'm going to do is I'm going to get some lovely nuances here just by tilting. Look at this one go. This is really going nicely. Tilt this one. There she goes, all the way, then tilt it this way, and now they're running together, which is what I want, and I'm getting a varied dark and light all over the mountain. If you were doing a flower, a vase, a human face, a building, same technique. Give it a little bit of white next to the tree. Give it a little swipe there, a little swipe there. The wet paper brings out a different texture in the paper. If you wet your paper and put the paint on, you will get a different look than if you put it on dry paper. Here we go. Here's my dark. Wash at this end. Be careful with these brushes, these synthetic brushes especially, they're a little springier than the Kolensky Sable, so that brush tends to spring up sometimes and flick little dots all over the place. Little dots of paint. There we go. We're going to bring that over here. It's going to be a little bit lighter. There we go. I'm pointing the brush at the edge, I'm painting in the pure water here. Watch that brush doesn't spring up. I'm not even going to add water, I'm just going to put a little bit in here. Notice I tried not to touch the side of the tree, so I can get a little white showing. Let's see if that worked. We'll drop there. That little bit of white showing is good. There we go. Let's take a break. Leave a little bit of white showing here and there. Important to have just little strokes down. We can always darken a watercolor. Even here, leave a few little white spots in your reflection. You can always darken a watercolor, but very hard to lighten it. Notice now my brush is dry. Listen to it, and I just finish off there for now, and I put one more little drop here so it's darker. I let it drip down now. Because it's wet I'm going to let it drip down to about here and then tilt up this way. There we go, and little more in there. Just a couple little. Because this is water here too. Little bit here. See? Dark like this, may be a little darker. There's my blob, I just told you not to do it, but that's not a blob, because I'm going to de-blob it because I don't want it drips and slips, and I'm drawing my brush off, and what I'm doing is I'm taking a damp brush, and I'm softening the edges. Dry it off, wet it with pure water, and soften the edges. Dry it off. I got a white spot there. I'm just going to soften the edge. Soften the edge. There we go. Yeah. I put a little bunch of painting hear, and now I'm going to turn my paper. Light, perfect, dark. I'm doing a flat washer. I'm going to think it's in shadow, so we're going to have a flat wash. Remember how to do the flat wash? Point the brush at the edge of painting, let it run up. Keep adding paint right to the end, don't let up on that paint. Get your puddle moving, there puddles at the end, suck up the extra. Watch this, I can leave a few little spots here and there. I'm going to use the tapping stroke now. It's still a wash but it leaves a little bit of the under painting which is the medium blue, which could represent snow on trees. Notice I'm just stippling now, and because the paper is bone dry it's really sucking the water up nicely and now I'm creating a texture. I've moved to my next level in my creative process, texture. Pointing the brush at the edge and painting, leave a little bit of white showing and I'm going to come out with a little stroke here, and I'm going to bring it up to about here. You soften the edges, you don't want hard edges in water, so we soften the edge with a brush, that's all. I think I'll cover this little white spot up too. Yeah, there we go. We got it, I'm going to tilt it. Bring that little drip over here, you can always channel your drips and pick it up at the areas in blue, there we go. I'm going to do a dry sweep. Just take this brush and sweep it like that. Just take it here and sweep it, just here and there. Sweeping it through to create a little bit of undulation in the ice. I might even take a little tiny bit of blue up in this corner on the dry paper. Notice this is called scumbling. It's when you take that brush and you dry brush it by stumbling the brush. We want to keep it soft, so I take a little water on the brush and go over it to soften it. You'll notice what I've done is I've put that part of the cloud in a shadow, little bright whites there. Put a little bit on that side. Sun is coming from this direction. Put a little bit down near the bottom, little bit down here, just little blue and now I can introduce my alizarin crimson. I'll put it over here and you can see how thin that is. You can really see through that. Add a little bit of alizarin, just a bit. Notice I'm not doing the wash as much as I'm glazing. I end my glaze with a stipple stroke so that it blends into the area I have already put in. I'm going to add a little bit in here now. Now, you see how dark that is? Because the paper underneath it was very light blue. Now I'm just pulling it down. Notice I haven't taken any more on my brush, I just took that one little load. No, I think I'll hit the white here with the alizarin. Now I'm doing my little pokey stroke, to finish it off. I'll leave that white right to the end, its going to take a little more for this, perfect. See that? Just little touching it in. See that strong, take some water, soften the edge with water. Soften the edge, look how little paint makes such a big difference. Add a little bit over here, little touch here. There we go. Now I'll just put another little bit of blue in here, because the reflection should be darker and I'll also keep it soft, brush in the water, soften the edge. I'm thinking I'm going to lighten this up a bit. What I'm going to do is just take my brush like this, I wet it, I touch it and squiggle it a bit like that. Touch it, clean it, dry it, grab it, water, dry, and rub it. There we go. If an area gets too dark, you can lighten it. These two values here and here are too close to each other. Now I'm picking up the color, see? Creating almost a mist-like appearance to it, and put a little blobs on like that. Don't leave them. Take the paint off, soften the edge just by tapping. Tap it off, pad it down. This is the tree now. Hey, look there. That's cool. Sometimes you get little bonuses when you're painting you don't even realize why you're not touching that and then you go. Yeah, that's a tree. That's looking good, that's a good reflection there. I'm going to add little shadow on here, crimson which I have ready, and give it a little bit of a swipe into the wet. That gives it a violet shape and shadows are always soft on the edges, especially the farthest edges so I soften. It's time for yellow. The reason I'm going to use some yellow is because the sun is coming down and hitting so be careful with yellow. It's a very prominent color. You'll notice I've just taken a little bit yellow out of here, and bring my leather vinyl palette, found little spot and thin it, it's quite thin. See how thin it