Watercolour Techniques


Wet-on-wet: 

This technique involves applying wet paint onto a wet surface, allowing the colours to mix and blend. To improve this technique, try experimenting with different amounts of water on your paper and brush to control the degree of blending. Also, try using a spray bottle to mist your paper before painting to achieve interesting textures and effects.

Glazing: 

Glazing involves layering transparent washes of colour to build up depth and luminosity. To improve this technique, make sure to let each layer dry completely before applying the next one to prevent muddiness. You can also try using different colours for each layer to create interesting colour combinations and effects.

Dry-brush:

 This technique involves using a dry brush to create rough and textured strokes. To improve this technique, try using a flat or fan brush with short, stiff bristles to create a variety of textures. You can also experiment with different pressure and speed to create different effects.

Lifting: 

Lifting involves removing paint from the surface of the paper with a damp brush or sponge. To improve this technique, make sure to use a high-quality paper that can withstand some scrubbing without tearing. Also, be careful not to lift too much paint at once, as this can leave unsightly marks.

Negative painting: 

Negative painting involves painting around the subject to create a shape. To improve this technique, try using a masking fluid to protect the subject while you paint around it. You can also experiment with different colours and techniques to create interesting effects and textures.

Gradients and washes: 

Gradients and washes involve creating a smooth transition of colour across a surface. To improve this technique, try experimenting with different brushes, colours, and paper textures to create interesting effects. Make sure to also practice your brush control to achieve smooth and even strokes.

Layering: 

Layering involves building up the intensity of colour by adding multiple layers of paint. To improve this technique, try using lighter washes in the early layers and gradually building up to darker colours in later layers. Also, make sure to let each layer dry completely before adding the next one to avoid muddiness.

Salt texture: 

Salt texture involves sprinkling salt onto wet paint to create interesting textures and patterns. To improve this technique, try using different types of salt, such as coarse or fine salt, and experiment with different levels of saturation to achieve different effects. The salt grains would soak up the paint to leave interesting shapes and textures.

Splattering: 

Splattering involves flicking paint onto the surface with a toothbrush or other tool to create a speckled effect. To improve this technique, try using different brushes and splatter tools, and experiment with different amounts of water and paint to achieve different densities and sizes of splatters.

Dry on wet: 

Dry on wet involves applying dry paint onto a wet surface to create interesting textures and effects. To improve this technique, try using a dry brush or other tool to apply the paint, and experiment with different levels of water saturation to achieve different effects. Also, make sure to use a high-quality paper that can handle wet washes without buckling or tearing.

Some watercolour techniques used by the Master J. M. W. Turner.

J. M. W. Turner was a master of watercolour painting and used many advanced techniques to achieve his signature style. One of his most notable techniques is his use of transparent washes and glazes to create luminous and atmospheric effects.

Turner would often paint in thin layers of transparent washes to build up the depth and luminosity of his colours. He would use a limited palette of colours and layer them on top of each other to create rich and subtle hues. He would also use glazes to add depth and vibrancy to his paintings.

Another technique that Turner used was his manipulation of the paper itself. He would scrub the paper with a stiff brush to create interesting textures and patterns. He used a knife blade and his thumbnail to scratch into the surface of the paper to create highlights or to remove areas of paint and it was said he would also spit at the painting, presumably to rewet a small area.  

Turner also used a range of brushes and tools to create a variety of effects. He would use small brushes with fine, pointed bristles to create delicate details, and larger brushes with broader, flat bristles to create bold strokes and washes. He would also use sponges, rags, and other tools to create interesting textures and effects.

Overall, Turner's advanced watercolour techniques involved a combination of careful layering, transparent washes, glazes, manipulation of the paper surface, and a variety of brushes and tools. These techniques allowed him to create paintings that were both highly detailed and atmospheric, with a sense of depth and luminosity that was unique to his style.