Where the Magic Happens

“Understanding timing and using gravity to one’s advantage are the most underrated skills in watercolor,” says Richie N. Vios.

“Gravity plays a vital role in watercolor especially when applying a wash. As watercolorists, we are dealing with a very delicate wet paper. Proper ‘slopping’ helps facilitate natural flows of water through gravity. This helps our paints to run naturally without disturbing the paper fiber. If you avoid unnecessary brushstrokes, you’ll get a pristine, clean color that floats on the top of the paper like a thin colored film. Light can then pass through, hit the paper, and bounce back. This is how you get the sense of illuminated color in watercolor.

“Timing is everything in watercolor. You have to know when to keep going or when to stop and let an area dry before making your next move. With watercolor, color and value can be unpredictable. When your paper is still wet, they will keep evolving.

“You need to accept the fact that watercolor has a mind of its own. It’s up to you to act at the right time to get the best result. Learning that timing takes a bit of trial and error. But go in with confidence.”

Born and raised in Cebu City, Philippines, Richie N. Vios hails from an artistic family where  his father, brothers, and sister also paint. Today he lives in Texas and teaches nationally.

Previous articleAmbassador of the Week: Jeff Stahler
Next articleWatercolors of the American West
Kelly Kane
PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.


  1. I love your freedom of style. Wish I knew how not to be so “uptight” I was an accountant and am now trying to learn how to ‘draw from the right side of the brain’. Best wishes going forward and than you for you inspiration!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here