[Scriptoris] Painting Techniques

Hillary Greenslade hillaryrg at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 5 17:56:17 PDT 2006

Presentation this time is 'Layering on Pigment in a Wash', or 'Graduated Wash'.  

For scroll painting, we often use a gouache at a mixed paint level the consistancy of cream, so
the coverage is all over, solid, with no paper showing though.  This 'Layering Wash' technique
will use a more watered mix of the gouache, so some of the white of the paper will show through,
more a watercolor process.  

Identify a section space of the scroll for this technique.  

1. Take some of the paint, add water, so the color is a light watery 'wash' of pigment color, not
thick but still transparent when on paper.   Paint the wash of pigment over the whole space.  

2. Take a bit more of the same color watery pigment in your brush, this time paint only 2/3rds of
the space, leaving the first third with the first layering of pigment alone.  This second layering
will leave behind a bit more pigment color to make the space more opaque and less transparent.  

3. Last, take a bit more watery pigment in your brush, and paint only the last 1/3rd of the space,
leaving the first two 'washes' untouched.  The third layering will leave even more pigment,
darkening the last 1/3rd of the space.   

The result is a graduated highlighting of the paper, where the pigment is thinner in the first
1/3rd, so more paper is showing through the transparent wash, and the pigment is thicker at the
last 1/3rd, where more pigment has been left on the page, giving a more opaque appearance with
less or no paper showing through.  

You have to be careful with how much water to lay on the paper, or it may buckle.  Also,
experiment with adding the next layer of pigment wash to the space when it's dry or still wet to
see which works best for you.  

This technique maybe an alternate to using shade (pigment + black) or tint(pigment + white), to
layer lighter or darker pigment mixes on a scroll space.  Play with the technique and let us know
how it works for you. 

Sources: - Knowne World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium 2005 in Outlands, class on color
- The Encyclopedia of Watercolor Techniques by Hazel Harrison. ISBN0-89471-893-2  pg:60  

Cheers, Hillary

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