Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Painting Dark to Light

Begin this lesson at Step One Below

Here it is, just that easy. Looking for darkest values first than mid tones, than your lightest values. This poppy took me about an hour to paint. Using a 1/2 inch & 3/4 inch one stroke brush. Results you still keep the translucent, luminous effect and the glazing at the end results in a great combination of values and depth. Controlling your values through glazing is a traditional way to paint in watercolor, but if you want quick results and deep intense contrast, try this method, you may enjoy it. More to come...

Now I have painted in my darkest and middle values. The poppy is now ready to have the lightest values ready to be painted in. 1,2,3 just that easy.

Look closely, here I am glazing a middle value over my darker value, previously painted, and allowed to dry throughly. When glazing over my darkest values I use a one stroke brush which releases the paint evenly without much pressure. This brush is great for this technique because it won't disturb or move the pigment.

Next step for your dark to light method is to find the mid to dark values, mixing permanent rose with quinacridone gold and adding a bit more water, results my mid to dark values for this poppy.

This poppy was painted in a little over an hour, using the dark to light method. No more glazing and waiting for your darks to pop, painting your darkest values first is time saving and instant gratification for watercolorists. Tired of glazing and glazing to get your darkest values? Than this is the method for you. For my darkest values I mixed permanent rose, and quinacridone gold, with a hint of thalo blue, for a rich dark pink.


  1. Your directions and demo are so clear. Thanks for sharing this technique.

  2. Joyce your blog is full of interesting demonstrations! Your generosity of spirit shines through sharing in your beautiful work!
    Thank you

  3. Thank You Joyce for the demo and fantastic lesson on saving time on glazing.