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Watercolour | Wet on Wet

Wet on wet is a watercolour technique used by artists such as Emil Nolde when particular effects are desired; it refers to laying down watercolour onto paper that is entirely wet, or wet in areas. Here we mix Cadmium Yellow with Alizarin Crimson and Cerulean Blue with Alizarin Crimson as well, in an 80% to 20% ratio. Using paper on a 30-degree tilt, water is added generously to areas of the paper whilst leaving some dry as well. Then the lighter yellow-orange is applied to wet and dry paper and allowed to move freely, followed by the darker blue-purple mixture. Several things begin to happen as the colours run into each other on the paper and react with the wet and dry surfaces. Green is created as the yellow and blue mix; Alizarin separates from the Cerulean and a vibrant pink appears. The granular quality of the blue also becomes clear as it settles into the texture of the paper. When working this way, it is good to remember that the colours you choose should tend to a darker value as they will be diluted by the water already on the paper.