Watercolour Resist Technique with Wax

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Materials For This Watercolour Technique

MATERIALS USED: Arches CP 140 watercolour paper, a 1″ red sable Grumbacher wash brush. A candle and a number of light coloured crayons from an old pack of 64.

Colours 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.

Shifting Colours 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 dry brush toward the far shore to accentuate the reflections on the water. Some backwash came down from the blue hills so I worked the blue into the lake.

The wax resist technique requires some thought and pre-planning if you are doing representational work.