Three Layer Basics

The Three Commandments of Watercolor are “Thou Shalt Paint…

     …Light before Dark” — Sky, then water, then land, then trees, then shadows

      …Big before small” — Hillside, then cloud shadow, then tree, then fence, then bird

      …Wet before dry” –– foreground gradation wet-in-wet, then thicker darks wet in wet, then damp splatters, then wet on dry fence posts & rocks, then dry brush texture.

Layer 1

In the first layer, paint all the large, light areas as a big wet-in-wet wash, changing colors gradually as you go, painting around any areas that should remain white paper.

Layer 2

In the second layer, paint the darker, smaller areas, painting through boundaries and staying as wet-in-wet as possible.

Layer 3

In the third layer, paint the smallest, darkest details on dry paper. By working in layers like this, you achieve better color harmony, edge control, and richer, darker darks than is possible using the “coloring book” one shape at a time method.