Make a Splash: Get Wild with Watercolor | Jen Dixon | Skillshare

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Make a Splash: Get Wild with Watercolor

teacher avatar Jen Dixon, Abstract & figurative artist, educator

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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.

      Introduction and Materials


    • 2.

      First Things First: Base Washes


    • 3.

      Basic Techniques and Vocabulary


    • 4.

      Special Effects and Uncommon Tools


    • 5.

      Putting It All Together


    • 6.

      Final Thoughts and Thank You


    • 7.



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About This Class

This is a class for everyone. Let's get messy.

In this class, we’ll go from laying down basic washes, to learning how to use types of backruns to our advantage, glazing, dry brush, and more.

Once we’ve nailed those techniques, we’ll further explore much wilder effects using backruns, special effects, and unusual tools. You’ll build your confidence with creating uninhibited watercolour effects which you can then fearlessly use in your art.

It’s time to stop trying to tame your paint, so let’s make a splash and get wild with watercolours.

Let's get started!

Meet Your Teacher

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Jen Dixon

Abstract & figurative artist, educator

Top Teacher

Whether you want to learn new skills or brush up on rusty ones, I would love to help. I have been a selling artist for around 35 years. In my own practice I use pen & ink, pastels, oils, acrylics, and watercolours regularly. My work hangs in private collections around the world.
I love what I do, and I teach what I love. We can do good things together here, so let's get started...

About me:
I'm an Ameri-Brit (dual citizen), living on the North Cornwall coast of the UK. I've been here nearly two decades, but have lived in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Berkshire (UK). I am studying Spanish daily with an aim for becoming bilingual. Hola, artistas.

My work covers everything from graffiti-influenced illustration & mixed media abstracts, to more traditional painti... See full profile

