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Load a medium-wide brush and work from the top to the bottom of the sheet with increasingly dilute mixes of the colour

First attempts using Cadmium Red.  Various degrees of success the best of which is on the far right.



  • Getting the amount of water just right = tricky as acrylic drys very quickly and to get a smooth transition difficult.
  • I used a spray bottle of water to help with this.
  • Lightness of pressure on brush and type of bristles will make a difference.
  • I tried both a 1″ and 2″ (the 2″ on the second set).
  • Also found a damp piece of kitchen roll swiped across the page could take off excess wetness but you then need to repaint.
  • working fast far more successful.
  • Acrylic colours seem to darken as they dry.


Second batch in Crimson – using wider brush and working even faster.  This brush had thicker bristles and so tended to show the stroke more.


Ex 2 – Overlaying Washes


Taking the crimson and working on the Cadmium original sheet.  Working wet definately better for me…less obvious strokes.  Photographed when wet so flash shows.

Trying this with wet on dry…below…..

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Wet on Dry

This was photographed after it had dried completely and I can still see the lines of the underneath colour.  The merging of the colour looks the same from a distance on the finished pieces, but the closer you are the wet on dry shows the brush lines through the merging.


I then tried this using some of the other colours that I have.

Above I have Cadmium Red and Crimson merging with Cadmium yellow on the left and Colbalt blue with Cadmium Red and Cadmium Yellow on the right.  From this selection the Colbalt blue caused me the most difficulty, it didn’t seem to be so easy to mix.  Could this have some opacity to it?

Above is violet and Cadmium Red and Sap Green and Lemon Yellow on the left and then Lemon Yellow and Prussian Blue and Lemon Yellow and Violet on the Right. The only displeasing merge is the violet and lemon, which just created a mucky brown.

The next part of this exercise asked us to look at the interactive tour of Mark Rothgo’s Seagram murals on the Tate website.  I have recently been to the Tate and actually sat in the room displaying these paintings.  The lighting is subdued, which was apparently at the request of he artist and how he wished them to be seen.


In relation to this exercise, Rothgo’s method of producing these and similar paintings is to apply thin layers of paint building up the intensity of colour and in some instances leaving areas where the underneath colour can be seen.