I have an active group of on-line students in the Getting Started class who are wrestling with wet-on-wet. Sometimes it seems to me the problem isn’t about technique, it is mental.

Gaining “control” by allowing things to happen.

Learning to appreciate what the paint does instead of trying to make an object.

It is all right to go through lots of good watercolor paper and lots of good pigment to learn what happens when the paper is wet or not, what happens when there is more or less water on your brush and what happens when there is more or less paint on your brush along with that amount of water on your brush and that amount of water on the paper.

You and the paper and paint become compatriots in telling your story.

I am going to share some of my students’ paintings in order for you to let go of coloring things and learn how to become a collegue of wet on wet.

boysfishingThe wind is blowing outside. On the East Coast  snow is piling up. What are you painting?

You can paint for fun,  from memory, from your sketches, from a still life.

Or from photos. Do you? How do you ….? Here are some guidelines. Then, let’s go paint!


At this busy time of year, we also take time for reflection. My question for you is for you to reflect on  what kind of artist you are or wish to be.

Most say they want to paint looser. They want to understand color better, become a better colorist. But WHAT is it that you represent when you paint?

I want you to think about whether or not you are a regional artist and by that, what do I mean?

Laura's matrix

This is a photo of the matrix mentioned in October’s Technique Corner. I just posted it with the text. It is one way of learning more about your colors.  This month we will continue to explore matrix glazing to help you visualize layering color with glazes.

IMG_9986Now that your studio or work area is clean, do you need a project to get you going?  How about creating a matrix of your colors?

Not sure what a matrix is?  Here is an afghan created by one of my students as a gift for me (on a bed for sleeping out on the deck under the summer stars).

It is a matrix. Try making one of your paints. Start with a band of each of your colors (20 hole palette) one inch wide across a half sheet – on the long dimension of the half sheet (22 inches). Label each.


Freehand, 10-minute painting of Madrona Point, Orcas No drawing, 1-inch flat brush

What do you mean, you can’t? Sure you can.  It doesn’t have to be perfect. But it is quick, immediate, and the more you do the more confidence you with have.

IMG_9334Every once in a while I find I need to get students to re-focus. What leads you to success in much of your life is often a handicap in becoming an artist. Trying harder, “getting it right” is often the way to not getting it at all.  Take a deep breath or better, three long slow breaths, and let’s set some new priorities.


I was all set to write a Technique Corner Post on “Do You Know Your Basics” when yesterday I discovered I had written exactky that on 2/12. See:http://buchananwatercolors.com/blog.cfm?technique-corner/post/do-you-know-the-basics (You do know how to fine old posts in Index of Titles, don’t you?)

Yesterday I also found myself floating pigment onto an almost finished painting.  Since I have had frequent questions about what I meant when I said to “float” a color onto the painting, I thought I would try to show you in this post. It is much easier to show you in person.