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Wet in wet
Wet in wet includes any application of paint or water to an area of the painting that is already wet with either paint or water. In general, wet in wet is one of the most distinctive features of watercolor painting and the technique that produces a striking painterly effect.
The essential idea is to wet the entire sheet of paper, laid flat, until the surface no longer wicks up water but lets it sit on the surface, then to plunge in with a large brush saturated with paint. This is normally done to define the large areas of the painting with irregularly defined color, which is then sharpened and refined with more controlled painting as the paper (and preceding paint) dries.
Wet in wet actually comprises a variety of specific painting effects, each produced through different procedures. Among the most common and characteristic:
Backruns (also called blossoms, blooms, oozles, watermarks, backwashes or runbacks). Because the hydrophilic and closely spaced cellulose fibers of the paper provide traction for capillary action, water and wet paint have a strong tendency to migrate from wetter to drier surfaces of the painting. As the wetter area pushes into the dryer, it plows up pigment along its edge, leaving a lighter colored area behind it and a darker band of pigment along an irregular, serrated edge. Backruns can be subtle or pronounced, depending on the consistency of the paint in the two areas and the amount of moisture imbalance. Backruns can be induced by adding more paint or water to a paint area as it dries, or by blotting (drying) a specific area of the painting, causing the wetter surrounding areas to creep into it. Backruns are often used to symbolize a flare of light or the lighting contour on an object, or simply for decorative effect.
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