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1. Introduction and Materials: Hi, I'm Jane Dixon, and welcome to make a splash, get wild with watercolor. This class is for students looking to take their watercolor skills to uncommonly exciting levels, and builds on several of my other classes. If this is your first time learning with me, never fear. You can jump right in anyway. If you're enthusiastic for wild, experimental and exciting techniques, this is the place for you. I want you to get loose, let go of being tidy, controlled and contrived. This is no illustration class, nor is it going to teach you how to paint something very specific. Instead, think total freedom. What you learn here can be applied to anything you paint. We'll warm up with a few washes, build some basic techniques, and then there is an intense half-hour of a dozen special effects. You'll then be able to apply to your work. After that, I'll show you how I combine several effects in a start to finish abstract example. Throughout each video chapter, I'll talk you through my experiences and offer advice. Sound good? Great. Leave your comfort zones at the door, and step inside. Let's talk about the materials you're going to see in this class. Now, by no means does that mean you need to have everything that I've got here. With just a few of the materials, you're still going to have a good time and you're going to be able to participate in the class. But I may be using some things that you've not seen before, or maybe I'll be using some techniques that maybe you want to incorporate later and get the materials in for. But at the very base level, what you're going to need is watercolor paints in a variety of colors, palettes, plates or bowls, a range of large to medium brushes, lots of paper towels, masking tape, watercolor paper. Now, student grade paper is fine. Just think budget, but heavy paper. I use lots of Fabriano practice sheets. It's a nice heavy paper and it's inexpensive. I cut them down to about postcard size for lots of our exercises. Also, the Daler Rowney Jumbo pads. I think it's their Aquafine line. That's great value paper for doing these exercises. You're also going to want a spray bottle capable of spraying a fine mist, a drinking straw, an old toothbrush, bit of salt. I've got a chunk of colorless wax that I just broke off of a candle. You can use a colorless crayon, just the same, scrapers or credit card or a squeegee. You can also use a scrap of cardboard if you have none of those. Other things that are just nice to have. I've got a pipette dropper, that's really convenient for bringing water into my paints. Canned air. Now, this is a compressed spray duster that you can find at office supply stores. They usually sell them to desktop keyboards and computers. I've got a hairdryer, which is always really helpful with watercolor painting no matter what. I've got some watercolor pencils, crayons, markers, sticks, anything water-soluble that maybe you want to add a little bit of flourish to your wild watercolors. Last but not least, and we're not going to use much of this, masking fluid for leaving white spaces on your paper. That's a lot of stuff. Don't forget water, of course, lots of jars of clean water. But as I said, at a very base level, all you really need to get started with this class are some quality watercolor paints, some palettes or plates or bowls, a variety of medium to large brushes, and your paper and masking tape. Anything beyond that is just a bonus. Get some materials together and I'll see you for the first video. 2. First Things First: Base Washes: In this first section, we'll build some basic washes which will then have time to dry while we learn some specific techniques in the next section. For now, I'd like for you to cut down a few larger sheets to approximately postcard size, or maybe even a little bigger than that. We'll be using a bunch of these throughout the class and they're a great size to have on hand for practice and drills, anyway. We're going to be creating a variety of graduated and variegated washes as backgrounds for further layers. A graduated wash is a wash that blends a hue from heavy to light or light to heavy. Think gradient. A variegated wash, blends different hues and can be done in a similar way to the graduated wash, which is often sort of in bands of color or in patches. For both the graduated and the variegated washes, I want you to explore several different kinds of color combinations. So merging friendly colors which are hues that naturally seem to go together. Thinking of earth tones, or seascape type tones, those sort of friendly colors. Also, we're going to merge warm and cool colors together to create a little bit of interests, and we'll be merging completely random colors which will just be wild card colors that you just pick from whatever in your palette. So go ahead and mix up some bulk paint because the last thing you want to do is while you're painting a layer on, all of a sudden realize, oh, I've got wet paint and I don't have a second color and you have to rush and and then the first one starts to dry. So go ahead and mix up some pools of color. You're going to need a lot for this exercise. So have a look at what I've got here and maybe make yourself some pools in a similar way. Now, before we get started, I want to mention stretching watercolor paper. We don't need to do that for this class, but when you decide to use the techniques in this class for more finished works of art, I recommend stretching your paper or working with a watercolor paper block which is glued on four sides. These two methods are meant to prevent buckled paper when it's drying. For our purposes in learning techniques, we can simply tape our paper down to the drawing board or table to keep our paper flat as it dries. Let's begin creating the washes. For this first demonstration, I'm going to just do a graduated wash. So one here, just blending it from top to bottom, from heavy to light. So I'm going to get a nice pool of water at the top. Now you notice how I've got my paper at an angle and I've got this pool of paint on the bottom edge. That is a technique that I go into a little bit in my watercolor boot camp class. You notice I'm just taking clean water from now on. I'm just bringing it down, it's plain water and I've got a graduation of tone from top to bottom. So it goes from the heaviest point down to the lightest point. Now, it's starting to buckle a little bit, and that's okay because if I just set a roll of tape on either side, that's going to dry pretty flat and that'll be okay. So I don't even have to tape it down. I can just put the rolls of tape on it, which is really easy. So that is a graduated wash. I'm just going to get that set aside, and we'll do a variegated wash next. Okay, for the variegated wash, we're going to pick up a variety of colors. I'm going to start. Oddly enough, I'm going to start with brown. Why