Another way we use wet blending a great deal is wetting an area that has edges on only one side and then getting out after the color is blended.

Often when you are doing this you are painting on the area you want to put behind another.

I wondered how to show this and started with a painting a did in a class last summer, painted specifically to help a student understand how to get the impression of the forest, rather than painting every leaf. It is some place in Scotland.

Let’s say we decide the forest in the foreground is too breathy, indistinct… We decide that the area between the bottom and the left support could have some more interest.

We draw in the new shapes and here you can see how I have wet an area back from the pencil line.

You can see he shine.

I start with a little blue green similar to the color there, but then decide it is too same and I want to warm it a little. I add orange and blend that with the green which makes a dull orange.  But notice the back edge.  How do we get rid of that?

You rinse your brush out and go over the colors until the edge disappears.



  • Take the color up to the edge of the shape you DO NOT want to paint.
  • Have enough water and color on your brush that it does not go on as a hard line
  • Rinse your brush, blot  the lightly
  • Pick up the outer edge of the new color and thin it out

You now have a small area of wet on wet. Charge it with a second color, in this case green (see right)

  • When satisfied use a third stroke of clear water, brush blotted, until no sign of the color remains on the outer (right in this case) edge

Here are a few examples:

In this flower painting, study the dissolved edges behind the major flower shapes and within the flower.






The softness is created with this wet blending technique.

The same is true with the wedding gown. With both the folds and the negative painting joining the edge of the figure to the background, I put clean water down first on the edge I wanted to save and the brought the color up to it (with little water on my brush).  If it bleeds too far chances you had too much water. Lift back the color where you don’t want it with a blotted clean brush. Watch that a new edge doesn’t form.

In summary: wet blend to have alive areas in small areas within your painting, where you want one edge to be hard and one soft, or where you want a color to softly outline the neighboring shape.  A very useful technique.