A Quilting Journey

Raw painting technique

Raw painting (or ‘wet-on-wet’) is a watercolour painting technique that involves applying paint to wet paper. This method allows you to achieve soft, smooth colour transitions and atmospheric effects. Here are some key points and steps for performing this technique.

Materials for painting in the raw

  • Watercolour paints. High quality watercolour paints will ensure that the colours are bright and saturated.
  • Watercolour paper. Use thick paper (300 g/m² or more) that holds water and paint well.
  • Brushes. A variety of brushes, such as large round brushes for washes and smaller brushes for details.
  • Water and water containers. For washing brushes and mixing colours.
  • Palette. For mixing colours.

Where to start painting raw

Paper preparation

Wet the paper with water using a large brush or sponge. The paper should be evenly damp but not too wet to avoid puddles.

Applying the paint

Apply the paint to the wet paper. The colours will spread and blend to create soft transitions.

Mixing colours

Add different colours next to or on top of each other, allowing them to mix freely on the paper.

Moisture control

Work quickly while the paper is still wet. If the paper starts to dry, moisten it again to continue working.

Creating textures

Use different tools such as sponges, brushes with different textures or even sticks to create additional effects and textures.


Allow the work to dry naturally. If necessary, you can use a hairdryer to speed up the process, but be careful not to blur the drawing.

Useful tips for those new to drawing

  • Plan your work. Because watercolours dry quickly, it’s important to plan in advance where and what colours you will use.
  • Practice. The technique requires practice to learn how to control the degree of moisture in the paper and paint.
  • Use of masking fluid. Masking fluid can be used to preserve white areas, which is removed after the paint dries.
  • Granulation effect. Some watercolour paints have a granulation property, which can add texture and depth to your drawing.

Studying the work of famous watercolourists such as John Singer Sargent or Winslow Homer can provide inspiration and insight into how to use the wet-on-wet technique to create expressive and atmospheric works.

What is wet-on-wet painting

Raw painting (also known as wet-on-wet) is a painting technique in which paint is applied to an already wet surface. This method is used in both watercolour and oil painting to create smooth, soft transitions and textures. The technique allows the colours to mix and flow freely, creating spectacular gradients and atmospheric effects.

Basic aspects of raw painting

Watercolour paints are most often used, as watercolour reacts well to wet paper.

  • Paper used is special watercolour paper that can hold a large amount of water.
  • Brushes: large and soft brushes for applying water and paint.
  • The paper or canvas is first wet with water to create a wet base.
  • Paint is applied to the wet surface, allowing it to flow freely and mix with other colours.
  • Moisture control. it is important to monitor the degree of moisture on the surface to control the degree of spreading of the paint.

Raw painting effects

  • Soft gradients, where colours flow seamlessly into each other to create beautiful gradients.
  • Textures where you can create different textures using different tools and materials (e.g. salt, alcohol).
  • Atmospheric effects and the technique is ideal for creating fog, haze, water surfaces and other atmospheric effects.

Examples of raw painting applications

  • Landscape painting is often used to create sky, water, and backgrounds.
  • Floristic painting allows for soft transitions and natural tones in the depiction of flowers and leaves.
  • Abstract painting is used to create interesting textures and patches of colour.

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