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Basic TIPS
for textures in watercolor:

Watercolor is a wonderful versatile medium, and you can change its look quite easily with additives and other materials to give it a more textural appearance.

in your watercolor (abstract):

Texture can be an exciting addition to a watercolor painting. I love to work with the *BATIK METHOD
to outline the abstract shapes.
The white lines enhance the colors and provide that extra bold dimension.
*Batik method: Drawing with rubber cement to block the colors creating white lines. Use a pick-up eraser to erase the cement.


I used TABLE SALT for unique watercolor texture effects:
Just sprinkle a light dusting of salt crystals in puddles of paint. As the painting dries, the salt's effect on the watercolor washes becomes visible.
(The coarser the crystals the greater effect!)
The salt crystals suck up pigment gradually, creating a myriad of light star-like shapes.(Great for snow flakes and for a starry sky on a dark wash !!)
Use a clean dry hand and gently brush away the salt.
Note: The use of salt may influence the pH of the paper, and thus its longevity or archival properties, so try to keep the time the salt is on the paper to a minimum.


Other texture methods:

ALCOHOL gives a total different effect.
You’ll need some Q-tips and 91% Isopropol Alcohol.
Dip a Q tip in alcohol and drip or spatter the alcohol onto the damp watercolor painting. You can let the painting dry a bit and then apply more alcohol drops for even more texture.
As the alcohol hit the wash it repels the paint, pushing it away while leaving a lighter tint of the wash exposed.



TISSUE paper to "lift" away pigment.
After applying paint to your paper take a sheet of tissue paper and spread it out or crumple it over the wash, letting the creases and folds press against the paint as you gently press down on it. Leave the tissue paper and the painting to dry for a while (but be careful not to leave it too long or it will be glued in place.) Carefully remove the tissue paper.
PLASTIC WRAP texture works similarly to tissue paper texture, only you use plastic wrap from the kitchen to press over the painting's wet surface.



is a trick which adds texture to a watercolor painting.
Fine water drops are flicked into a moist wash. Tap your brush against the forefinger of your other hand, splattering a spray onto the paper. Keep it close to the paper surface.



with a piece of an old credit card, the end of your paintbrush, a nail, a paper clip, razor blade, painting knife or any other hard object to scratch (make a groove or dent in) your paper while the wash is still quite wet. The pigment will settle in the scratches, drying darker, giving you interesting textured passages.
Using a painting knife to create textures in watercolor requires practice because timing is critical.
You'll have to experiment to learn when the paint is just dry enough to work with and how much pressure to apply on your tools.
NOTE: Keep in mind that these techniques can damage the paper, so be gentle.

The only way to find out what results you'll get with all these techniques above is to experiment, experiment, experiment. Have fun!


Abstract watercolor on cold press heavy weight paper
140 LB (330 g/m2)
Measurement 18"X24" (45.7X 61 CM)
Framed and matted.


Copyright Olga van Dijk 2007
All rights reserved.
Unauthorized copying or use of images is prohibited.
This is another OlgArtsProduction©2007

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Anonymous Guest

Anne Whiteway 13 Jul 2014

OLGA, love this abstract...So beautiful with lovely colors and shapes. Also thanks for telling us how you did this. Another favorite/

Sigridur Bachmann 13 Jul 2011

Simple but pure beauty !SUBLIME !

Markus Frede 21 Jul 2008

very nice - it's my favorite one

leny hendrickx 06 Jun 2008


lillianhibiscus 18 May 2008

Beautifu! Fantastic colors.