Coloring Not Sticking to Cookies When Painting?

Hello, all! I am new here but very happy to have found you. I was inspired to start painting cookies after seeing Julia's videos but I'm having some trouble! As I am painting cookies, it's almost as if the surface of the royal icing is repelling the color. It doesn't seem to happen more with one color than another. This has been incredibly frustrating because I can barely get an even coat of color because it starts separating and almost beading up. I use a meringue powder-based royal icing, totally dry, and Wilton gel paste colors. I've tried using both water and alcohol to wet the brush. Is there something I could try, or this normal and I am just being picky? Thank you!

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