not? Start with some brown. Again using the same technique. So you notice I'm holding my brush this direction and that's the way I find it comfortable because I know that the water and paint is going to come off the tip of my brush in a downward fashion. I'm just going to pick up another color and you notice I just go from that pool of the existing paint and I draw it down. If I wanted to pump up that orange a little bit, I might take a new load of it and just work it down. How about we go for green? Again, going from the previous, blending it down, and there we have a variegated wash. That's a three color variegated wash. You can see how each color blends into the next color. For the third type of wash that I'd like to see you practicing, we're going to do a variegated wash, but we're going to do it in a much more sort of randomized patchy way, which can be really interesting as a background. I'm just going to pick a few colors, and again, it's about moving paint and keeping a wet edge. So I've got my first purply magenta color and if I want to pick up some blue, I'm going to merge it with the other by moving that wet patch around. Make sure that if you want to add color to an area you don't drift too far from it before going back because otherwise, you'll start to get a hard edge of dried paint. I'm just manipulating that a little bit. I've got some nice wet. That's an accident we'll talk about in a little bit ,next section in fact. Just picking these random colors. I might pour some more yellow in here. Just let those merge and mingle, which are terms we will talk about in the next section also. That is a very randomized variegated wash. So now we're just going to let these dry and we'll come back to them after the next section. 3. Basic Techniques and Vocabulary: In this section we're going to define and create some watercolor technique samples. So go ahead and cut down a few sheets of watercolor paper into more postcard size pieces. We're going to first begin with glazing as it needs to dry between layers. So we'll make two samples. One with a pale straight color as a background wash, such as pink or yellow, light blue, or light green and in the second sample, we'll use a darker, more mid concentration of color, like maybe a purple, or brown, or red. Then we will let them dry, will work on other techniques in between, and pop a couple of colors on this one. This will be my lighter sample. I'm just going to set that aside and let it dry, and then a couple of deeper colors. Just putting a couple of patches in place, they don't have to be perfect. Now I'm just going to set those aside and let them dry and we'll go into the next technique. Let's talk about backgrounds. A background is typically an accidental mingle of colors where the intent was to create more distinct areas. So it occurs when the first color is applied and begins to dry slightly and then a wetter color is added nearby. The fresh Wetter paint is then pulled into the already drawing area, like a lightly damped sponge soaks up a spill. A background is a broad umbrella term that includes mingling, blooms, blossoms, charges, cauliflower, happy accidents, backwash and bleed back. A background, spiders into the first color and depending on how much water load is in the brush, it could mean a literal run of paint down the picture. I use backgrounds of varying water and pigment loads extensively in my work to the point that sometimes the paint runs down the paper. It's a fantastically wild effect to explore. Backgrounds can take something clinical and turn it into a much more emotive, organic subject. Think nature, landscapes, floral bouquets and more. So let's look at some more specific backgrounds. Blooms and charges are about dropping water or paint into a wet wash rather than near it or next to it. On a postcard size piece of watercolor paper. You can tape it down if you like. Create two patches of flat wash, a single hue, and now we're going to let that dry for 30 or 60 seconds, just along enough that it begins to lose that fresh glossy wetness, and then while it's still damp in the first sample, will add a heavy drop of water from a clean brush. We're coming back to it and it's beginning to lose its glossiness. So just going to take a really wet brush and dropped some water in and you can see the effect of how the water, the pure water, is pushing pigment around on the paper that is a bloom. So I've only done part of that sample and I'm going to wait and see how it affects it when it dries just a little bit more. Now, in the second sample, we're going to try a charge which is about taking another color and dropping that in. Look how that spreads. Try different colors, because the different pigments will behave a little bit differently and how they move. You can see where some really exciting effects are beginning to happen. Now I'm going back to the water charging, the water blooms and try it in some of the drier areas. You can go back to the charges and you can drop a little bit more into the original, because you can see how they're beginning to blend a little bit. So if I just charge it with a little bit more paint, it will deepen that effect. So depending on if you wanted something subtle to happen, or if you want something a lot more vibrant, just have a play. Now I'm going to set those aside and let those dry, and now let's talk about mingle, merge and blend, also types of backgrounds. Mingling occurs when two color areas blend into each other on their own without your coaxing. It's a natural occurrence and can be a beautiful way of unifying areas of a painting. It's also often referred to as the, "Happy Accident." Merging is typically a little more intentional introduction of color fields at their seems. So you can see with the yellow and the blue here, I really sort of push those into one another, and you may choose to give a little push or add a little more pigment or water, or even use gravity to encourage a merge. Blending is combining two colors as seamlessly as you can, perhaps to create gradient or a graduation of tones. To maximize a soft blend, you'll need to work really quickly with colors that are the same wetness. So you can see these blended really smoothly, and so there's not a lot of that spidering effect of the pigment on the paper. It's a lot more of a soft look. Dry Brush is a brush with minimal paint load. It's not a back run, but it's also an important technique. So with a minimal paint load dragged over a dry surface, leaving irregular coverage. If I take a fairly dry brush that I've bloated and I take a minimal paint load, so I've just made sure that it's not dripping off of there and just drag it across the surface, that's dry brushing. So the effect is scratchy and patchy and great for creating water surfaces with flecks of white paper or shimmer on the surface. It's also good for adding into grasses and other natural textures. So bricks for gravel. Dry brush is