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Watercolor Painting, My Way!: Sunsets and Silhouettes L1/4

Author: Rod Webb, Associate Editor

The above photos will be used for this painting. I have posted the full size images in our Image Reference Library under the heading of Birds. You can download them to use with this lesson from there.

I use my deeper palettes for main washes as you need a reasonable quantity mixed up. The paint in my palette has dried up since I last used them, no need to waste! Just add water and it will be quite usable. Add some more fresh colour as you mix. The colours required are Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine and Yellow ochre.


We will not need a starting sketch for this painting. It is mainly an exercise for wet-into-wet backgrounds, which is an ideal technique for sunsets, clouds etc.  We first wet the whole paper with clear water using a mop brush. Have your board tilted at about 15 degrees so that the paint will seep down the paper. Load your mop brush with blue and run a stroke across the top edge of the wet paper. You will see the paint disperse and seep downwards.  Apply another stroke across, overlapping the first one. Now clean your brush and load with crimson, apply a stroke across the paper overlapping the blue so that the two colours merge. For the next stroke, just reload your brush with clear water, this will dilute the paint and give us a graduated finish after a couple more strokes across the paper. 

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