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More Info on Wash Techniques

by Marlise
(South Africa)

Please tell me more about the wash technique. I love the paintings of Robert Tilling, but nowhere on the internet is any information of how he does this.

I am sure you know what he really does because you are experienced. What paper is he using? Is the paper wet or dry? How did he do that white line above the horizon sometimes? How does he tilt the board? Sideways? I have tried this but its all just a disaster! And important: what is the colour combination that works well in washes like this?

I am in South Africa and have nobody in my town to teach me, so I rely on my watercolor books and the internet. Your website is most useful!



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Oct 05, 2015
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by: Shannon

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Oct 17, 2008
spraying with a watercolor varnish
by: Marlise,


I do not recommend spraying a varnish on a watercolor that has been done on paper. It will make the paper buckle and it will not lay flat in the mat. Doesn't glass give it a shine anyway?

However, if you are working on Watercolor Canvas, Claybord, or R-tistx Board, you can spray it with an acrylic or chemical based watercolor varnish with no problem. I do not place those paintings under glass, but you can if you wish.

These varnishes come in flat, semi-gloss (satin), or gloss, so the choice is yours. You can also add a gel medium to the surface that also comes in those finishes.

Oct 17, 2008
Thanx and another question
by: marlise

thanx for your commentary MaryAnn. I have read somewhere in a book that he does tilt his board for the pigment to flow in a direction. His work is simple but beautiful indeed.

Question: can I spray my watercolor painting with aerosol varnish for acrylics? And then put a glass over it? sometimes I just wish to have a gloss over the painting. greetings, Marlise

Oct 14, 2008
by: Mary Ann


From the paintings on the web by Robert Tilling, I cannot tell what surface he is using to paint on. It appears that his board is flat when he paints, because I see no flow of paint in any particular direction. It also seems that he uses a very large brush and makes simple swipes of color across the page.

As for his colors, I can only guess. I think I see Raw Sienna OR Yellow Ochre, Cobalt Turquoise, perhaps Turquoise light, possibly Cerulean Blue, Cadmium Red, maybe Alizarin Crimson. It doesn't appear that he uses any real transparent pigments, as they look rather heavy and opaque. (That is not a criticism) He does beautiful, simple washes and creates beautiful moods with them. Simplicity is admirable. So many of us over do the detail!

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