a technique that helps to prevent a paint by numbers coloring book look, by breaking up surfaces with texture. Now back to glazing. If your first pieces from this chapter are dry, you're ready to try glazing. If they aren't dry yet and you'll be able to tell by, they'll be dull in color and if you touch them, they may feel a little bit cool. If they feel a little bit cool, they're probably still ever so slightly damp. So let them dry naturally or you can hit them with a blow dryer. Now, a word of warning when using a blow dryer, watercolor can go dull when using heat. So something that was maybe a really vibrant color, if you use heat with it, it might dull the pigments, so you'll lose some vibrancy. Choose wisely whether or not you want to use a blow dryer, and most of the time it's just best to let things dry naturally. So if they are indeed dry, we're going to go through and do a bit of glazing. Glazing is simply the layering of one translucent paint over another. You are applying wet over dry. So if you can imagine two pieces of stained glass, one blue and one yellow, if you stack them, you get the new color, green. So glazing and watercolor will give you a third result too, and is particularly effective in building tones, depth, and contrast in a painting. Practice a variety of combinations, to get to know the potential outcomes. So here I'm going to layer some of my orange-red over some yellow, and you notice I'm not scrubbing anything, I'm just letting things naturally layer over top of one another. I'm not trying to soften any edges. Try some blue and maybe a bit of green, maze will take it over the pink while I'm here. Glazing is a great technique for using in architectural style drawing. So if you're at sketching buildings and you want to add shadows, maybe under gutters or in window sills, it's a great way of doing it because you still let that original, notice I'm doing a little dry brush on that too. You still let that original color show through, but you can manipulate it a little bit. So that's going over a fairly light base and I'm just going to see what happens, when I glaze over deeper colors and try doing hue on hue, and unusual color combinations can sometimes give you some really pleasing results. Just remember the aim is not to disturb the layer that is underneath, and that's a little bit about glazing. 4. Special Effects and Uncommon Tools: Before we dive into slinging paint, let's talk about inspiration. Creating special effects is huge fun, but to get the best from each technique. Let's think about practical application. It's time to look at nature. A quick wander outside will present you with endless combinations of scraggle, spots, hard and soft lines, contrast and more. Use this as your inspiration and consider how you might accomplish something similar in paint. Don't concern yourself with getting perfect matches for what you see in nature. There be the dragons of disappointment, but rather, play, explore and see what impressions you can make. The techniques will stick in your head and you'll be able to use them when it matters. Before we move further into more techniques, I just want to show you how our earlier pieces have dried. So that was our graduated wash. So going from dark to light. Here is one of our variegated washes, and you notice it's got some background happening in it and there's another one of our variegated washes. This was a three color and I stuck my finger in it, so that's what that spot is. We've got some beautiful blooming and charging going on. I love how bright these colors have turned out in the dark blue. Finally, our glazing. So what didn't look completely convincing when we were creating it, now you look at the way the glazing's dried and especially on the darker one. I just love these almost dual tones that have come out. So our first technique is Lifting. There are several ways to lift or blot watercolor paint. You can use paper towels, a mostly dry brush, sponges, porous paper, I love Amazon's packing paper because it's a really thirsty paper. You can use cotton buds and more. To practice lifting, we're just going to paint a couple of nice wet patches onto one of our small pieces of paper, and using a bit of paper towel, I'm just going to scrunch it up, I'm just going to go in and apply pressure, and you notice I'm doing an almost rocking motion with my hand as I do it, then over here maybe a little bit. It's just about really pushing. While the paint is wet, you can also wipe, and well I don't think it's quite as effective as the blotting, you can imagine that if you needed something really subtle, that that would be a good technique to use, so blotting and wiping are types of lifting. Next technique I'm going to show you is Scraping. Just going to pop some color on. Now for scraping, you can use a squeegee, this is a Princeton catalyst silicon squeegee of sorts. You can use a common spatula, palette knife, even old gift cards or cardboard. So experiment with how to manipulate the paint for different effects. Each one of the tools will leave a slightly different kind of mark. This is just a mount board, which is a little bit absorbent as well, and a palette knife. so scraping. In this piece, which is just an experimental piece because I wanted to see what I could accomplish. I used this particular scraper squeegee thing to make all of these sort of grassy marks. So it was just about manipulating with this tool. So I kind of like the effect. Drips and Spatter. The next time you retire a toothbrush give it a good clean and add it to your art supplies. Take your toothbrush, rub the bristles in some paint, and use your finger to release the spatter. Practice different directions and try to gain control over the types of marks you make. Maybe even adding graduation of intensity from one side of the paper to another. For drips, I'm going to use something we had made before just to apply more to it, so drips just add some to a piece, not worrying too much about consistency, just adding them in nebulous pools. Now you can practice manipulating drips by moving your paper around, maybe tapping for an interesting effect, letting gravity takeover. But another good way to manipulate drips is by using a drinking straw. So you'll blow the paint around. This is a great way to create stems, brush, and other plant life in a painting. Sometimes I like to use canned air to move paint around. This is what that spray duster that I mentioned in the materials list. You just need to be careful not to press so hard that the propellant chemical sprays out onto your art, but it's got a lot of power to it. It can make some really fine spidery bits. The key is short bursts, if you're going to use one of these. Another thing you can do is try charging your drips with additional colors for a really organic look, once it's dry. For Softening, you can use a brush to just very lightly manipulate the edge of where your paint has