Flat and graded washes are very useful for skies and landscapes. They can be done on dry or damp paper, but they will be much easier if you use a 1” flat brush, and slant your paper when you do them. Gravity will help them be a smooth solid color, as if they were airbrushed. I enjoy doing several types of washes: one color, color to water, and color to color, and letting them dry before I add the landscape elements on top by glazing. A warm background for a southwest scene is one of my favorites.
1. Have enough color made up on your palette so you can do the entire wash without having to
make more color.
2. For a graded wash, color to color, start with the light color, in this case, a warm yellow, and go
the the deeper color, (Cadmium Red Light.)
3. I like to use a granulating color like Ultramarine Blue for my color to water washes. They are
a good beginning for a seascape.
For a color scheme that helps to unify your painting, try analogous colors. Because the colors are next to each other on the color wheel they relate to each other harmoniously. Three to six colors is a good amount. Try drawing several squares in your sketchbook and, after wetting the area in the square, charge various analogous colors that you would like to try. For this painting I did two small studies before my final painting. I used red-violet, violet, blue violet, blue and blue-green.