Why my watercolor skies aren’t “smooth” – the mystery solved!

For a while now I’ve been frustrated with my watercolor skies. If I don’t paint them lightly, they end up looking weird. It’s hard to describe but the paint looks funny – like a pattern of little blooms. Instead of smooth, they have a texture. I’ve wanted to seek help on this issue, but I was having a hard time articulating my problem.

A search on Pinterest for “watercolor skies” led me to Susan Chiang’s blog where I saw the phrase “granulating pigments.”

This is my issue!

Susan says, “When picking your blues, take note of granulating pigments. This will vary based on the color and manufacturer so the best way is to test it out yourself on a piece of paper.”

Now I know it’s a characteristic of the paint that is working against me and the look I want to achieve. Progress!

This post by Michelle Morris, on the Empty Easel, describes in depth the issue and why some paints don’t appear smooth: Know Your Watercolor Paint: Understanding Granulating, Transparent & Staining Colors

My next step is to test out the blues I have, as well as see if they are labeled to determine the best color and mixes for my skies to achieve that smooth look I want.

One thought on “Why my watercolor skies aren’t “smooth” – the mystery solved!

  1. Aren’t aha moments so satisfying? Now if I could ever figure out what hot press watercolor paper is good for, I’d be thrilled! I never have luck with it. Be well, Eileen, and I hope you had an awesome birthday!

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