I suck my breath in, and hold it…..  for The wild ride. Out of control. I love it.


She is the perfect medium for a gambler.


debiriley.com, wild watercolor landscape, wet in wet technique, ultramarine blue pb29, debi riley
Wild Watercolor debiriley.com


Watercolor Landscape Techniques


my definition of watercolors

  •  “Roll the dice”
  •  risk taking,
  •  whats going to happen,
  •  roller coaster ride
  • playful, moody, serious, bright, contemplative
  • sensitive
  • bold and audacious



Control and Letting Go 

I  can learn more about art  (and,  life in general)  from the unique quirks of this medium than perhaps all the others.

  • Because it is in the   “letting go”     that  I can  achieve the quality of art that my heart strives for every time I sit down to create.
  • And watercolor,  is a medium   that nearly all of us will struggle mightily with For Control!!
  • Watercolor does not wish to be mastered, but to work alongside us.
  • She is happy to partner with us and work in unity, to help and to release her abilities.
  • But. She does not like to be fought with for control.  It gets ugly.




Watercolor Wet in Wet Technique


  • Watercolor has the most natural affinity for the Wet in Wet technique.
  • Watercolor,  looks her best flowing, soft and merging. Seemingly “Out of Control.”
  • With those soft edges, flowing, merging colors, it is beauty in itself.
  • That. Right there is where Watercolor excels over the other mediums.
  • When that effect is what I am after,  I choose Watercolors.


The results are nearly random.

Definitely random,  in beginners’ first initial efforts to learn and understand the medium and this technique.

But progressively less so with ….. the hours of brush experience (you)  put in.



But still,  its always a thrill.

The unexpected hair pin turns,  bumps and jumps will appear from out of nowhere on these wild watercolor landscape slopes.  





Process and Steps of Wet in Wet

Wet in Wet Technique


  1. wet the paper 100%  thoroughly
  2. slightly tilt the paper
  3. apply palest tone first
  4. leave Some areas… untouched, by any paints
  5. apply medium tone next
  6. apply deepest dark last
  7. allow to dry 100%
  8. if any alterations are needed at all, correct when bone dry only
  9. fast paced Process, so have 3-5 sheets out to do quickly
  10. reread   #4   this is   very,  very important




  • it is only…… a piece of paper
  • you CAN  rinse it off, and start all over
  • you can use it for gorgeous collages later
  • or paint acrylics over top
  • good cotton rag paper can be used for oils if gessoed
  • paint the backsides too
  • wow!   what great value!!
  • relax…..its just, a piece of paper.    


  • it is tonal values light (especially)   that is crucial
  • colors are ‘pretty’  but its Tonal Values that creates Success
  • patience is a virtue,  much needed.  imperative, actually
  • a limited palette of 2-3 colors, is your best friend
  • mixing up your own greens, oranges, purples, greys is smart!
  • its ok if its abstract,  right now.
  • then, come back to it later…. 3 months or so
  • your answers and solutions are revealed by the passage of time
  • so I have discovered



Hopefully,  these tips I have gleaned over the years can encourage and inspire you on your journey on the fun and creative wild slopes of watercolor!  



Below, is  another  Wet in Wet application channeling the best attributes of watercolor -the lovely,   Magical Mists.


magical mists, watercolor painting, cobalt teal, debiriley.com
Magical Mists watercolors



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