How to Prepare for Wet-Into-Wet Painting: 7 Tips - Creative Catalyst Productions

How to Prepare for Wet-Into-Wet Painting: 7 Tips

March 01, 2018 3 min read 1 Comment

How to paint wet-in-wet watercolor with Robbie Laird

Wet-into-wet is a favorite technique for many watercolor painters. Watercolorists choose to work wet-into-wet so that they can mix colors more easily on their paper or because they want the effects this techniques creates that are unique to watercolor. Or perhaps they just want longer working time on their watercolor paper.


Whatever your reason to use wet-into-wet is, it’s a great tool to have in your watercolor tool box. But how do you actually buy yourself the time you need to work wet-into-wet?

In Robbe Laird’s workshop Flowing Florals: The Informed, Intuitive Approach she works wet-into-wet and she shares what you need to know to get your paper (and everything else) ready for wet-into-wet painting.



Learn how to paint wet-in-wet watercolor with Robbie Laird 
1. Get your materials ready

Make sure your paints and the rest of painting tools are ready to go. Once you get your paper wet and onto your board, you are up against the clock.


2. Use the right paper

Anne Abgott, Sue Archer and Robbie Laird all love working wet-into-wet and they all choose 300lb cold press paper for their wet-into-wet paper. The reason? It’s heavier than 140lb paper and will hold more water longer.


3. Back your paper with a non-porous surface

Robbie Laird uses a large piece plexi under her paintings. Because the plexi isn’t porous, it acts as a seal. It will keep the water from evaporating out from the underside of the paper.


Learn how to paint wet-in-wet watercolor with Robbie Laird - readying your paper

4. Fully wet your paper

“I want it to be saturated all the way through,” says Laird. For Laird, this means using a large tub or the bathtub. Artists can use a big brush to lay down water but that can take a long time and beginners will have half of the paper drying before they get the other half wet. Better just to immerse it in water.

In humid regions, you will need to soak your paper for less time than if you are working in a hot dry region.


5. Watch for signs

If you’re soaking your paper but it still has spring, it is not yet fully saturated. “What that tells me,” says Laird, ”is that the inside of the paper is very dry. And it’s only the surface that’s gotten wet.”

It’s better to soak your paper longer than you think you need than less time than you think you need. However, don’t leave your paper in water overnight.

Learn how to paint wet-in-wet watercolor with Robbie Laird - wetting with a brush

6. Squeeze out air bubbles

If you check the back of your plexi, you might see air bubbles. If you have them, you’ll want to squeeze them out. Grab a large brush. First see if you can try and flatten the area using pressure from the brush. If you can still feel a bump, it’s time to add some extra water to the back of the paper where the air bubble is. And then, as if apply wallpaper, slowly lower that area of the paper and again, using brush pressure, smooth out the area.


7.Dry the edges

Dry the very edge of the plexiglass so there isn’t extra water accumulating. As the paper dries, that extra water will return to the paper and cause blooms.

Now you are ready to paint wet-into-wet.


To learn more about how Robbie Laird uses wet-into-wet, check out her watercolor workshop, Flowing Florals: The Informed, Intuitive Approach.

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1 Response


March 02, 2018

I purchased this DVD from CC, and I love it. I have watched it three times and I learn something new every time I watch it. Robbie provides so many helpful techniques, tips and secrets for painting wet-into-wet. One of my favorites.

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