Monday, November 22, 2010

Watercolor Tip #9

The Importance of your Under Wash

If the under wash, which is usually the first wash you put on your painting surface, is not correct tonally, your landscape painting will not work as well as it should.

I usually paint my sky and ground in my first wash. At this point my painting should already look like a landscape and it will be relatively easy to put all of the remaining objects in my painting and have them feel like they belong there.

When you paint the land component of your under wash it should be lighter in tone, have softer edges and be cooler (color’s lean towards blue) in the distance and stronger in tone, sharper and warmer (colors lean towards red and yellow) in the foreground. This is what is called atmospheric perspective and is caused by the air (water vapour, pollution, dust, other molecules, etc) that you look through to see distant objects.

Once the under wash is totally bone dry then you can go back and place the objects within it eg, hills, trees, buildings, animals etc.  Obviously the same rules of atmospheric perspective apply to these objects placed on your landscape.  However, as they will primarily be vertical shapes (hills, trees, buildings, people, they will usually be of a stronger tone than the horizontal ground on which they are placed.
Happy Painting

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