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Arts and Crafts - Watercolour and Mixed Media Techniques

Watercolour

Unlike any other art and craft painting medium the unpredictability and uncontrollable nature of watercolour make it the most interesting and expressive medium of all. The opportunity to meander anywhere between mastery and complete lack of control during the course of a painting allows it to be one of the most engaging mediums. This, plus the fact that it's quick, neat and portable, may make you enthusiastic and may grow much more later on. Traditionally, watercolour was only ever used thin, using clear washes of pigment. Some beautiful, delicate paintings came from this school of thought. Contemporary watercolour, however, enables much increased freedom of method and material. The American Watercolour Society now allows all water media watercolour, acrylic, casein, gouache, egg tempera but draws the road at collage and pastel.

A watercolour is the medium or the resulting artwork, in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water soluble vehicle. The standard and the most typical support for watercolour paintings is paper; other supports include papyrus, bark papers, plastics, vellum or leather, fabric, wood, and canvas.

Moving within the approved concept of watercolour into the realm of mixed media can get into a huge new array of opportunities. The thrills of blending together watercolour with ink, pastel, collage and other water based media is one of the most addictive forms of expression. The process of increasing, changing, enhancing, ruining and repairing allows a painting to develop a life and energy of its own. You, as being the artist, turn out to be almost a spectator, watching, knowing and cajoling as the painting gradually comes to life.

TECHNIQUES

Flat Wash Technique - The flat wash technique is one of the more basic and common of the various techniques. The flat wash technique is usually used when large areas of the canvas need to be covered. You will want to lay out the watercolour wash evenly and uniformly.

First you will need to dampen the area of your canvas where you will be applying the watercolour wash. Make certain to have an adequate amount of water and pigment available before your start. If you should have to stop for any reason, it will be difficult to match your layers.. It is better to have more than less available. The angle at which you apply the watercolour wash is important.

If the angle is too steep your wash will run down the paper. If the angle is too level, then you won't have enough movement an approximate angle of 30 degrees should be enough to keep a level of control. Use a large brush for this technique and start your first stroke at the top of the paper. Continue applying the watercolour wash going down the paper, but alternate sides as you move down.

Glazing Technique - The glazing technique is when you apply a thin transparent colour over a completed dry layer of colour. This technique creates some very interesting blends of new colour. You will need to use a non-staining, transparent colour for this watercolour technique. You should use a soft brush and don't apply that much pressure.

By applying a different colour glaze over another you can change an existing painting form cold to warm and from winter to summer

Wet In Wet Technique - Wet in wet is simply applying a wet wash over a wet surface. You start by evenly wetting the paper with a brush or spray bottle. Have a sponge handy to absorb any excess water. You want your paper to be evenly saturated. Then apply your watercolour.

Skies (including clouds)

Merging colours to slow the transition of colour shift

Reflections in water

Rolling snow banks

Inside foliage areas

Gradation in values in lakes

Anything containing mist

Dry Brush Technique - With the dry brush technique, your paper is completely dry. You then apply a fairly dry pigment with very little water to the paper.
The dry brush technique should only be used where you want to draw focus or create texture to any painting. It's always a good idea to use various watercolour brush techniques in a single painting. This results in a more interesting painting.

Lifting Off Technique - Artists use this technique when they want to remove watercolour from a certain area of the panting. It is usually done by first wetting the area that needs to be removed with a clean sponge and then absorbing the colour with a tissue. If you find that the colour does not come off right away, then let the water soak in a bit longer and try again. If you still are unable to remove the colour, then dampen a bristle brush and gently scrub the area. You should use extreme care with this watercolour technique, as there is a risk you can damage the paper.

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