been. Maybe you want something to fade off into the background. Just take care not to scrub because you don't want to damage the surface of the paper. Another method of softening is to use a spray. This is just water and it's creating really interesting soft effect, and also on your spatter, it will help blend where all the dots connect. You can also blot to soften. And this is just that absorbent paper. All of a sudden those elements which were so sharp are beginning to fade into the background. A little bit of softening. Now, let's add some household materials to our paint for special effects. Salt is a very effective disruptor of water-color paint, but you will find that the results vary depending on the wetness and pigment of your paint. Experiment to get a feel for it. Salt is really good for adding visual texture to a painting. The way we do it, just going to add some colors. Here we go, maybe put a green, and lightly sprinkle some on. Once that dries, you should see some really interesting effects. Now, a quick break just to show you what our earlier examples look like now that they are dry. Here, we've got the blotting and the wiping, both of which would be great as an introductory way to creating clouds. There's our scraping which I think has a fantastic effect. Here's what we did with drips, and gravity, and bumping the paper around. Then we use the straw, and the spray air to blow, and also, we softened it and blot a lot with both the brushes, and using blotting technique also, and I think it's beautiful. In fact, I might hold this one aside, and do some stuff with it just to continue this piece because it's not bad size for a mini painting, so nice experiment. Here's the drops and the spatters so you can see where we ended up going back through, and using the spray mister just to lighten what we had done with the toothbrush so it's just blended it a little bit, and so it's a lovely effect. Here's what our salt looks like. Now, back to the special effects. The next one we're going to look at is bleach. This is just a household bleach that I've got in a little jar to keep with my art supplies. Now, be very careful with bleach because it is a dangerous chemical, and also, I wouldn't use it with any good brushes. I've got just a junky old one, and you'll see me using a stick to drop in some bleach. I'm going to just start with some base color. Nice chunk of blue, and take some purple, and I'm going to change it up, throw some green next to it. Some beautiful dense colors. Now, bleach, as I said, I'm using a junky brush here, so this is not a good brush but you can see what happens with the bleach. It's very similar to the blooms that we got with water. You can actually see it pushing around, which is really fun to watch. It's very similar to what we got with the water, and if we let that dry for just a few seconds, then we can go in, and we can do a little bit more. So the longer you let it dry, the more it'll just push its way through the pigment. Right now, everything is so wet that it just bleeds everywhere. But if you want to be a little bit more specific with your application, then just let it dry so that it's not quite as shiny. Now, that we are getting a little bit of that really super wet sheen drying up. Take some more bleach. You'll just see it's got a little bit more push power through the pigment. Depending on the effect you want, just let it dry just a little bit longer. Here, I'm going to apply it with a stick. I'm just scratch lines through. Just additional effects that you can apply. I'm just going to let that dry. Now, you may be curious about the effect of bleach on dry paint, so I pulled out an experiment on just cartridge paper, and I started applying bleach with the stick just to these areas of already dry paint. The dots, I'm just going to blot that so we can see right through. Look at how we've pulled up lines and dots in the paint using the bleach. That was all done with the stick so I was just drawing on little veins of bleach, and then just using drops. That's what happens when applied to absolutely dry paint. Coming back to the bleach, look at that. How amazing does that look? They're really good colors together too, but the bleach is doing some really cool stuff. I can't wait to see that when it's dry. Moving on from bleach. Next, we're going to experiment with isopropyl alcohol, which is also known as rubbing alcohol. It's the stuff that you usually have in your first aid kit or sometimes you can use it as a cleaning product. I've just got a little jar of it, and we'll do a similar thing that we did with the bleach. We'll apply some color. Love these colors together. We're just going to try a little bit while it's super wet. Look at that. You can see the effect of isopropyl alcohol is far more immediate, and a bit more dramatic than the bleach. I would have expected it to go the other direction but strangely enough, alcohol reacts really interestingly and dramatically. Now, we're going to just let it dry that little bit. This was on a very wet paint, so we're going to let it dry just a little bit so that it loses some of that wet sheen, and then we'll try some more alcohol. We've waited about a minute, and you can see that it's beginning to dull a little bit on the surface so it's still wet, it's still damp, but it's a little bit drier on top. Now, I'm just going to see what it's like to use a toothbrush. It's fantastic. I've got that junky brush that I used with the bleach. Again, don't use your finest brushes if you're going to use these materials, these chemicals. The way I achieved these lines in the example at the top is by using a stick. Some really cool effects. I think alcohol might be one of my favorite special effects creators. Next, we're going to see what happens when we apply a material over top of paint. Here, we've got bubble wrap, and we've got cling film. You'll just need a little chunk of each. There is my cling film which you probably have in your kitchen, and just a little bit of bubble wrap that I saved from a package. We'll just put a blush down on each piece. While it's nice and wet, begin manipulating. We'll pop, the bubble wrap onto one, give it a light press, you'll be able to see right through. You can see the dots already reacting with the paint. For our cling film, let it get a little bit wrinkly and apply that also. You can move things around and there we go. Now, if you use plastic on top of your paint, don't remove it right away, leave it to dry for just a minute or two. Then you can pail it up and you'll have an effect that's already begun to just set into the paper. We'll check those in a few seconds. It's been about a minute or so since we laid the plastic onto our wet paint, just pulling up the bubble wrap. I probably could have left that a little bit longer because my paint was really wet. But that's all right. I'm experimenting. Now I can see some really subtle dots occurring. We'll