Flat Watercolour Wash

How to Use a Flat Watercolour Wash!

When using watercolour paint, it is quite common to use a watercolour wash as this can not only fill in a background adequately before you start to paint the rest of the subject but it can equally be useful for creating a sense of atmosphere within your painting. Watercolour paint can create three different types of washes and these are the graded wash, the flat wash and the variegated wash. It is very important when using watercolour paint that the artist becomes used to using washes on a regular basis. This article looks at the flat wash as it will be an important part of any painting you undertake.

Many artists are comfortable with their regular brand of paper which is suitable for watercolour paint, it is important however that any paper used has been pre-stretched such as in a watercolour block or that the artist stretches the paper prior to use.

Flat wash:

- Choose the colour you wish to use as a background and mix an ample amount of paint with water so that the right colour is achieved.
- Once this has been done, dampen the paper and then with a large brush and your chosen colour, cover the pre-dampened paper from left to right. It is important that you do not spend too long on each stroke and try to let your arm flow freely.
- The wash should be a fairly uniform colour so try to avoid getting an obvious line because the flat wash requires the watercolour paint to blend whilst still very watery.
- Once you have covered the whole area, you should have a uniform cover across the page. It is important that you let the paper dry.

Because washes are an important part of any painting process, it is necessary for the artist to experiment with using watercolour paint and mixing washes regularly. There will always be some disasters which occur but these then become an important learning curve and help the artist to progress.

The most important aspect of any practice session is that the artist becomes intuitive to the painting project, confident in the use of mixing paints and washes and also becomes adept at using watercolour paint in a variety of different styles.

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