Watercolor Painting Techniques – My method: Dabbing

“Voyage de Vie”
watercolor painting
© Susan Harrison-Tustain

Techniques and methods generally mean the same thing. You can read about my watercolor techniques in my previous posts but I would also like to discuss how to use our brushes to give us different techniques.

Most artists stroke with their brushes. I most often paint into a clear water wash so I have found an incredible way of painting that is much better than stroking: Dabbing! I dab – I don’t stroke! Yes it was a breakthrough for me too.

Try a little demo: In a clear water wash I would like you to take a fully laden brush (with water and paint). Now stroke your brush into the water. See how the majority of pigment is released at the end of the stroke. You have less pigment at the beginning of the stroke so your stroke gives you and uneven line.

Now I would like you to once again work into a clear water wash. Take your fully laden brush again and dab dab dab. Break the surface of the water wash each time. You do that by lifting your brush up and off the paper and out of the clear water wash. See how you can deposit so much more pigment with each dab. See how you can create a much richer and much more even wash by dabbing?

Isn’t it magic!

Look at the painting at the top of this post that will show you the depths of hue you can get with this method:

The watercolor painting techniques I used for this painting are obvious because you can see the gentle transitions of hue. I have used a great deal of water to give the impression of serenity and peace and I have used light tones to give the feeling of innocence and gentleness. Watercolor painting methods and techniques can be adapted to paint any subject at all. Study my watercolor paintings in my gallery on my website and in the galleries on my DVDs. You will be amazed at the variety of subject matter you can portray with just five methods!

Have fun!


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