Monday, January 23, 2012

Playing with background washes

In the left drawing I painted the watercolor wash over the whole surface and then painted the figure on top using some white gouache along with watercolor, In the right drawing I masked the figure and painted the wash over the mask, then removed the mask and painted in the figure. I've certainly used the latter technique more often, but masking fluid can be tricky to use when you want fine detail so I can see where I might want to use the other method once in a while. Certainly either is easier than painstakingly painting the background wash around the figure and allows for a much freer application of wash.


  1. What a timely post! I was just wondering whether to use masking fluid for some snowdrops I want to paint against a sky blue background. I hadn't thought of using gouache for this - though I have done it that way in the past. So thank you for the reminder :)

  2. The bright colours of the masked image are wonderful together.
    You could also make lots of background washes, scan them, and digitally drop them behind a figure painted on a white background.
    So many ways to paint... we are lucky.

    1. I hadn't thought of scanning a background and dropping it in. Thanks for the idea!

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