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       "Charging Burnt Sienna into
        French Ultramarine Blue can
        create the illusion of rust."


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    Painted example of reversing the colors

Watercolor Charging Effects

  • Cleaner transition between colors
  • Reversing the colors midway
  • Charging colors in small areas

As you continue to grow and gain more confidence in your charging abilities, you will begin to notice that you can actually take control of some of the charging, especially when painting in small areas. While other times, you will want to just to let the watercolor have free reign and let it surprise you with the final results.

Letting the watercolor pigments have free rein in your painting, is when the true excitement and magic begins. The results are different every time.

For a cleaner transition between colors
painted sample of Permanent Rose charged into New Gamboge with less of an orange color
To get a cleaner transition between the two watercolors and less of an orange color, after you charge the Permanent Rose into the New Gamboge, paint with the orange color for only a short distance, then mop up some of the pink-orange color with your brush.

Rinse out your brush, blot well, then fully load your brush with Permanent Rose. Finish painting the rectangle with the Permanent Rose, and mop up any excess watercolor with your brush.

Reversing the colors
painted sample of Permanent Rose charged into New Gamboge, then New Gamboge charged into Permanent Rose

  With time and practice, you will be able to reverse the watercolors about midway and to create some exciting effects like these with charging. You'll also be able to cover larger areas much quicker, and actually touch the brush to the watercolor paper with a sweeping motion. Practice does pay off in the long run!


Charging watercolors in small areas.
painted sample of charging in a small area
The charging of watercolors can even be done in an area as small as a flower petal.
To charge in a very small area, follow the steps below.

Step 1

small area painted with New Gamboge

Load your brush with New Gamboge, then blot your brush lightly on a tissue held in your other hand. Paint as far as you would like your first watercolor to go, touching your brush lightly to the paper with each stroke. You do not need a watercolor bead. Quickly rinse your brush and blot very well.
Step 2
Permanent Rose charged into New Gamboge
Load your brush with Permanent Rose, and blot your brush lightly on the tissue. With light, overlapping brush strokes, charge the two watercolors together. Do not paint with the orange color. Quickly rinse your brush and blot well.

Load your brush with Permanent Rose again, and blot lightly on your tissue. Charge into the orange color with light, overlapping brush strokes, then finish painting the shape with the Permanent Rose.

NEXT:   Common Charging Problems   

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