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Digital Subscriptions > Leisure Painter > Aug-17 > Take three washes

Take three washes

Part 1 David Webb begins a short watercolour problem-solving series with a look at the value of tonal variation in your paintings



Achieve clear tonal work

Understand the difference between colour and tone

Practise watercolour techniques

Watercolour is a versatile medium, which can be used in a variety of ways to achieve a pleasing result. My own preference is to work in the tradition of pure watercolour, which means that I rely solely on the whiteness of the paper surface to provide highlights and lighter tones. This also means that I don’t use opaque colours or white. Instead, I depend on a series of transparent washes to create a range of tones. Any bright highlights, such as you might find on reflective surfaces like glass, are either painted around or lifted out with a damp brush.

Light to dark

I work from light to dark, in other words I begin with the lightest washes and add further, steadily darker washes until the darkest darks have been achieved. Although there are no strict rules on the number of washes, the more washes you apply, the greater is the risk of disrupting the under washes, which can lead to streaks and drying marks. The fewer the number of washes you apply, therefore, the cleaner and fresher your result.

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About Leisure Painter

Welcome to a summer of drawing and painting with Leisure Painter. This month we tackle summer landscapes, gardens and flowers, buildings, harbours and boats, animals, local scenes, a moonlit seascape, horses and a flamenco dancer in a variety of your favourite media. If you're ready to try something different, experiment with oil pastel resists with acrylic inks and watercolour, look at coloured grounds for mixed-media work and embrace digital with an app that will help you draw and paint better pictures! From loose and lively to detail, monotone to colour work, and projects from photographs to how to paint from life - enjoy another month of practical tutorials, demonstrations and inspiration.