One of the basic techniques to master and why is it so darn difficult??

The good thing about this technique is that it can be used to create many effects that may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what look you are going for. Timing is everything!

There is less control when you are using wet on wet technique because it is fluid and unpredictable but so fun!

So what is wet on wet watercolor technique anyway?

Well, it is when you wet your paper first before you start to put the paint on your paper hence putting wet watercolor paint into a wet canvas.  This causes the paint to spread and have very soft fuzzy edges. It will produce beautiful color graduations.  


Fuzzy edges because the paper is wet and you get a disbursement of color.

The problem is time. Drying time that is! While you keep adding wet paint to an already drying piece of paper we can produce backruns, AKA blooms, AKA cauliflowers AKA ugly!

My paper was drying and I added more watery paint that produced these hard edges and blooms. Not the look I was going for in this example. 

This could be bad or downright ugly if it is not the effect we were going for or it could be Good!

When the paper was drying I splashed water onto it to create these soft blooms that produced a lovely texture. 

So how do we prevent these blooms and create smooth transitions??

1. The more saturated your paper is the more time you will have to put down the colors before your paper dries.

2. You can prepare all your paints and mix up puddles of the colors you are going to use ahead of time so you are not wasting time doing that while your paper is drying.

3. Soak up any puddles of paint around the edges of your paper or wherever water may be pooling or it will create a backrun. Use a thirsty brush or blot the moisture with a piece of paper towel.

4. Consider the paper you are using.  Good 100 percent cotton cold pressed paper has a toothy texture and will hold on to moisture longer than smooth paper.

5.  Practice, practice, and practice! Remember there is a fine balance between the wetness of your paper and the wetness of your brush.  If your brush is holding more moisture than your paper you will produce a backrun.  

The different levels of Paper wetness and safe zones can be compared to nail polish!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and try playing with some washes and make pretty magical blooms :)