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    A painted example

Common Wash Problems

  • Three examples of seven problems with easy solutions

You read through all the steps on How to Paint a Controlled Wash, drew several rectangle shapes, and made your puddle of watercolor. You painted your watercolor wash just as instructed in the directions, yet something doesn't look right. " What could have caused those streaks?" and "Why is there a big blob of color near the end?"

It happens to us all, especially in the beginning. The good news is there are solutions to these and other problems that might occur. Below are painted samples showing some of the most common watercolor wash problems, along with solutions on how to fix them.

Common Wash Problems and Solutions

1.   The bead was never established, causing the top to dry out.

Example  1.
painted sample showing various wash problems

1.   Make sure to establish a bead before painting.
2.   Too much pressure was applied to the brush, causing a lighter value and uneven application. 2.   Try not to push down so hard with your brush while you are painting. Use lighter brush strokes.

3.   Too much distance was covered in a single brush stroke throughout this sample, which made the wash dry to quickly.

3.   Shorten the distance and release the color from your brush more often.
4.   Color was not mopped up when finished, causing a ballooning effect. 4.   Remember to mop up any excess color when you are finished.

5.   The bead was not large enough, and more color was added after the top started to dry out, causing a ballooning effect.

Example  2.
another painted sample showing more watercolor wash problems

5.   Make sure the bead is fully established and the area above remains moist.
6.   The bead was used until it ran out, then re-established, causing another ballooning effect. 6.   Load your brush often to maintain a consistent size to the bead.

7.   Wash was going well until the end, but the brush was rinsed out and not properly blotted before mopping up excess bead.

Example  3.
one more painted sample showing another watercolor wash problem
7.   There is no need to rinse out your brush at the end. Just blot your brush well each time you mop up.

NEXT:   How to Charge Colors   

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