Unlike any other art and craft painting medium the unpredictability and
uncontrollable nature of watercolour make it the most
interesting and expressive medium of all. The
opportunity to meander anywhere between mastery and
complete lack of control during the course of a painting
allows it to be one of the most engaging mediums. This,
plus the fact that it's quick, neat and portable, may
make you enthusiastic and may grow much more later on.
Traditionally, watercolour was only ever used thin,
using clear washes
of pigment. Some beautiful, delicate paintings came from
this school of thought. Contemporary watercolour,
however, enables much increased freedom of method and
material. The American Watercolour Society now allows
all water media watercolour, acrylic, casein, gouache,
egg tempera but draws the road at collage and pastel.
A watercolour is the medium or the resulting
artwork, in which the paints are made of pigments
suspended in a water soluble vehicle. The standard and
the most typical support for watercolour paintings is
paper; other supports include papyrus, bark papers,
plastics, vellum or leather, fabric, wood, and canvas.
Moving within the approved concept of watercolour
into the realm of mixed media can get into a huge new
array of opportunities. The thrills of blending together
watercolour with ink, pastel, collage and other water
based media is one of the most addictive forms of
expression. The process of increasing, changing,
enhancing, ruining and repairing allows a painting to
develop a life and energy of its own. You, as being the
artist, turn out to be almost a spectator, watching,
knowing and cajoling as the painting gradually comes to
Flat Wash Technique -
The flat wash technique is one of the more basic and
common of the various techniques. The flat wash
technique is usually used when large areas of the canvas
need to be covered. You will want to lay out the
watercolour wash evenly and uniformly.
First you will need to dampen the area of your canvas
where you will be applying the watercolour wash. Make
certain to have an adequate amount of water and pigment
available before your start. If you should have to stop
for any reason, it will be difficult to match your
layers.. It is better to have more than less available.
The angle at which you apply the watercolour wash is
If the angle is too steep your wash will run down the
paper. If the angle is too level, then you won't have
enough movement an approximate angle of 30 degrees
should be enough to keep a level of control. Use a large
brush for this technique and start your first stroke at
the top of the paper. Continue applying the watercolour
wash going down the paper, but alternate sides as you
Glazing Technique - The
glazing technique is when you apply a thin transparent
colour over a completed dry layer of colour. This
technique creates some very interesting blends of new
colour. You will need to use a non-staining, transparent
colour for this watercolour technique. You should use a
soft brush and don't apply that much pressure.
By applying a different colour glaze over another you
can change an existing painting form cold to warm and
from winter to summer
Wet In Wet Technique - Wet
in wet is simply applying a wet wash over a wet surface.
You start by evenly wetting the paper with a brush or
spray bottle. Have a sponge handy to absorb any excess
water. You want your paper to be evenly saturated. Then
apply your watercolour.
Skies (including clouds)
Merging colours to slow the transition
of colour shift
Reflections in water
Rolling snow banks
Inside foliage areas
Gradation in values in lakes
Anything containing mist
Dry Brush Technique - With
the dry brush technique, your paper is completely dry.
You then apply a fairly dry pigment with very little
water to the paper.
The dry brush technique should
only be used where you want to draw focus or create
texture to any painting. It's always a good idea to use
various watercolour brush techniques in a single
painting. This results in a more interesting painting.
Lifting Off Technique -
Artists use this technique when they want to remove
watercolour from a certain area of the panting. It is
usually done by first wetting the area that needs to be
removed with a clean sponge and then absorbing the
colour with a tissue. If you find that the colour does
not come off right away, then let the water soak in a
bit longer and try again. If you still are unable to
remove the colour, then dampen a bristle brush and
gently scrub the area. You should use extreme care with
this watercolour technique, as there is a risk you can
damage the paper.