Learning Curve #8 – A wash of colour

I’m super big fan of Pinterest, it’s the greatest tool for making visual collections of things that inspire you. If I could, I’d print out everything that I pin on Pinterest and stick it up on the walls of my house as a constant reminder that inspiration comes in a variety of shapes and forms, and that I shouldn’t get stuck into just one medium, style or theme with my art work.

Anyway, if you’re on Pinterest too, here’s my Pinterest profile come and say hi I’d love to follow your boards!

Colour washes

Back to the post; tonight I happened upon this great image above. Artist unknown, sadly.

I wanted to share this image with you because it reminded me of another technique that I learned in my creative process course, that can be used to unify colour. If you haven’t used control colours in your piece, like I touched on in my other post here, a colour wash can help bring your colour palette together afterwards – even when you may think its too late.

I’m not sure how this illustration was originally created, but if it was painted it looks like the artist washed the piece with a golden-bronze. See how the whole image has a hue to it that almost resembles the light at a sunset, golden yellow and hazy. Very reminiscent of India and very in key with the image of tiger.

How to colour wash

1. Chose the paint you want to use for the wash and squeeze a blob onto your mixing palette. You don’t need much. You’re going to increase its transparency and make it spread evenly by adding water

2. Pick up the widest brush you have available and wet the bristles with plenty of clean water

3. Dip the tip of your brush in the paint

*Important* Do not add too much paint to the brush, you can always add more but it’s harder to take it away

4. Apply the diluted paint to your painting. Depending on what kind of look you’re going for you can use constant long sweeps from side to side, or you can use a sort-of scrubbing technique to eliminate any visible brush strokes

*Important* With this technique you have to move quickly and keep applying water consistently. This is because the paint will dry much quicker as it’s diluted

Good to Know

By experimenting with different sized brushes and paint dilutions it’s easy to get some really nice textures using this technique. By varying how much paint you add each time, when using the scrubbing method, you can create really velvety looking textures which are fab for backgrounds!

Minimising visible brush strokes and keeping colour even

Another good-to-know tip that Chili Thom shared with us was to always use the biggest brush that you can, for what you’re painting. That way you really minimise the amount of brush strokes you can see and also the colour is applied much more evenly, really improving the look and craftsmanship of your work.

My 1st use of colour washing

Below is my first ever acrylic painting, it’s till unfinished – I hope to revisit it one day.  I started it on the creative crocess course, with Chili Thom. Here I used a colour was technique to create a velvety texture background, and I also use control colours throughout.

arcrlic painting

Colour washing

Thanks for reading! If you have any good comments, tips or links to resources on colour washing or using colour in artwork, pretty please leave them in the comments box below 😀


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