Special Watercolour Techniques

“Create your own visual style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.” 

George Orson Welles

There are many additional techniques that the artist can adopt when painting in watercolour.

  • These are just a representative sample.
  • You may discover some of your own – experiment.

 

Wax Resist

Wax may be applied to the surface of your paper to restrict the flow of paint and produce quite interesting effects. However it cannot be removed once applied and therefore it should be used sparingly and only for elements of a painting that will truly benefit from its use.

  • Use Not or Rough Watercolour Paper.
  • The wax will adhere to the tooth of the paper and therefore the paint will not be retained, instead it will settle and dry in the low areas.
  • Consider using it to describe the surface of water, or for a particular texture.

A Useful Tip

  • Practise first on a separate piece of watercolour paper.

 

Splatter

  • Ensure you prepare an area that will not be affected by any stray Watercolour paint.
  • Load your brush with your chosen colour of watercolour paint.
  • Whilst held above your watercolour paper, tap your brush against your finger.
    • This will produce random spots of paint of uneven sizes.

A Useful Tip

  • Practise first on a separate piece of watercolour paper.

 

Salt

The use of salt will produce really interesting textural effects.

  • Simply paint in the normal manner and whilst still wet scatter the salt over the area requiring a textual effect.
  • Allow for drying and remove the salt to reveal interesting textures.

A Useful Tip

  • Experiment with Table Salt and Sea Salt.

 

Blowing Paint

Carefully place some watercolour paint (of a milky consistency) on your paper

  • Using a straw or direct from your mouth, carefully blow the wet paint around until it is the shape you require.

A Useful Tip

  • Practise first on a separate piece of watercolour paper.
  • Take occasional rests to avoid light headiness,

 

Alcohol

With a pipette or similar let some alcohol drip onto on some wet watercolours on your watercolour paper

  • The alcohol will react with the paint and push it away and thereby leave a wide range of random shapes and colours.

A Useful Tip

  • Practise first on a separate piece of watercolour paper.

 

Lifting Out

To ‘bring back’ some of the white of the paper the artist may adopt a technique termed as lifting out.

This technique may be used whilst the paint is still damp or indeed by wetting a specific dry area with clean water. A soft tissue or clean sponge is used to touch the damp paint and thereby remove the desired amount of colour required.

Some uses for this technique include the formation of clouds when painting skies or using a damp clean tissue through a ‘cut-out’ template that is placed over the pre-painted area, i.e. the silhouette of a yacht on a lake painted previously in a wash of French Ultramarine. When the template is removed an outline of the yacht is revealed which may be over painted as required to complete the effect.

A Useful Tip

  • Practise first on a separate piece of watercolour paper.
  • Avoid use of staining colours as they are difficult to lift off.
    • (please see the Understanding Colour section of this website)
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