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Using line and wash technique

The legend is watercolour put on paper and is there for good and can't be altered, which is why so many would-be watercolour painters don't try it. The truth is of course very different. Whole area or sometimes the whole painting can be washed off and repainted. It is called the sink 'treatment' and was first regarded with amazement and delight.

A painting done using the wash technique.

If you think watercolour is like walking on a tight-rope, this is a safety net. You will often fall into trouble with foregrounds. The top half of the painting may be fine but something awful comes over people when they put in foregrounds. It so often turns out to be a tired, over-worked, muddy mess.

First let the whole painting dry completely, this is important, then put the paper in the sink and turn the tap on gently until the whole thing is immersed and the water flows over it. Surprisingly nothing happens to the colour until it is touched and then it flows away. If the whole painting has been overworked and is muddy you can remove it just leaving a faint image of the original.

Next lift the paper out of the water and put it on a drawing board to dry. After it is dry you can paint over it. Some colours leave a stain on the paper that no amount of washing can remove. Various watercolour papers respond differently to the treatment. The unwanted colour could be removed with a small hog's hair oil painting brush gently without damaging the paper.

A beginner needs to know the first technique in watercolour; the wash technique. The principle of watercolour painting is simple, all one needs is to wet the brush with colour and water and spread it over the paper. A small amount of paint is placed on the watercolour palette. Once the colour is on the palette, water is added with the brush. The more water you add the more transparent the tone then appears. Then a little water is added with the brush to lighten the colour.

Apply the colour with a moist brush. Next brush is washed in water and rinsed and the colour is spread. A tone is made more transparent by adding water to it. Before painting with all colours, I recommend you to practice the basic of the wash technique with a single colour or two.

Notice the figure drawn the "umbrella mender" with pen and ink outline. A light wash of burn sienna is applied with dark shades to obtain a gradation of the tone from dark to light. As the gradation becomes lighter, the tones becomes so light that it can barely be distinguished from the white paper.

The impact of the lines and strokes on the painting which are compatible with the mood you want to capture is expressed very clearly. A pale yellow is applied for the background and a publish blue to the vendor and the umbrella. A wash allows the artist to paint different tones of the same colour according to the amount of water is added to the paint on the palette.

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