Watercolor Resist Technique With Wax

How to use wax crayons and wax candles as a watercolor technique to resist paint and produce special effects.

Materials for this Watercolor Technique

MATERIALS USED: Arches cold press 140lb watercolor paper, a 1" red sable Grumbacher wash brush. A candle and a number of light colored crayons from an old pack of 64. COLORS USED: Permanent Rose, Ultramarine Blue, Dioxazine Purple, Phthalocyanine Blue, Burnt Umber. Wax Resist Watercolor Technique I gathered the materials and roughed in a quick landscape in pencil.


Is That a Moon?

I started by drawing the moon in with the edge of a candle. I couldn't see the wax on the paper, so I continued to throw in some cloud forms that I couldn't see. I then rough in some reflections below the moon, in the soon-to-be dark lake.


Picking Out Some Grassy Areas

Using a yellow-green crayon, I drew in some grassy reed areas around the edges of the lake area.


It's Futile to Resist

Using a yellow crayon, I added more details to the grassy areas. With the yellow-green crayon, I put a light tone along the edge of the horizon. I finished by dotting a few stars in the sky with a white crayon and using a light blue to try and catch some highlights in the lake area.


Are the Stars Out Tonight?

I mixed a intense Ultramarine Blue wash and started laying in the night sky. The areas covered with wax resist the paint, and stay white. Not quite what I had visualized, but I digress and continue.


Shifting Colors and Water Tones

The gray didn't work out too well, so I laid a wash of pure Ultramarine over top of the background hills to pop up the color. I then mixed some Phthalocyanine Green with a bit of the previous gray wash and pulled the green wash over the surface of the lake, revealing more resist detail.


It's Easy to  Resist

I continued with the grayed-green wash, leaving a bit of white paper and using the dry brush effect (i.e. the effect you get when you use your brush after drying off most of the paint) toward the far shore to accentuate the reflections on the water. Some backwash came down from the blue hills so I worked the blue into the lake. The wax resist technique requires some thought and preplanning if you are doing representational work. Want more watercolor resist techniques? Click the image below for another visual tutorial. 4 Watercolor Resist Techniques Made Easy 4 Watercolor Resist Techniques Made Easy

by Greg Conley

September 11th, 2015