Resplendence, a blog from Radiant Resolution about graphic design

A New Way to Paint

Well, I finally gave the Bob Ross Wet-On-Wet oil painting technique a try, and though it was NOT as easy as he makes it look, it had pretty impressive results that I'm proud to show off!

For a quick explanation of wet-on-wet, it is "a painting technique, used mostly in oil painting, in which layers of wet paint are applied to previously administered layers of wet paint. This technique requires a fast way of working, because the work has to be finished before the first layers have dried" (Wikipedia). Instead of using typical oil paints, these are much dryer, with a thin liquid white (or black) going on first. In Bob Ross' technique, he also primarily uses large brushes (1" and 2") and palate knives. It's incredible what detail can go into these pieces without small brushes. The only time I used a small brush was for a signature!

What I would change about this painting, and what I learned.

It's amazing how there are set "steps" for these paintings that WORK. It turns art into something objective, which the organized type-A side of me loves. One step that I missed in this painting was forgetting to take a large brush and spreading the paint on the mountains before applying the snow with a palate knife. This caused the small dark outlines at the top (thick paint) that I couldn't get the snow to stick to. I also was hoping to have brighter colors and more vibrant variations in the bushes, but it was too difficult getting the paint to stick to the previous layer. I should have added more paint thinner to the top color, because as Bob Ross says "thin paint will stick to a thick paint."

Lastly, it is very difficult mixing paint on a canvas when that is what every oil artist first learns in school. After covering the canvas with liquid white, I was to then use straight blue to mix and begin the sky. I institutionally began to mix blue and white on the palate to make light blue, rather than mix on the canvas. Whoops.

I'm excited to keep working on this new way of painting and create more work. I'll be posting my progress, so check back! I'd love to hear if you've had an experience with wet-on-wet. Comment below!

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About Brittany Klein

Brittany Klein is a freelance graphic designer from Maryland. She established her company, Radiant Resolution, in 2008 after receiving her Master of Arts degree in graphic design from Savannah College of Art & Design. She has since written blogs, e-books, and articles centered around graphic design and fine art for many organizations across the country.

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