1. Wet the Paper
Most of the time Rita paints with the paper taped down to a surface so it will remain in place and not start curling up as different parts of the page experience different amounts of water saturation. There is another way to secure the paper to the table or to a board. By wetting down the front and the back of the page, the page will stick to the table on its own and remain flat while being painted. Here is an example of this method. Generously apply plain water to the back and then to the front of the page with a large brush. Rita is using a hake brush in this picture but any larger brush can be used. Allow the water to sink in for 10 minutes or so.
2. Painting the Background
Since Rita wanted to paint a landscape, she painted a horizontal horizon line and then proceeded to paint the land in green and the sky in blue. She used a larger bush for this as this seems to work best for this type of expansive background on a very wet surface. Since the surface is so wet, the paint easily travels in the water. So, after painting in the desired colors, she went back into each area and streaked in some different shades–a darker blue, a yellowish green. These other shades blend themselves into the background creating some interesting color variations.
3. Painting the Subject
The background was then allowed to dry until it was barely damp. She then painted in the branches and foliage of this colorful forest. Since the background was almost dry, these features remained distinct on the page, with defined edges.
4. Painting Subject While Background is Still Wet
To create a blurry, fuzzy effect rather than a defined effect, the background could be damper when the foreground subjects are painted. In the “Flowers” painting, the background was still wettish and you can see how that creates a different look.
You can experiment with different degrees of damp/wet background to see what effects occur. Have fun!