Each week I try to find a particular concept to cover during my painting class that I teach. For this particular week I wanted to explore watercolor glazing. There are two different ways to apply watercolor paint. One way is to apply clean water from a brush onto the paper and then drop pigment into the water. The colors bleed and mix together creating unpredictable color patterns and combinations. This technique is called the wet-on-wet technique (wet paper and wet paint).
The other technique popular with watercolor painting is called glazing. Glazing is a fairly dry painting technique. It is a method of applying a coat of watercolor paint on top of an already dry layer of watercolor paint. Because the paper isn’t wet, the paint only goes exactly where you paint it. The beauty of this is that you can color mix the bottom and top layer. So if there was already yellow paint on the dry paper, a quick brush of red paint over it would create orange when the paper dried and a brush of blue would create a shade of green. You can transform an existing image quite quickly and easily.
The artist has to decide when to use each technique. The rooster photograph I provided to my students offers the perfect opportunity to use both techniques.
First,each student fills the entire rooster image with clean water and drops in watercolor in different places. Where the pigments meet, you get beautiful what I call “happy accidents”. It is unpredictable but it’s what makes watercolor so pretty. That’s the wet-on-wet technique.
Next, the students are going to add the detail. Think of all of the feathers and the head. The details are applied sparingly and with very little water. This is when you use the glazing technique.
Below is the Rhode Island Red rooster photo I provided and two paint demos I did during the class. See if you can pick out the two different painting application techniques.
The rooster image truly allows for so many variations of glazing. In total, I painted the chicken 3 times and each painting is completely different!
Here are some of the paintings from my students. You’d think we had 15 different chickens running around in the class!
By far, my favorite thing about art making
is that no matter what, each artist provides their own unique expression.