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How to smooth blotchy effects in watercolour

Have you ever experienced your watercolour paints splitting when you try to mix them, and then creating a blotchy mess on your paper?

You may have been tempted to tear up your painting and give up.

This happened to me recently when I was filming a tutorial for my online School demonstrating how to paint a beautiful Song Thrush egg.

The paints I chose to use did NOT play nicely together and caused me all sorts of issues.

But luckily I’ve had a fair bit of experience of this kind of thing and was able to save my egg and smooth away the unwanted blotchiness.

In this video I thought I’d show you how I go about this using my layering technique to make that save:

I hope this helps you save a blotchy looking painting or two in the future!

Please let me know in the comments if you give it a go!

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26 Comments

  1. Diane Parks on April 13, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Anna- you are so much fun…. Your wonderful generosity to share with so many of us is GREATLY appreciated.

  2. Hilda on April 13, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    How beautiful. A very good too.. ..thankyou Anna x

  3. Carol Martine on April 13, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Thanks, Anna.

  4. Carol staines on April 13, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    Thank you, Anna!

  5. Jullane Rich on April 13, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    love the way you paint, when will you have a new book out? Jullane Rich

    • Anna Mason on April 14, 2017 at 10:46 am

      Thanks Jullane. This time next year the next book should be published (just got to write it now!!)

  6. Maysoon on April 14, 2017 at 1:03 am

    Such an inspiring session. Many thanks Anna.

  7. maria kellner on April 14, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Hi Anna this may help,both turquoise are PG50, W&N burnt sienna is pr10101 DS,quinacridone burnt orange po48, WN payen’s gray is phthalo blue pb15,black pbk6 and quinacridone rose pv19 the DS is ultramarine blue pb29 and black pbk9 This may help as to why the colors did not play.

    • [email protected] on August 30, 2018 at 6:25 pm

      I don’t understand why this explains the problem. Would you mind to elaborate? Thank you…

  8. maria kellner on April 14, 2017 at 11:35 am

    You solved the problem at hand well.

  9. Eileen Aaron on April 14, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Thank you Anna, for another great video.

  10. Betty Jo on April 15, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Loved this video and it was very helpful! Thanks.
    Betty Jo

  11. Anna Mason on April 15, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Thanks Maria, I’ve since found out that the Cobalt Turquoise Light is a colour known to ‘granulate’ (it’s pigment particles settle in the paper in a way that creates a mottled effect), so it wasn’t a great choice when trying to create a smooth effect!

  12. Judy on April 17, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Thank you Anna and so glad you are going to have another book coming out.

  13. Janee' on April 19, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    Great help! Thank you!

  14. Robyn Fenning on April 22, 2017 at 12:15 am

    I experienced similar recently using conalt blue and windsor lemon on fabriano 175gsm. I have never experienced it in the 11 years I have used watercolour and wonder if it was the fabriano paper as the co is having problems with the paper

  15. Janet Whitham on April 23, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    I liked how you saved it but then I rather liked the mottled effect too!

  16. Beth Beveridge on April 26, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    Thank you, Anna, for showing us that persistence and patience, and experimentation can get us out of a difficult spot. I think sometimes, because of watercolour’s reputation as being difficult to correct and change, I give up more easily than I would with another medium. Showing me your solution here was very, very helpful. Thank you!

  17. Kerry on April 29, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    I was going to say that the struggles you had were because the WN Cobalt Turquoise Light is a granulating watercolour, however, I note you have since found this out. I love the colour but prefer it for abstract work where I want the granulation. You have recovered it well though!

  18. Sonja on May 20, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Great video! Thank you Anna

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