Smooth Watercolour Washes

Trying to paint a large area with smooth watercolour so you don’t get any hard line edges can be STRESSFUL.

You have to work quickly and that can feel panicky.

One false move and it’s GAME OVER.

*Gulp*

Or is it?

In this tip video I wanted to show you my preferred technique (I know there are others out there!) for stress-free, oh-so-smooth, watercolour washes:

If you’d like to try your hand at the Magnolia in the video it’s available in my online School.

Do let me know in the comments below if you’ve come a cropper with a big smooth wash before, share that pain!!

Wishing you calm and enjoyable painting,

18 Comments
  1. Irene Boogerman 5 years ago

    That was a lovely demo, enjoyable to watch and to learn from.

    And really brave to stick on so much masking fluid – did you dilute it at all to make it easier to remove without taking the surface of the paper off?

    • Anna Mason 5 years ago

      No – but I did make sure the fluid was fresh Irene as I think this makes it behave better and peel off more easily. Hope you’re well!

  2. Anne Cremer 5 years ago

    I’ve only tried hot pressed paper once and fond it to be very difficult. Now that you say you usually work on hot pressed paper I’m dying to try something else – something where I can use a small brush and hopefully emulate your delicate style. (If only!) Anne (Johannesburg)

    • Jane Charbonneau 5 years ago

      I didn’t realize that you were using hot pressed paper, either. Very much explains at least in part, how you get this much sharp detail. Really glad I saw this video – would have been very frustrated on the cold-pressed paper that I have been taught on, I’m thinking!

      • Anna Mason 5 years ago

        Yes, I find the cold pressed quite frustrating for detail. Check out the video I made – the Paper video under ‘Equipment’ – under the ‘Free Resources’ tab at the top of the site Jane.

        • Jane Charbonneau 5 years ago

          Thank you, Anna! That was really helpful. I hadn’t noticed the free resources tab. Thank you, also, for that! There is a lot of really helpful information, there that I can spend some time with. Love the suggestion to use the Arches block – very helpful, too. Will get one of those ASAP 🙂

  3. Al Vesselli 5 years ago

    Anna – Wonderful tutorial! Well, I think all your tutorials are great.

  4. Linda 5 years ago

    Great tutorial on how to paint a nice background. Yes indeed, I have come a cropper many times painting backgrounds.

  5. veena 5 years ago

    hi Anna,
    I always thought that cold pressed paper gave a patchy effect well, thankyou for the tutorial, i shall try the method hope it comes as good as yours!

  6. Jean Chang 2 years ago

    Your work is so lovely! Thank you for this helpful tutorial.

  7. Susan 2 years ago

    What an inspiring video Anna. Certainly will attempt this. Thanks.

  8. Teresa Tipton 1 year ago

    I am in awe of how easy you make watercolor painting look! I have always been scared of background painting and often seem like I ruin the painting when I attempt them. I am only on my second tutorial but can see an improvement in the realism I am able to achieve using your method. Thank you!

  9. KB Ribelin 6 months ago

    Anna, great tutorial on how to get a seamless background! What would you do if you wanted a bit of background that faded out from just around the subject you’re painting? Or vice versa, where the sun and brightest color is directly behind the subject and the background is darkest on the farthest edge and blues into no background. Please let me know if this doesn’t make sense. 🙂

  10. Marilyn 6 months ago

    Hi Anna,
    What brand of masking fluid do you prefer? Is Friskit the same thing?
    Thank you. The video was very helpful with my backgrounds!

    • Author
      Anna Mason 6 months ago

      I was using Winsor and Newton and I’ve used Jackson’s own brand. I think the main thing is for it not to have got too old. I believe frisket is the same thing yes 🙂

  11. Marion Denby 6 months ago

    Very helpful thank you Anna working my way through tutorials

  12. Joan Simpson 6 months ago

    Hi Anna,
    I enjoyed your magnolia watercolor video. It was such a nice share. Stay safe and healthy! Hug.

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