Landscape Studies

How to deal with excessively oily paints for wet-on-wet (and new landscape!)

I finally got around the (before) mysteries of wet-on-wet. I struggled for months trying to have a color layered on top of another without having it contaminated, unsuccessfully. Then, I read several topics on WetCanvas stating the real deal for wet on wet (specifically, Bob Ross’ and Bill Alexander’s styles) is paint oiliness.

Right after reading it, I wanted to experiment myself an see if that was the catch…it was! I laid down a few blobs on a paper towel, let them sit for more than one hour, than painted using them.
How to make oil paint firmer for wet on wetSo, if you still can’t get the hang of it yourself, here is how to make oil paint stiffer for wet on wet! Make sure you don’t leave blobs on the towel too long, or you’ll end up with them being unusable. It all comes down to your brand: Winsor & Newton’s WInton paints are claimed to be firmer, and better suited for this technique (I just ordered some tubes, still waiting for them). On the other hand, Talens Rembrandt and Van Gogh  seem to be excessively oily (My yellow and red here).

For your interest, starting from the bottom left, I have burnt sienna, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, nickel azo yellow, scarlet lake, mars black, yellow ochre, titanium while.
I wanted to test the new consistency out on a full scale painting, and here is what I came up with!

Peaceful Stream

Yes, there are plenty of mistakes 😀 As always! I first started out with swatches made with the Gamut Masking Method, but ran out of them and made a real mess trying to match the right colors again. Those greens on the trees are outside my gamut! And the trees themselves went a bit over where I wanted, covering an excessive part of the river and side hills… but oh, well! That is it!

I will post and update soon on gamut masking and color mixing!

p.s. I added phthalo blue and lemon yellow to my previous palette, and almost didn’t use mars black and ultramarine for this


Yet again, Wet on Wet Oils Landscapes!

Got a bigger canvas, which unfortunately was not stretched decently enough to try out a big painting. I didn’t want to trash it of course, so I took a chance and made a couple of other small wet-on-wet sketches. I had a reference image for the first 2, while other ones are totally from imagination (and I guess it’s noticeable!). Also, the new canvas (first 3 pictures) has a really nasty tooth which I don’t like at all.

Wet On Wet Oils landscape exercise 1Wet On Wet Oils landscape exercise 2

Wet On Wet Oils landscape exercise 3

Wet On Wet Oils landscape exercise 4


Also, Nickel Azo Yellow seems to be mixing a bit better with ultramarine (last one), while lemon yellow appears to be too weak, losing its tinting properties when mixed with white (first and third).




Sketching around my town – day two

No electricity at home and a beautiful day gave me the go for another sketchwalk. I’ve been around a few hours and took quite a number of photosl and, indeed, sketched out a couple of views of this beautiful town! Here they are (click to enlarge):

Townscape Archway Cappuccini Stairs Corner


Various Sketches



Here are some of the locations on Google Maps (not all of them are accessible! 🙁  )

Location 1

Location 2

Location 3

Lastly, when coming back home the weather started getting worse, and I had the chance to take quite an inspiring photograph, from which I made a 10 minutes watercolor sketch (below):

Threatening sky on the mountains

Watercolor landscape sketch - threatening sky


Snow Capped mountains

Continuing on the Watercolor academy of Art Tutor, in the last exercise I created a couple of simple snow scenes. I painted in the sky first, laying down a layer of phthalo blue on wet paper (around the mountain itself), then letting it dry, re-wetting and adding a thin mix of ultramarine and permanent rose to darken the atmosphere a bit.

It’s important to leave the mountain white, and gradually add in snow shades using cobalt + ultramarine + permanent rose. Lost and hard edges are vital to “form” the snow coverage itself. The last step is to use a dry-brush effect with some really thick burnt umber, varied and darkened with ultramarine blue to create a sense of 3d shapes in the rocks. As simple as it is, give it a go 🙂


Watercolor Snow Capped MountainsBy the way, the first one should be the Matterhorn…I guess! 😀



Watercolor Landscape studies

Using one of the references from the previous sketches, I tried with some color, without fussing too much with details.  For the first one: cobalt, alizarin crimson, raw sienna; Second one: ultramarine, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, permanent rose, lemon yellow (just a hint, could as well be excessive). I painted the sky on wet paper, let it try, then used a smaller brush (Princeton Neptune n.10) to add the background hills with a pale mix or cobalt+crimson/ultramarine+burnt sienna. Wet-on-wet coming down the land and creating lines for the fields, progressively making the paint stronger and adding more yellow. I let it dry again and added the final field stripes and bushes.

Watercolor Landscape studies