set that aside, and peeling up the cling film. We'll look at that texture. Really cool effect. You can imagine two if you wanted to do a layer of it and then let that dry and then do another layer over top. The combinations for this thing are endless. Since I mentioned layering them, let's try it. I pop a glazed layer, over one of my examples and again, let's see what happens. Let's peel up our second layer and see what happens. Now both of those, I think, I could have left a little bit longer. But we'll see when they dry, what effect we've got. It's been a few minutes and now you can see the effects of the bubble wrap and the cling film now that they're dried. I really like this example with the cling film and we did a little bit of layering, on those two examples. Really cool effects and I know you'll find a way to use them in your work. While we're looking at some of the dried examples, here is what the bleach and the rubbing alcohol look like, dried, love this effect. There are just two more techniques I want to show you in this section before we move on with the rest of the class and that's wax resist and masking. Both are useful techniques for retaining the original properties of a layer of your work. In the case of wax resist, you can see where I have white bits, that is where the wax has been applied. The wax is still there and no matter how many layers I paint on top of that, that wax is always going to repel additional paint. On this, I've got it in between layers and here, you can just see it up here. The way to use wax resist is probably the easiest, is just to break a chunk off of a candle, or use a candle and just rub it onto your paper. That is how to do wax resist and it can be really useful. You can see in this little example down here, there's just these little speckles. That's mostly wax, but also a bit of dry brush technique. That could be really useful for portraying water. The other technique being masking. Masking fluid is a little bit tricky to work with. Lots of different manufacturers make it basically what it is, is liquid latex. You are not going to want to use a brush with this because it will ruin your brush. Also trying to put down liquid latex with a brush is very difficult because it tends to go on very thin and it dries as it goes and it will begin to peel up as it goes. The idea with masking fluid is you can use something like a ruling pen, because that will hold a bead of latex in it as you apply it. All of this fine drawing was done using this ruling pen. You can use a standard stick or I like to apply it also with these tools called color shapers. There are different manufacturers that make these. These are by rural sovereign, but they are a silicon tip and so there's nothing for the latex to soak into. It is just a method of applying. Just dip into your latex, and draw whatever shapes you need. You won't be able to clean this up with water, so just use one of your old towels and the latex will rub off clean. Now I've applied some in an area here and I can show you that just like the wax resist, the paint will go to the paper. But anywhere that I have applied, the latex is protected. As it dries, it'll go from this milky, opaque consistency to a much more clear looking substance and it'll get really shiny. We'll let that dry and then we'll peel up what we've got here to reveal what's underneath. The area we've painted over, the masking fluid has dried and now I'm just going to show you how easy it is, to peel up. It just turns into this rubbery stuff. Latex similar to balloons. That kind of latex. You can see whatever I painted. The masking fluid has been preserved. Now, I don't really like using masking fluid. I find I don't really need it very often in my work and it's really fiddly to work with. However, it is a very useful tool to have in your toolbox, and you may love it. A lot of modern calligraphers are using masking fluid. It's gaining popularity again, because people are doing watercolor paintings, but they've already done the lettering in masking fluid first and so I can make inspirational quotes or names, whatever, and still have the lettering showing through nice and white so you don't have to use white to paint it on, masking fluid. That brings us to the end of this long section of the class. But you now have so many different special effects that you can use, in your art practice. Practice these with different color combinations, different strengths of paint. Try them together, do layering, just explore. Learn by doing. 5. Putting It All Together: I spend a lot of time experimenting. In fact, the majority of materials I use go towards pushing my creative process and yet nothing is wasted. Think about the cover of National Geographic Magazine. The shot that makes the cover is the product of hundreds of other photos that didn't quite make the cut. I'm going to tell you you're going to make a lot of ugly stuff, but that's necessary ugly stuff. I'm showing you some of my experiments. I keep them because sometimes they become base layers or inspiration for new work. It's all part of the process. Everything we've done has led us here. Let's see how combining techniques takes our art to wild new levels. Grab a full or half sheet of your favorite watercolor paper, and let's go nuts. I'll demonstrate several techniques and special effects in the creation of an abstract work. I would love to see what you create that uses some of what you've learned. It can be abstract, figurative, you chose. But show us your work in the project section. Time to make a splash and get wild with your watercolors. Now it's time to put all those techniques into action. Now, I don't know what I'm going to do, but I'm going to do two at the same time. I like doing multiples at the same time because sometimes I've got an idea for a color or shape and maybe I want to try it out a couple of different times. I'm going to do two at the same time. I'm just misting my watercolors so that they're a little bit primed and ready for me. Here we go, and hey, while I'm at it, I'm just going to mist my paper. We'll start there because I don't have any plans. I've no idea what I'm going to do. I have grabbed one of the biggest brushes I've got. This is just some Payne's gray that I already made up. I'm just going to blob some on to see what happens. Create some texture, maybe on one of them. Sprinkle in some water. Just to see what happens. This is what it's like to really start taking these techniques into the real world. We're not doing samples anymore. This brush is so gorgeous, but it takes so much towel to dry it. Maybe I'll switch to a different one for now. But it is lovely. The brush that I'm working with first is Raphael, soft Aqua, and it's imitation squirrel. It is gorgeous. It's my newest brush. I'm just going to set that aside for now. I've got some colors started. I love Payne's gray. Payne's gray is one of my favorite colors. Payne's gray