Now let's experiment with the use of charcoal and a color wash. Gather the following materials: a tube of watercolor paint in ultramarine blue or another dark color; a large, round brush (no. 14), or a 1-inch flat brush; some pieces of 6"x 9" museum board (mat board) or heavy watercolor paper (300-lb.); a piece of wax paper larger than your board; a water container; a mixing dish; newspaper; and four heavy items, such as stones, to be used as paperweights.
Squeeze a little blue paint into your mixing dish and add water. You want to end up with about a 60 percent value of the blue.
Dip your brush in the mixture, and starting from the top of the paper, go back and forth with the loaded brush. Dip again, and catching the bottom of the previous stroke, repeat the step until you cover the entire board. Make sure you have plenty of paint on the board.
Lay the painted board on top of a sheet of newspaper to keep things clean. Quickly cover the board with the sheet of wax paper.
Pull the tips of your fingers from the top of the wax paper to the bottom, causing the paint to be pushed aside. Make only vertical strokes. Air bubbles and "blisters" will appear underneath the wax paper, creating all kinds of shapes in the paint. Every time you drag your fingers down the paper, you will change the shapes. Too much rubbing will result in a sheet of blue paper, so do it once or twice and let it dry. Put weights on the paper's edges and leave it to dry overnight.
Use charcoal to bring the forest to life by adding line and tone to the shapes. You do not have to stay with one color. Be daring and glaze colors, but make sure the original color is bone dry, and add the color before you work with the charcoal. Start with one color and drop additional colors on top before covering with wax paper. You might even start with a colored stock. Experiment and have fun!
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