Fearless Friday, Oyster Shell


I have been experimenting with the watercolor “wet in wet” technique

also known as “wet on wet” or “charging”





The circled areas on the practice sheet in the photo above

highlight examples of a color dropped into a wet wash,

 in some cases producing a “bloom” and areas of soft color transitions





To use the wet in wet technique,

paint a clear wash or a colored wash on your paper

and then drop desired color into the wash while it’s still wet

The paint will do it’s own thing, creating areas of interest and transitions to the other colors

It will change as it dries also, so be prepared!

The shadow of the Watemelon Roses painting above was created this way




The eggshells were also painted this way,

beginning with a light wash of Quinacridone Gold

Then dropping in pink and purple





The blue crab shell had some unexpected results, but I like surprises,

they keep things interesting!




I thought this photo would be fun to try with this technique,

The colors in the shell are magical





Step 1 was a simple outline of the shell and pearls

Next I dropped clear water in the center and added turquoise blue





Then Quinacridone purple





Windsor Green, Burnt Sienna and Quinacridone Gold shadows





Next came dark areas with Sepia,

adding shadows to the pearls and small dots in New Gamboge indicating sand





Pink washes to edge of shell and more sand spilling out





A wet in wet shadow for the finishing touch







“Oyster Shell” 6″ x 5″ watercolor and ink, on 140 lb cold pressed watercolor paper




This technique is so much fun and you can achieve some great results

Take a practice sheet and play with your paint, experiment, see what happens!


Be Fearless


To view a great tutorial on “charging” visit Louise De Masi here

I am participating in the May Doodlewash Challenge, you can see my daily paintings on Instagram here

The Doodlewash challenges are a lot of fun and they push you to try new things, paint subjects outside your comfort zone, or just draw or paint whatever you feel like!  Join in anytime, post on social media with #doodlewashmay2020


🍉  🎨  🦀


21 Responses to “Fearless Friday, Oyster Shell”
  1. Jenna, what an interesting and fun technique. I know so little about painting, but I am always intrigued by Fearless Friday. The oyster shell is beautiful! Happy Friday and wishing you a lovely Mother’s Day weekend ♥️

  2. Hi Jenna, I really appreciate the ins and outs of this technique. (I do it, but with varying results!) I think the paper matters, and how much you drop in and sometimes I end up blotting a bit.) I love all the examples you have here and the oyster shell is a challenge that worked out very well!

    • Thanks Jeanie, painting and cooking are always experiments aren’t they! Watch the tutorial I linked to at the end of the post if you get a chance, I really learned a lot from it.

  3. This is an awesome tutorial! I’ve not heard it the wer on wet technique. I’d love it if you would link up with my Creative Compulsions party. It runs Thursday through Sunday each week.


    • Cyndi Raines says:

      How pretty! What magic and fun with this new technique! A perfect beach house painting. I love collecting shells and finding beach glass, do you walk along your beach looking for beach glass? I can’t wait until we can go to the beach, I love spending all day there. 😁♥️☀️

      • I used to do that for hours, loved treasure hunting! The beach here unfortunately doesn’t yield many shells, by the time they was up on our coast they are reduced to little pieces and sand…which is why we have the sparkling sugar white beaches! I do have some sea glass though, I need to set up a still life and paint it, thanks for a great idea Cyndi!

    • Thanks Michelle, I will try to be there!

  4. Michelle says:

    The oyster shell is beautiful! I always love your paintings. Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. Mary says:

    What a wonderful technique Jenna! Such pretty colors in the oyster shell but I love that crab 😉

  6. Nancy says:

    Happy Friday Jenna! What a beautiful technique and great colors! You challenged yourself as the there were so many colors being blended.
    Happy Mother’s Day my friend.

  7. lghiggins says:

    Really? That looks like a technique that would be a total flop, but your results are amazing! I love the oyster and pearls.

  8. pattyanneart says:

    Beautiful, Jenna!! I love your results with wet on wet! Happy Mother’s Day! 💚🌼

  9. Jenna, I started with watercolor a year ago. Love wet in wet, but what you did with the pearls and shell is especially beautiful!

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  1. […] I am continuing to explore the wet in wet technique we discussed last week […]

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