and indigo I really like. Maybe I'll go pick up some indigo and you can see how they complement one another. I've got some dry brush going on in that one. I'm going to force some emerging and mingling. There we go. They are already beginning to take on different characters, these two pieces, even though they've started off in the same way. Oftentimes, if I want something to look a little bit more organic or really natural, I'll hold my brush at the very end, just remove it that little bit of fine control. We know I like purple. It's funny because purple used to be something I call a wildcard color or a color that I'm not really fond of using. My wildcard colors tend to be pink, purple, and orange. I found that anytime the paintings that I was working on were lacking a little something. Maybe they looked a bit contrived or they just didn't have that spark that they needed. Anytime I added one of those wildcard colors, something exciting would happen. All of a sudden, that little bit of me coming out of my comfort zone would make all the difference. I would really like what I created. You may have a wildcard color that you don't particularly like either. Sometimes I'm not crazy, about baby blue. But these colors, they all have a purpose. They all have context where they work really well. Look at that. This is just another way of dropping a spatter onto your paintings that doesn't involve a toothbrush. It can often be a little bit heavier droplets. If you do it off of a brush. Just tapping some on. I actually really like these just as they are. I don't know if I want to take these much further. I think they're really pretty that's a cool result. Well, I'm not going to stop there though. Because even though I'm satisfied, just don't know until you do a bit more. There's my toothbrush. This is the alcohol. That's something that adds some contrast with the spatter that I've just done with the green. That's practical. Something I haven't talked about while I'm creating these is a little thought about composition and about color. I've got two classes out there already. One of them is called composition rules, and the other one is called quiet or riot. I would recommend definitely that if you struggle to just start with a blank page and just get rolling with something. If you struggle with that, have a look at those two classes. That way you can understand color and composition just that little bit more. You won't feel quite so lost. In the case of both of these. What I've done is I didn't plan anything before going on to camera. But I did know that maybe I wanted to use three colors. I've used three colors. If you think about, I've used green, even though I've used a couple of different greens, I have basically used green and dark blue, gray, and purple. They all have this lovely contrast with the white behind them. Three is a good design rule. For some reason our brains are connected to two gravitating towards things that are in odd numbers. This goes right back to things like Fibonacci sequence's and things like that. Things that I discuss in the composition rules class. Three is already a pleasing number. If I added a fourth color to this, maybe if I made it just a tiny hit, maybe it would still be okay. In fact, maybe I'll try that. But chances are it's not going to be quite as pleasing as having just the trio of colors. Now, if I'm going to do something, I've got very cool colors going on now. If I'm going to make something, just go [inaudible]. I'm going to choose a warm color. I'm going to go in for cadmium. Cadmium red light and not sure what I'm going to do with it. But I may just add a small accent of it here. Just draw something in. Almost like having some rose stuck on it. I'll do the same on this piece, but a different technique. Just rolling it on, letting it blend and mingle. That's pretty good. I like that and I like it because it contrasts. But now I've got four colors and that makes me a little bit nervous because I know that design wise, that's not where my optimum number is, but I'm going to go with it. I suppose I could argue that white is also a color in this. That would make it five. Anyway. I like those just the way they are. I'm going to let them dry and then maybe come back and do a little bit more manipulation with them. Going to take a pause and we'll come back to this in a few minutes. Decide on one of these, I'm going to have been drawing a little bit, but I'm just going to add a tiny texture and some of that Indigo and paints on that one. Maybe just put a few salt crystals on the green, on that one. There might not be much to do up there, but there's a little pool. That may still react with the salt. Still letting them dry a little bit. But the one on the left, I don't think I like the way the blues are happening on that one. This one has that, that nice deep contrast underneath where the plastic is. But, I grabbed one of my watercolor pencils. [inaudible] in color, deep indigo, which I've already been using paints in indigo. I'm just going do a little bit of mixed media manipulation. Add some scribbles. I do a lot of scribbles at my work, scribbles and lines bring shape. Here. This is a water soluble pencil. So it will blend a little bit if I want it to. These are all ready taking on really different personalities. I love that. So they look like they belong together, but they are unique. Come back in, maybe soften some of that pencil that I've added. Here we go I like that better because it's not as distinct as painting over the lines. I might use my spray bottle on this one just to soften it. It might be just a bit too much. So I'm just going to manipulate that a little bit, add a lot more water and give her a bloat lift out some of that color. I like the pencil better now that it's a little softer. So it blends into what I already have there. I like that. Well, that's a little bit wet. It might take a bit more of my purple because I like the contrast on that one. Maybe I'll add just a little bit to this because I'm going wet over dry. This is actually a kind of glazing because you can see the transparent layers there. Working a little bit of purple up here. A bit of dry brush. I think that's too much by just a bit to lift out. I don't mind that it's got a little bit of pattern to it. I'll go with that. It's just added a little bit of intensity and interest into that purple area. We might be getting to a point where I can pull up my plastic on this side and see what happens. Still too wet. I'm so impatient. Look at what's happening up here with the backgrounds in the two greens. Really cool effect. You can see where the alcohol that still disturbs some of the color. Maybe we'll try a little bit more alcohol since it's partially dry. Put that there, that's okay. It took me a very long time to like what I do with abstract. I used to think it wasn't good enough or that I wasn't doing it right. Just go with it. Experiment the best way