All About Watercolor Washes #2 The Graded Wash

 The next wash every watercolorist needs to master is the graded wash. It begins with a stroke of color at the top of the paper. Unlike the flat wash where you continue each additional stroke with a loaded brush of paint of the original color, the next stroke of the brush, in a graded wash, has a diluted version of the color or a lighter value of the color. Water is added to the original paint mixture which creates a lighter value of color. A stroke of clear water  brings the white of the paper back creating a change in value from the first stroke to the last.


You can change this by making the middle stroke the lightest value.


 You can make the top or bottom of your painting the value you want by doing a graded wash.


Here is a simple example of how a graded wash can be useful.


Practice this wash and then add a simple treeline of whatever you feel would work on top of this wash. These little practice painting can be used as hand painted cards, no one needs to know that theses were done to help you become proficient with watercolor. People will cherish a unique card made by you.

Have fun, paint lots of these and work your way up in size. I started small, about 4×6 to learn control & mixing values. I painted both sides of the paper once one side was dry. Do not use a poor quality paper or paint thinking that these are just practice pieces. You want to get good results so use good quality supplies. I don’t want you to think you are failing because your supplies failed to allow you to be successful. I glued many onto blank 5×7 cards. 

Now I love the challenge of doing a wash on a full sheet of watercolor paper.

Paint with Me


~ by Lorraine Rimmelin on August 22, 2016.

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