Watercolor Tutorials: Wax Resist watercolor technique
Wax and watercolor offer up some repelling behavior

Wax Resist watercolor tutorial
OBJECT: Learn to use wax-based media for watercolor 'resist' technique.

Materials and drawing
MATERIALS USED: Arches CP #140 watercolor paper, a 1" red sable Grumbacher wash brush. A candle and a number of light colored crayons from and old pack of 64.

COLORS USED: Permanent Rose, Ultramarine Blue, Dioxazine Purple, Pthalocyanine Blue, Burnt Umber.

I gathered the materials and roughed in a quick landscape in pencil.

Is that a moon?
I started by drawing the moon in with the edge of a candle.

I couldn't see the wax on the paper so I continued to throw in some cloud forms that I couldn't see.

I then rough in some reflections below the moon, in the soon-to-be dark lake.

Picking out some grassy areas
Using a yellow-green crayon I drew in some grassy reed areas around the edges of the lake area.

It is futile to resist
Using a yellow crayon I added more details to the grassy areas.

With the yellow-green crayon I put a light tone along the edge of the horizon.

I finished by dotting a few stars in the sky with a white crayon and using a light periwinkle blue to try and catch some highlights in the lake area.

Are the stars out tonight?
I mixed a intense Ultramarine Blue wash and started laying in the night sky.

The areas covered with wax resist the paint, and stay white. Not quite what I had visualized, but I digress and continue.

Maybe a little more color
As I washed in the rest of the sky area I added some Permanent Rose and a touch of Dioxazine purple towards the horizon line to liven things up.

I mixed some Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber into a medium gray and started to cut in the background hills over the resist areas.

Shifting colors and water tones
The gray didn't work out too well so I layed a wash of pure Ultramarine over top of the backgroud hills to pop up the color.

I then mixed some Pthalocyanine Green with a bit of the previous gray wash and pulled the green wash over the surface of the lake, revealing more resist detail.

It's easy to resist
I continued with the grayed-green wash, leaving a bit of white paper and drybrush toward the far shore to accentuate the reflections on the water. Some backwash came down from the blue hills so I worke d the blue into the lake.

Click image to enlarge.

The wax resist technique requires some thought and preplanning if you are doing representational work.

How to paint a flat wash How to paint a graded wash How to paint wet-in-wet Learn drybrush watercolor technique How to paint glazed washes Plastic wrap texture technique Salt watercolor texture technique Lifting wet watercolor paint Lifting dry watercolor paint Scraffitto (scratching) and stamping watercolor techniques Splattering, spraying, and dripping watercolor techniques Tissue paper texture watercolor technique Alcohol texture watercolor technique Backwash, waterdrops and runs watercolor technique Using liquid frisket with watercolor
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