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Lifting Wet Watercolor

By Mary Ann Boysen

Lifting Wet Watercolor - When watercolor is still wet on the paper, it is easy to blot and lift. If it is so wet that it is still shiny, you will possibly lift all the color. If it has lost its shine, the swipe of a brush will lift the color. If the brush is too wet, you will create a Back Wash and cause a “bloom”.

Sometimes this is a good thing, but many traditional watercolorists don’t like the look. Frankly, I love it in landscapes. It tells me that the painter is confident and is not so controlled that the painting must look like a photograph! It's one of my favorite watercolor techniques.

Watercolor TipsIn this painting, I used water and salt to create the blooms and textures in the grasses. The cow and her calf were more important than the grass, so I did not want to paint detailed grass strokes. The salt (which absorbs the water, and makes the pigment spread to the outer edges of an area, create a texture to the eye. When the salt is dry, always brush it off the paper. 

Watercolor TipsI actually use a brush to paint the salt on the page. This way I can control where the salt is applied rather than sprinkling it on the page. If you prefer to sprinkle it, you must cover any damp areas that you want to remain smooth and unaffected by texture.

Return to Watercolor Techniques from Lifting Wet Watercolor

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