Going for the Glow

Artwork: White Nights Watercolours and Holbein White Gouache on a Hahnemühle Cold Press Watercolor Postcard. Reference photo courtesy of swampcat1943 on Pixabay.

When I first started using watercolor what attracted me was the glow that you could get with it. I knew the tricks of contrast and value that could help me get it but for a long time, I thought that transparency was necessary as well.

Transparency is discussed often in relation to watercolor. In fact, some people will only use transparent colors and to hear some of them talk, it’s THE most important thing about watercolor.

I kind of bought into that, but when I tried to follow along with it, I was usually unhappy with my paintings.

That made me sad and disgusted with my work – I must be doing something wrong. Eventually, I realized that while I do want transparent color sometimes, my particular style doesn’t lend itself to using it, and I went my merry way with other methods.

Just recently, as I started using gouache, and deliberately choosing opaque watercolor pigments, it dawned on me that what I really wanted with was that beautiful glow you see when the light is bright and the shadows deep, but black, and dark pigments aren’t part of it.

Oh yes. You can paint this beautifully with transparent colors. But you can get it with opaque colors too.

I’m so much happier now that I’ve fully realized that obvious fact.


Hahnemühle Cold Press Watercolor Postcards (review)

White Nights Watercolours

Holbein Artist Designers Gouache 15ml Permanent White

Published by Life Imitates Doodles Art, Reviews & Tutorials

Artist Ambassador for Zebra Pens. I'm a self-taught artist who dances about with all sorts of artistic mediums. My main loves are Watercolor, Zentangle and Ballpoint pen. The subjects of my work are many and varied and change at whim. I'm a little bit crazy, but doesn't that come with being an artist? At my Life Imitates Doodles Blog, I post a list of resource links for Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways two times a week. I also write reviews, hold giveaways and share my art work.

6 thoughts on “Going for the Glow

  1. This is wonderful! Don’t you love when you don’t follow the rules, but you get the result you wanted anyway? That is what is so wonderful about art!

  2. This is one of my favorites of yours, it’s a truly fabulous painting.

    I have the full line of White Nights with the exception of the pastels. I have considered them just didn’t really know how I would use them. I would love to see a tutorial on this or something similar to it.

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