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Old 06-14-2015, 05:47 PM
Pappyspop Pappyspop is offline
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Muddy watercolor

I am new to watercolor and used to working with acrylics.
Any tips on not taking layering so far that mud results?
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Old 06-14-2015, 07:08 PM
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virgil carter virgil carter is offline
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Re: Muddy watercolor

Welcome to watercolor and Wetcanvas! "Mud" is a term for which there are many definitions, but in most cases it is describing a unharmonious paint passage, which may be a "muddy" color and perhaps opaque.

If you are glazing with separate applications of paint (after the preceding layer has fully dried), as long as you are using transparent paints there really shouldn't be a problem with "mud". On the other hand, if you glaze with opaque or granulating paints the passage could begin to appear "muddy".

If you are working wet on dry, and/or wet into wet, "mud" typically occurs when there are more than three different paint colors used in the mixture.

Mixing watercolors is simple when only two paints are used, and that should be mixture goal if it's possible to achieve the desired result with only two paints. A third paint may be successfully added to the mixture if it's carefully done in small amounts until the desired result is achieved. Prudent painters strive to avoid a 4-paint mixture.

It's also prudent to mix the darkest value paint last (and in very small amounts) to a mixture since it will be so powerful in the mixture.

A word about watercolor paint mixing: mixing paints together in the palette always seems to homogenize the paints together, resulting in a less lively result than mixing the paints on the paper, either wet on dry or wet on wet.

There are so many approaches in watercolor, which is what helps to make it wild, wacky and fun! Hope this helps.

Sling paint,
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Old 06-14-2015, 07:59 PM
M.L. Schaefer M.L. Schaefer is offline
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Re: Muddy watercolor

Hello, and Welcome.

Glazing may seem to be the most difficult technique learn, but once one "figures" it out, it becomes easy! Use colors that do not easily lift: i.e, Ochres, for instance. Use Transparent Colors. Each layer should be a dilution of that transparent color. Let each layer dry rock hard. Paint another layer of that first color or another transparent color. Let dry. Paint another layer. and etc. until you reach the depth you require. The last color will be the color the eye sees first. That's it in a nut shell, although there are other niceties to layering. Let dry between each layer!

Below is a link to the Watercolor Handbook in the Learning Zone. It explains glazing or layering in more detail:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...errerid=134492

Click on Watercolor Handbook, Scroll down (a lot) and you will come to Painter Techniques Basic & Beyond, scroll down some more until you get to Glazes.

Margarete
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Old 06-14-2015, 08:18 PM
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Re: Muddy watercolor

Hi Pappyspop. Welcome to the Watercolour Forum. You've begun an interesting and challenging journey!
  • Watercolour behaves differently than acrylics. Learn to allow the water to do its job for you, guiding your pigment rather than painting it.
  • Constant brushing over an area has the potential to abrade the paper and muddy the colour.
  • Learn your colour theory. Understand what the pigments on your palette will do for you and how to predict the outcome of your mixes.
  • Make charts. Yes, I know this sounds tedious. It's not. The few minutes it takes to learn how your colours look when wet, when dry and when mixed will save you a lot of time in trying to *fix* an unsuccessful element or painting.
  • Understand your values and how to use neutrals or, frankly, mud to make your local colour look more vibrant. This is an important method of improving not only your colour, but your compositions.
  • Learn how to mix your darks. It's amazing how many emerging Artists are afraid of the dark!
  • Take the time to make a glazing chart. Learn the outcome of how a final colour looks after some number of layers.
  • Have fun.
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Old 06-15-2015, 04:19 AM
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Re: Muddy watercolor

If applying multiple layers start with the staining colours which won't lift.

Doug
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Old 06-15-2015, 06:24 AM
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Re: Muddy watercolor

Welcome to the forum. All good advice. Just keep painting - watch yTube videos - they can help a lot.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:37 PM
Pappyspop Pappyspop is offline
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Re: Muddy watercolor

Many thanks to ALL above, for your instructions, words of wisdom, and expertise.
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:47 PM
briantmeyer briantmeyer is offline
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Re: Muddy watercolor

Add to this already excellent advice, make sure you have good paper.

If you have poor paper, it can be overworked much much faster. This is especially important in the beginning, once you know that you know what you are doing, you can know what the paper is doing and you can compensate for it, at first you are just trying to figure out how to even do basic techniques.

Quote:
Constant brushing over an area has the potential to abrade the paper and muddy the colour.

The sizing on some papers which are midgrade does not last. Sizing keeps the paper on the surface ( which makes it bright ), but also works as a glue keeping the fibers from becoming frayed as you work. The more you work the paper, loosens the fibers and which make the surface less smooth and duller.

There are a lot of reasons for mud, just remember mud isn't bad, some of us actually paint with the mud in our palettes, rather it's just not in the right spot, or a color that clashes with the rest of what you have going on. All the advice given is very good here, but If you need some more help ( not entirely sure what the problem is ), please try describing your actual materials and process, and perhaps post some photos.

Susan Harris Tustain ( suhato on these forums ) has a lot of info on using glazes and transparent colors, and might be someone you can look at. She uses specific materials and techniques, often how you work and what you use go hand in hand. ( see this thread http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show....php?t=1354347 )
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Old 06-15-2015, 05:22 PM
Pappyspop Pappyspop is offline
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Re: Muddy watercolor

I am using Arches 140lb rough or cold press paper. My brushes are: a large mop for washes (Alvaro Castagnet); an old 1/2" bristle for texture, 1" flat, #2 rigger, 3" hake (John Lovett), and several sizes of round sable. My paint is tube Winsor & Newton and Daniel Smith, with a palette limited to max 12 colors, but usually just 8.
My problem seems to be that I keep adding color over color, paint over paint, until I have a mess. Acrylics allow for wet over wet... guess I am rushing the watercolor process and not allowing paper to dry...
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Old 06-15-2015, 06:17 PM
briantmeyer briantmeyer is offline
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Re: Muddy watercolor

Yes, Let them dry, and I mean bone dry so it's no longer cold to the touch before doing the second layer.

Look at staining colors ( that is related to what you have going on, what paints specifically are you using them ). The really staining ones ( my QoR Nickel Yellow PY150 won't come up for example even if I want it to almost immediately, others take a bit to fully stain. What colors are you using.

The link to suhatos work I provided in my previous post really helps to explain this. I use non staining colors as a final layer, so you can use them, it's just that opaque colors and granulating colors aren't as good when used as the bottom layer.

Last edited by briantmeyer : 06-15-2015 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 06-17-2015, 02:42 AM
Neeman Neeman is offline
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Re: Muddy watercolor

Use the best paper

Light before dark
Staining before lifting
Transparent before opaque

Use lots of water, on the paper, on the brush, mixed in washes
Let the layer dry before the next layer


Practice practice practice
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