Exercise 5: Overlaying washes

The first element of this exercise made use of a couple of the dry pages from Exercise 4. My choice was to aim to paint a violet wash onto dry ultramarine, and an ultramarine wash onto dry violet.

Violet on dry ultramarine (left); Ultramarine on dry violet (right)

Violet on dry ultramarine (left); Ultramarine on dry violet (right)

Comparing this with the result of the wet-on-wet ultramarine-violet/violet-ultramine exercise, my feelings are that it is not such a subtle blend as the wet-on-wet colour washes. Although you can see the effect of the colour laid on top here, it is not as easy to control the blend, but it does show a ‘hint’ of the overlay, more so on the lighter wash than on the darker scale. The advantage, though, of overlaying a new colour(s) onto a dry different coloured background would seem to be that you can begin to build more depth into the image without ‘moving’ the original colour around too much.

I then followed this up (Playing with washes 1) with the second element of mixing transparent colour using various pigments such as mid-yellow on ultramarine (kind o’ green!), and then the same on a darker ultramarine background with a violet wash on top (mostly dominant ultramarine with some greenish streaks!).

Playing with washes 1 - mid-yellow wash on dry ultramarine (left); mid-yellow wash on dry ultramarine, with violet on top

Playing with washes 1 – mid-yellow wash on dry ultramarine (left); mid-yellow wash on dry ultramarine, with violet on top

Playing with washes 2 shows a wee bit more robust use of colour, with some depth to the image (although the ‘photo doesn’t do it justice). There’s not much sign of the mid-yellow which has been ‘sucked’ into the ultramarine/vermillion mix.

Playing with washes 2 - vermillion & yellow on dry ultramarine

Playing with washes 2 – vermillion & yellow on dry ultramarine

I then had a go at a slightly more ambitious attempt – a ‘tetrad’ of washes, using two sets of complementary colours – blue and orange / red and green. My mind went back to my Clydeside days as a younger man, recalling some of the riverside icons that I was familiar with being born and brought up in Glasgow. This image is purely an imaginary recollection and shows no real resemblance to the actual crane – but why should it?

Blue-orange-red-green tetrad washes - Finnieston Crane, River Clyde

Blue-orange-red-green tetrad washes – Finnieston Crane, River Clyde

As a reference point, there is also an image of the real Finnieston Crane (below) on the river Clyde.

Finnieston Crane, River Clyde (Reference) -http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/514014 -© Copyright Thomas Nugent and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

Finnieston Crane, River Clyde (Reference) -http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/514014 -© Copyright Thomas Nugent and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

My final attempt shows a wee bit more subtle approach to blending colours. Harking back to my exercise 1-3 landscape images, I chose to try out a basic landscape image on a dry ultramarine graded wash background, using a violet wash on the lower section and then building green hillscape and yellow-green/red mix to brown as foreground interest.

A subtler wash?

A subtler wash?

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3 comments on “Exercise 5: Overlaying washes

  1. Pingback: Practice of Painting | Stuart Brownlee

  2. Pingback: Transparent & Opaque | Stuart Brownlee

  3. Pingback: Woad, Ultramarine, Cobalt and Lapis, but no Ochre - Right Eyes

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