that you can find your way with abstract is you can look at other people's work and look at it for inspiration or ideas. But try not to emulate them. Just say, "Oh, well I like the way they applied that," or "I like their color combinations" or maybe the format that they use is something that you like. But try to find your own way with it and the way to do that is you saw all of my ugly bits make loads of ugly stuff. You'll find your way through it. So tempted to lift that up and it's not ready. I think that if these are going to go together and maybe this was going to become a dip tick. I like doing dip tick and trip trip ticks. So I'll often frame them together by putting a double aperture mount board around them. So, if they're going to go together, then I do think maybe I need to carry over some of this line on this side. So, I'm just popping the water-soluble pencil into some wet area on this piece and again, I'm holding it way back here so that I reduce the amount of preprogrammed input that I have on the line. We all tend to want to hold brushes and pencils as if we're writing our names. Because that's the way we've been taught to hold these things. It's certainly not the only way. None of these things come with instruction manuals. So hold them however you want. That makes me happier. Look what's happening there. Looking at the way that, that is back running into the cadmium, that's so cool. I can't resist messing with it. That is what I was saying. Try to avoid when you use these sprays because now I've got chemical and it feels really icy cold because that's the propellant. I mean, it disappears, but I don't like the idea of having some weird chemical on my work. But whatever. Now it's just coming out, there we go, I've cleared it. Maybe if I hold it up. I'm not sure I like that. Tried on that one too. At least, now that match. I like it better than I thought I did. Don't think this one's going far enough though, so I might add just a little charge of water. There we go. These things are so fiddly to work with, that's why I don't use them very often, but sometimes, they give me just what I want. It looks a little too thin. I'll just charge that a little bit. I think, I'm dangerously close to taking this too far, which means I'm going to do more stuff to it, of course, because I can't leave wiggling off alone. What to do? This is probably a mistake but you don't know until you do it. I said white was essentially my fifth color, so why not introduce it a little heavier? Nope, I don't like that at all, so I'll take it out. Always be experimenting. Here we go. I've got a little bit of texture there. I think that's going to soften quite a bit as it dries, but it'll have this strange shape, which is interesting. I might like to soften that bit right there. Let it travel a little bit. Maybe, a little bit here. I'm going to add some depth. I'm not sure I like that, so I may have to blot that out. Irregardless, it softens that quite a bit. It was just too much. I'm going to leave those alone and we'll come back and have a final look at them when they're dry. We're back and these pieces are dry and you can see lots of really cool effects that have remained and become a little more exaggerated as the time has passed and things have dried, and I'm not sure I really like them. I like the colors, I like some of the techniques but here's the thing, we don't have to like them in their entirety each, this is where you can do a little bit of creative editing yourself. I like to keep around a couple of old mount frames, so mount boards, map boards, whatever you want to call them so that I can visualize what it might be like to edit these down to something that I like better. Already, I like this better and I like the way they work together. But I can move this around, find the bits that I really like, and we're having that green there. Now, all of a sudden, I have something that is more of a viable work of art, something that maybe, I would like to frame one day. I'm going to hang on to those because now, I can see what they might look like after cropping them down. There's no reason why you can't crop these things down. In fact, you should crop them down. Not every brush stroke is going to be your masterpiece brushstroke, you're going to make mistakes. You're going to go out of bounds. You're going to have drips and drabs and things like that, that you wish weren't there and sure, to a certain extent, if you wanted to scan these into a computer, you could edit that out, but what about the original art? How do you come to terms with that? That's where a lot of this creative editing comes into play. Just to show you another example, here's one that I have shown you as one of my experimental pieces. Now, this on its own, just is a bunch of sloppy work on a piece of paper. If we take a mount to it, all of the sudden, we have something that is a pleasing work of art. We go from that, which not all of it is good, to something where we can find something really pleasing. Here's another really messy piece, but there are things that I really like about it. I think, this piece in particular looks like batik fabric and my mom used to do a lot of quilting and she loved batiks and so this reminds me of the same colors she used to use. I might frame it just because of that. Finally, one more. If you don't have any mount board or spare mounts that, maybe, you've pulled out of prefabricated frames, you can just cut a piece of paper to get an idea of what you might like. Now, this one is a piece that I went a little bit crazy with the metallic, over the top of it, and I'm not sure I really like that part of it, but as a whole, it's not a good piece, but if I just pull out that bit, it's really quite beautiful. Constructive editing of your piece makes all the difference. Even if you create something ugly, I bet you there's something beautiful within it. 6. Final Thoughts and Thank You: Thank you for joining me for mega splash; get wild with watercolor. I know the techniques and the fact you've learned will serve you well in your art. Remember, learn by doing. Always be practicing. Push your limits and steer clear of your comfort zone from time to time. Never forget the value of making ugly things because that's how we improve. Upload your work and progress shots as well as any final artwork to the project area, and I look forward to seeing what you make. Thank you for watching and have a great day. 7. Bloopers!: Make a splash, go out with watercolors, role a, intro scene, number 2. Marker. Throughout each video, I'll talk you through my experiences and offer advice. Some good, great. Leave your comfort zones at the door and step inside. That is the end of take 2. Pro video rolling. Because that is how we improve. Upload your work in progress to the Netinfinity [inaudible] Thank you for joining and have a great day. I'm not finished yet. That's the end of ultra role a take 1. Cut.