Cutting Down on Drying Time

I like to paint with many thin glazes of color, but since painting time is always short, I don’t like “wasting” the time it takes for one glaze to dry before I can add another. To cut down on the drying time of each layer of color, I’ve started painting on top of a lightbox. This is how it works: Before I start painting, I preheat my watercolor paper by placing it on top of a hot lightbox. I then turn the light off, paint a glaze of color, then turn the lightbox on again to speed up the drying time. Then I’ll paint another glaze of color and so on and so on. This gentle heating cycle shaves about one-and-a-half hours off of each painting session—and even helps keep my watercolor paper from buckling.

Catherine Anderson is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society, Watercolor West and the Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Society. Visit her Web site at

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