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Watercolor Technique Demo - Variegated Wash

One of the basic techniques in watercolor is wash. It is as simple as it sounds, it is a method of applying paint with adequate water onto a paper.

There are four types of washes: flat wash, graded wash, variegated wash, and overlaid wash. For a flat wash, we apply the same color to cover the whole area. A graded wash is one that becomes lighter as it progresses down the paper, and a variegated wash is one uses more than one color. An overlaid wash is a wash applied on top of another layer which has been dried. This technique is also called “wet-on-dry” or “glazing”.

To prepare for this exercise, I first draw 4 boxes on the paper. You can either use a flat brush or a round brush to do a wash. I tilt the board at a slight angle and brush a same color paint evenly from one side to the other. Each new band of color should just touch the one above.

A graded wash is done in a similar process, but before adding each new band of paint, you would dilute the paint by the same amount of water each time. This will create a transition from darker to lighter.

You can use water to wet the paper first before performing a wash, but the result will be a bit different. let's take a look... A variegated wash is using more then one color in the wet-into-wet process. Here is a sample of a variegated wash. Variegated wash is a very common method especially as a primary wash in the early stage of a painting.

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