is? Let's check it on a piece paper. That's about right. Even snow can have a little warmth. I'm putting a little touch of yellow in here. Keeping a warm spot, I add a little bit up here too. Very thin veil of yellow, very thin. Pitch on there, not everywhere. Just a little bit. Always leave the white paper for the brightest area. You can't make things bright with yellow, you can only warm them up. 7. Fine Job with Fine Art: Some yellow here. Not everywhere, just leave a few little blue spots, and I'm just dry brushing it over. A little bit stronger there. Now this is further away, so I'm going to even thin my yellow more here. It's going to be almost imperceptible, but it's going over this and it is making a difference as I add it in here. I'll stay away from the shadow, keep the shadows cool. A little bit of yellow on here a little more, a little bit in the water, a little bit on the snow, a little bit there, just popping in a little yellow here and there. Now I'm going to go over this area with yellow. Dry off my brush, do the little tap stroke, pop it in, put a little bit on the trees here, definitely on the trees. Just go up and down joining them up with a little bit of color, bringing them forward. Warm colors make things come forward. Cool colors make things recede. I'm going back to my original blue here, looking at what I have here, darkening up a few things with very thin little washes of color. This is still a little wet, but that's okay. I'm going to sweep in a few shapes with the blue. Notice when you put the blue, here comes a shadow, sweep it in. Try and get the shape of what you're doing. I think we need a little green up here. I can drop in a little bit of yellow there. That's nice. Put in there because it's green here, put a little bit of yellow in there. Staying away from the clouds. Now I'm just adjusting with the yellow on the trees. Back to the blue. I think I'll give this a little shape there. That's nice. Add a little shape there, and a little bit darker here. Remember, we're going to soften the edge. Put this whole thing in shadow here. Put that whole area in shadow. Keep the edge soft, dry off the brush, soften the edge. I'm going to come along here with a good, strong brown I think. First I'll do my yellow, especially right here. Let it dry for a minute. Drop in a little bit of red, these are the little finishing touches. Tilt it. Turn it. Let me just turn it here for you, show you what's going to happen here. It's only going to go where it's wet. Now what I'm hoping will happen is, there it's going, it's going to all blend in and create a little bit of an incident. There it is spilling up there. Put a little bit of blue in there. There we go. Where it's wet. Or I put that shadow. Bringing this mountain into a shadow. Right over there with that light blue gently and softening the edge. You can see just dropping the colors in a little more here, of the shape here, the same shape there. Soften the edge. Sometimes when you're doing a painting like this or any work at home and you feel like you're losing it, trying to get it finished, put it aside, start a new one. Remember, going to soften here. Sometimes I work on five or six pictures at the same time. The tilt, remember tilting, very important. Just water, just coming across. You see that line's a little bit too defined, so we're going to add a little more here, let it run in there, let it catch up to this one. Catch it up. It's catching up, and then pull it back. Catch it up. You be careful. Watch when I pull it back, look how it bleeds in there, we got to be careful. If I let that bleed too much, it will lose its graded wash look. I think we're going to be okay here. I'm going to do something next. That looks much better there. See that nice graded wash, I don't want to lose that. I'm going to leave that light there, I like that. The last thing is this is too incoherent. I'm thinking I'm going to get some purple here, or violet, and put it in like that, put a blob in, clean off the brush, and make my shadow area here a little darker. I like that better. It's going to need a little blue, we're going to be a little bold here. We're actually going to take a swipe. It's wet, it'll be okay if I swipe in there. Yes. Maybe one more right here going up. There we go. I can see the back of this, maybe one more. There we go. Now I can see I want to make this stand out. See, one thing leads to another. To make that cloud stand out, it take a little of the purple. I just want to put one little blob on like that. Clean off my brush. It's wet, now I can spread around. I don't want to touch the green on the tree. That will make that stand out a little, push it through there, soften it here. There we go. Now remember, let things dry. Don't start putting too much paint on if it's wet, each layer must dry to get the right effect. I'm going to put what's called an oblique, something out an angle coming across here, and it's going to be a deeper shadow. You see the white part there. Soften it. A warm violet, little more here pulls this out. Every time you put a little bit of something next to something it affects it. This is now coming out brighter. There we go. One more there for a little darker and a little more here. Is I'm going to create a shimmer around here, and the way to do that is take a little bit of the violet that we were using and I'm going to come down and darken everything here, put it in shadow. Putting things in shadow is very important. See. Now, I'll take my brush and soften the edge, and we'll leave that little white spot showing there, remember. I did a few white spots in here, but I don't want to do them all in. I can always get rid of them later. There's my purple or violet, got a little bit out of hand they're almost. There. I'm going to put a little bit over here too. [inaudible] Because the mountain's here. There, I think that's about right. It's all about adjusting. Cover right over here with this violet color. This is a little too strident. A good way to key down the green is with a little bit of red or violet, and a little bit in the water here, there. Last little spot is to take your utility blade. Now the utility blade is a good way to pick up a few whites, don't want to use a lot of it. But right along here, it would be nice to have a little bit of a white reflection. Notice that if the paper totally dry when you do that, it picks it up a bit. If you've got a little dark area here, you pick that up with a little bit of the utility blade. I usually use a dry brush to get rid of it. Maybe clean up in this area here using one direction. An X-Acto blade works really well too. Up a little strokes in the water. Of course the moment of truth is when you peel the tape off, peel it away, don't pull straight down like this, pull it away from the picture, and as I said, know when to stop. There we go, pull it away from the picture. Make your little tape ball. Take a look at the picture. There we go. Add it to the wall and you've got yourself your no drip, no slip picture.