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Not a muddy puddle in sight!

By Justin Cooke, Jan 14 2015 07:18PM

Not a muddy puddle in sight!

We all know what it’s like. You’re in full flow on your painting…full steam ahead…you are making great progress… you look up, and spy your water jar looking decidedly murky – your mixing palette has turned into a muddy puddle…”Aargh! I can’t stop now to change it…”yet five minutes later…”Oh no! It’s gone all muddy…!” The painting has taken a downward turn and at this point, it is sadly sometimes irretrievable.

It may sound like such an obvious and simple thing, and yet it is amazing how many people end up with murky colours from either having a dirty water jar or a muddy puddle of colour on their palette.

There is an easy way to get round this ever happening, and that is to have several water pots so that you don’t have to keep leaving your painting to go and get fresh water.

I always have at least two or three water jars, and sometimes more, depending on the size of the painting, brushes, and how many colours I am using. If I am using a large amount of white on my painting, I keep a separate water jar just for washing out brushes with white. When a jar of water gets over saturated with white, it is likely that using this to mix any translucent colours would turn them opaque. Likewise, if I am using a lot of very dark colours, I also have a separate water pot so as not to taint any pale delicate colours I am mixing.

Having several mixing palettes to hand is also helpful for allowing plenty of room for lots of colour mixing experimentation, keeping the colours separate from each other. If there is even a hint of a ‘muddy puddle’ forming on your palette, it’s time to go, go ,go and hot foot it off to clean up your palette and get a change of water!

After you have swished on beautiful washes of colour across your paper and you stand back to admire your glowing, crisp, clear colours – you’ll be so glad you changed your water…and not a muddy puddle in sight!

by Nikki

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