No, these aren’t oil paintings! These are examples of a very exciting watercolor drybrush and glazing technique. The two artists represented here are two of the premier masters of this technique and for a fuller enjoyment of their work check out their websites.
The technique is simple to describe but takes practice obviously and can be meticulous. Thin glazes of pure watercolor pigment in an almost dry application are laid down layer upon layer until the desired value and color is attained. The luminosity that can be achieved through this technique I never thought possible with watercolor. Glazing with oils has long been known to achieve this brand of jewel-like luminosity. Oil painting masters going back centuries have used it as their staple. Watercolor, on the other hand, has the reputation of being easy to overwork and muddy in repeated layers of application. But with the right approach this is not always the case. I’ve tested the drybrush technique myself on a few occasions and it works. I am having to relearn almost everything I know about watercolor painting and layering. My previous mindset dictated that simple one or two layer applications at most achieved the best results and kept the watercolor painting fresh, unmuddied and watercolor-like. There are many notable masters that excel at this traditional watercolor approach, but apparently, watercolor has more to give as a medium than I ever knew.