Floating color is a method where paint is applied to the surface using a side-loaded brush. Paint is picked up one edge of the brush and is then blended thoroughly on the palette until the paint has transitioned across the brush to gradually fade before reaching the opposite side. When side loading an angular brush the paint is always loaded on the long side or “toe” of the brush. The short side is referred to as the “heel”. The success of this technique relies heavily on choosing the appropriate supplies and just a bit of practice.
My brand of choice for paper towels is Viva. These are softer and more absorbent than other paper towels on the market. Absorbency is important when you want to blot your brush to remove just the right amount of water for floating and is also key when you want that perfectly-wiped brush for stenciling or drybrushing. The only comparable substitute that I have found are the blue shop towels sold by hardware and home improvement stores though I don’t know whether they are any more economical than Viva.
|Compact Grey Palette|
- Use a generous squirt of a lubricant like Easy Float in your water to facilitate blending.
- Use less paint! Excess paint will spread too far across your brush before softening.
- Don't hinder your success by using sub-standard supplies or the wrong tools for the job.
- Practice on cardstock and keep your worksheets as a gauge to document your progress. Start with a baseline using your current supplies before changing to the recommended items so you can see how they affect the outcome and the improvement in your skill level.