Debunking the Myth that Watercolor is Unpredictable

There's a common belief that watercolor is difficult and unpredictable.  Admittedly, it’s fluid and errors are difficult to correct because it’s transparent.  However, I disagree with the idea that it’s unpredictable.  Let me explain why…it’s all about the water.

1.       Paint Follows the Water

This sounds like such a silly thing, but it took me a while to pay attention to the fact that the paint will follow the water.  If you put water on the paper and you’re not careful with where you put the water, you may not like where the paint goes.  If you’re careful when applying the water, especially with edges, the paint will go exactly where you want it to go.

2.       Water Follows the Path of Least Resistance

Water loaded on a brush will flood damp paper.  On the flip side, if there is too much water on the paper, a dry brush will soak up the excess water.

One common problem with watercolor is unintentionally creating “blooms,” which are funky splotches of color that look like a tie-dye shape with weird blurry edges.  They're commonly created by putting more water on a spot that isn’t dry.  Resist the urge to keep working and wait until it’s dry to add or lift paint.

By controlling the amount of water on the paper and on your brush, you can predict what the water and paint will do and take the unpredictability out of the painting equation.

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