Exploring Watercolor

Mother Nature describes herself to us in a plethora of forms, patterns and shapes. By mastering these texturing exercises, you can simulate the surface character that defines these natural shapes as well as the characteristics of human-made objects.

Wax Paper, Plastic Wrap and Aluminum Foil
For a range of interesting patterns and shapes, try crumpling and pressing wax paper or plastic wrap into wet paint. Let dry and remove. Also, crumple up a piece of aluminum foil, paint the ridges and print onto either wet or dry paper. Try tissue paper as well. All these techniques are excellent for portraying the texture of trees, branches and other vegetation.

Facial Tissue
Dabbing and blotting wet paint with facial tissue can create subtle changes. Crumple a tissue, blot the wet paint, and then let the pattern dry. By blotting, you are lifting paint and lightening the surface. This is useful for creating cloud effects, sunlit sections in grassy areas or lightening certain parts of your painting.

Bubble Wrap
Paint the bubble wrap and press it onto dry paper, or for a different effect, press bubble wrap directly onto wet paint. When bubble wrap is printed on dry paper, the edges remain crisp. When it is pressed into a wet surface, the edges become softened.

Printing With a Leaf
Use natural materials in your printing, such as leaves, twigs, and feathers. Paint them on one side and press onto dry, very wet or semi-wet paper.

Printing With Netting
Human-made fiber materials can also be used for texture printing. Mesh netting is perfect for interesting patterns. Paint the net, then press onto a wet or dry surface.

Painting With Cheesecloth
Similiar to the technique used with netting, paint the cheesecloth and press it onto a wet or dry surface to add an interesting texture to your paintings. Practice using different colors painted one on top of another for a blended effect. Also, try using paper in varying stages of wet or dryness. You can adhere the cheesecloth to the paper with acrylic gel medium for an even heavier textural appearance.

For more ways to expression your artistic vision, check out Exploring Watercolor by Elizabeth Groves available at fine-art stores, bookstores and online suppliers. Or click here to order it directly from North Light Books.

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