Video Demonstration: Laying a Flat Wash

Laying a flat wash is a fundamental technique for depicting sky and water in a landscape painting. After crossing the length of the sheet with her brush, which is loaded with color, the painter starts back in the other direction, touching the top of the brush to the bottom of the previous stroke so the wet washes merge evenly. Controlled speed is essential: if the first stroke is allowed to dry, a hard line appears and the strokes will not blend. Once the wash dries, subsequent washes can be laid over it; this is how Homer built up tone in the sea in Prout’s Neck, Evening.