This entry was originally posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012.
It happens to all of us at one point or another.
We paint mud without wanting to paint mud.
This is perhaps the biggest frustration with beginning watercolorists.
So how do you not get mud?
The secret is to know the qualities of your paints.
Watercolor is an inherently transparent medium. However, there are some colors that are more opaque than others. It is by knowing which colors are which that helps you to understand how to stay away from mud.
How does this help?
The opaque colors tend to sit on the surface of the paper.
So you put a wash down with an opaque color and you want to do another wash on top of that. Instead of staying in the fibers of the paper, that opaque color will lift and mix with that new wash. Next thing you know, that beautiful clear color has turned to mud.
So you can do one of two things:
Don’t mix too many opaques together when mixing colors and
Leave your opaques for the top washes.