Painting a Composition Using Three Different Techniques

One of my favorite things to do as an artist is experiment with different painting techniques. Experimenting is one way to grow as an artist. Also, if you ever find yourself in a creative rut, experimenting can help you out. I enjoy many techniques involving watercolor: traditional watercolor, negative painting, ink and wash, watercolor and wax, and watercolor on masa paper.

Last week, I thought it would be fun to try painting the same composition using three different techniques. For my subject I chose tulips.

The pigments I used for all the paintings were: Quinacridone Coral, Permanent Rose, Quinacridone Magenta, Winsor Violet, Winsor Green (blue shade), Prussian Blue, Quinacridone Gold, New Gamboge, and Hansa Yellow Medium. For the second technique using negative painting, I used Winsor Blue (green shade) in addition to the other pigments.

For my first painting, I just painted in a traditional way using wet-on-dry, wet-on-wet, and glazing techniques.  I love how the colors turned out so clean and vibrant.

Traditionally Painted Tulips
© Annie Glacken
8″ x 11″  $125

The second time I decided to use negative paintings techniques. When you paint using the negative painting technique, you paint the negative space around what will become your object instead of painting the positive shape. I did end up having to glaze over many of the areas to get the intensity of value I wanted, so I think I lost some of the look of a negative painting.  I like the colors in this one too!

Tulips Painted Negatively
© Annie Glacken
8″ x 11″ $125

My final experiment involved painting watercolor on masa paper. Painting on masa is very tricky as the paint likes to creep beyond the area where you apply the paint because of the crinkles in the paper. For example, the leaf color may seep into the petals or vice versa.

Tulips Painted on Masa Paper
© Annie Glacken
8″ x 11″ $125

For more information on painting with masa, see my previous post here.

Of the three finished paintings, the first two look very similar. The third painting using the masa paper, I think, looks more “painterly” because of all of the wonderful texture.

Which one of the three, do you like the best? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

As always, all images are copyrighted. Thanks!




13 Replies to “Painting a Composition Using Three Different Techniques”

  1. Beautiful idea. I prefer on masa paper. I like a lot the “evanescent” way the background goes. Really fun to make that !

    • Thank you! The Masa is my favorite as well. By the way is your first name Laurence? You are always so kind to comment and I want to address you correctly!

      • Ah Ah !! Yes my first name is Laurence. In France, Laurence is a girl name, in english countries, Lawrence is a boy name I think.

        • Yes, Lawrence is a boy’s name here in the States. I didn’t realize you were from France! The internet is amazing because you get to talk with people from all over the world!

  2. I enjoyed your discussion of all three techniques – you do such a great job of teaching here. Series are such a great way to explore. I couldn’t pick a favorite.

    • Yes, I think painting a series is always helpful as it gives you a chance to explore as you say. My favorite is the masa because of the textural effects. Thanks for the compliment. I do love teaching!

  3. Hey Annie, All three are extremely colorful and well executed but for me the masa paper really helps to define the flowers giving the look of small veins and a beautiful mix of the background. Your work is progressing. Congratulations!

    • Thanks Louise! It is always so nice to see your name pop up. I miss seeing you and hope you and Tony are doing well. By the way, have you been doing much painting?

  4. Hi Annie, Wow, tough decision. I love them all, but like the crispness of the colors in the 1st one, but love the muted coloring of the Masa paper too.n

    • Hi Betty! Yes, I like them all too. They each have very unique characteristics that I love. It is always so much fun to see which version each viewer likes the best. Thanks for your opinion! I appreciate it!

  5. Pingback: Watercolor Landscape on Masa – Sketching and Painting the Moments