Tips for Loosening Up, Plus a Bonus Giveaway
Hello, dear readers! Today I have a mishmash of a post to share with you, so I hope you’ll bear with me. (Ha.)
I have been on a bit of a quest lately to loosen up my technique. If you also struggle with this, know that you are not alone. It takes an enormous amount of practice to get the “quick and effortless” look instead of the “catastrophic disaster” look, so we watercolorists often get very tight and controlled in order to compensate. Of course, there are many different ways to work with watercolor and some artists do the “controlled” thing extremely well, but if you’re looking to loosen up, here are a few techniques I’ve stolen from other artists over the years that I’ve found helpful:
- Using brushes that are much larger than I find comfortable
- Minimizing the number of washes. The entire background of this image was one big, wet wash, not twenty-seven separate washes detailing every single leaf and bush
- Using a lot more water and paint than seems reasonable; enough that I often end up having rivulets of liquid draining off the paper
- Getting to know the paint. Many colors lighten in value or lose saturation when they dry, so it needs to be even darker than you think when you paint it on
- Waiting for a wet-on-wet wash to completely dry before moving on to add details
- Varying textures. I used some dry brush technique in the trees to simulate pine needles
- Painting lots of really bad paintings that will never, ever see the light of day. I plan to burn these so that no one can accidentally find them when I die
- Working as fast as I possibly can
- Occasionally closing my eyes. (Just kidding! Or not…?)
I hope those help someone out there just as they helped me!
In other news, copies of The Story I’ll Tell are here, so I can also do that second giveaway that I promised you several weeks ago.
Leave a comment below if you’d like a chance to win a signed book! I’ll announce the winner next Wednesday.
UPDATE: I’ve realized that it can be hard to think of something to write as a comment. So feel free to share any good painting tips you have, or books you’ve read lately, or whatever 🙂