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What is Wet on Wet Painting


About Wet on Wet Painting in Oil or Acrylic

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Wet on wet does not mean just wet over a wet under coat, but wet over any layer of wet paint.

What is wet on wet painting?

You might paint a sky; then while it is still wet, paint a tree over that sky – (that is wet-on-wet painting)


Blending colors is easy with this wet on wet technique, you place one color onto your canvas, then add other colors which will be mixed or ‘blended’ on the canvas with the brush or knife to the desired tone, this is a very handy method of blending the sky from dark above to pale in the distance or the water from light to dark. (see short video)
What is wet on wet painting?
Wet-on-wet means you simply paint over wet paint.
A wet on wet painting example Typical example of wet on wet in acrylic color.
I call my style of painting ‘Speed Painting’ but it is simply a wet on wet, loose method of painting which I learned to use while demonstrating in shopping centers and festivals around Australia. I needed to paint fast to hold the attention of the audience.
If I dropped my brush or stopped to squeeze paint from a tube, half my audience would go back to their shopping but if I was skillful and could hold the crowd for a complete painting, then often I could sell or auction that painting before it dried. (One day I must show you how to package a wet painting).
I believe many old masters used the wet on wet techniques, see Claud Monet, look closely at his brushstrokes and you will see the colors are blended in a way that shows they were put down with wet on wet brushstrokes and not placed side by side as done in some traditional styles of painting.
Traditional painting style as opposed to wet on wet.
The ‘traditional’ method of painting is still taught by some art teachers and institutions.
This usually involves sketching the subject then painting in the different items in accordance with their color or tone, that being the darkest tones first. (How boring)


Often the sky would be added last and each color, and tone of that color, would be mixed on the palette. (So you build your painting from darks to lights).
This also involved waiting for each color to dry before adding the next.
A very slow process when using oils. On large murals it can be wise to paint in the dark areas first so as to not waste paint by putting the sky down under the mountains etc.
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