Art Terms Explained: Watercolour Painting


As artists, we come across a wide sum of terminology whilst looking into, reading and conversing about our components. In this instalment of the ‘Art Terms Explained’ collection, we demonstrate the this means of certain commonly-applied phrases, phrases and conditions in the context of watercolour portray.



Artist and qualified-quality paints have the optimum pigment hundreds and use legitimate pigments relatively than imitation hues. The colour is really rigorous in the pan or squeezed from the tube, and you will want a lot less of it.


Bead / Beading Up

Watercolours have a tendency to assemble in pools and have a resistance to the area on metallic or plastic surfaces. This can prove aggravating when striving to blend with them on a palette. The watercolour beads a lot less and much less the much more you use a palette. Lots of watercolourists make it a habit to take care of a new plastic or metal palette by supplying it a mild scuffing all above with a Brillo pad, to avert beading up. Alternatively, you can choose to use a porcelain palette on which watercolour paints do not bead.


Brush Cleaning soap

Brush cleaning soap is a form of cleanser that is particularly formulated with natural oils to moisturise and cleanse brush hairs, so that your brushes continue to keep their form and hairs for extended.


Buckle / Buckling

Buckling (or cockling) takes place when humidity soaks into the fibres inside of paper, causing them to swell and the paper to contort and misshapen. You can stay clear of this by using watercolour paper blocks, which are glued on all four sides, trying to keep the sheets taut as you paint on them, or by manually stretching your paper prior to use.


watercolour paper buckling


Chilly Pressed Paper

Paper produced by pressing the sheet by means of chilly metal rollers. It has the classic, irregular, softly dimpled floor that is affiliated with watercolour and is the most common watercolour paper surface to operate on since it is effectively adapted to a lot of painting strategies. It tends to be additional absorbent than very hot pressed paper which is much more compressed. In the United kingdom this paper is named Not, as in ‘not scorching pressed’.


Colour Power

Colour power – also recognized as ‘saturation’ – effectively refers to the ratio of pigment to binder (two components discovered in watercolour paints). It is a description of how vibrant/brilliant/clear the colour appears.


Usefulness Colours

A benefit colour is a paint made up of two or much more pigments that an artist could mix by themselves from two paints but it is prepared combined into a person tube for their advantage. Several inexperienced, orange and violet colors are built from a combination of pigments.


Dry Brush Procedure

When watercolour paint that is undiluted and for that reason fairly dry or ‘gummy’, is used with a dry brush to paper. The outcome is chalky in appearance, and saturated in color, and frequently would make for a spectacular distinction from much more fragile, watery, watercolour washes. A very efficient and spectacular technique for creating textured surfaces within just watercolour painting.


Flat Wash

The use of a solitary diluted colour to include the white of the paper in a fairly unsaturated and uniform method. See ‘washes’ for far more details.



The term move refers to how cell the paint is, and how simply it transfers from the brush to the paper or surface area. Mediums can be extra to alter stream.


Fugitive Colour

Refers to non-lightfast paints (see permanence), these kinds of as Opera Rose or Rose Madder. They fade, or alter color, when exposed to sunlight. Commonly it is suggested to adhere to colors that have been rated of great or very fantastic lightfastness (they may possibly also have the classification of currently being ‘I’ or ‘II’) if you are intending on exhibiting or displaying function on a wall, as opposed to maintaining it in a book or portfolio. Remember, even extremely lightfast paints are rated as “lightfast when saved out of immediate sunlight.”



A glaze is when a dilute colour is applied throughout the floor of a watercolour portray that has been still left to dry absolutely – the outcome of carrying out this is to tint the whole spot with the color of your clean. See ‘washes’ for much more aspects.



‘Gouache’, ‘body colour’, or ‘opaque watercolour’, is a drinking water-dependent paint consisting of pigment, h2o and gum arabic as the binding agent. The difference between gouache and watercolour is that gouache has possibly a higher pigment load or extra chalk to make it opaque, as opposed to watercolour which is translucent. Any preliminary drawings on the paper will exhibit by means of when watercolour is utilized above them, but with Gouache they will not clearly show approximately as considerably.


Gum Arabic

A h2o-soluble gum that is extracted from two species of the acacia tree, which is utilized as a binder in the manufacture of watercolour paint. It can also be included to the paint by the artist to improve transparency and how shiny in look the paint is.



Granulation in watercolours is an outcome exactly where alternatively of a sleek location of colour, the pigment particles settle out and produce a speckled visual appeal. When watercolour pigments ‘granulate’, they kind compact dots and/or teams of flakes that are visually obvious. Some colors have a all-natural inclination to granulate extra than other individuals, and watercolourists occasionally choose advantage of them to include texture. There are mediums that can be extra to raise granulation.



Watercolour grounds are acrylic-primarily based primers built to present a appropriate total of absorbency to a surface, so that it is all set for watercolour to be utilized. For case in point, they can be utilized to adapt any universally primed canvas for watercolour portray.


Gummed Tape / Gumstrip

Gummed Tape is a variety of tape utilised for stretching watercolour paper. One aspect of the tape is coated with a glue which is water activated, that means it results in being sticky when moistened, enabling it to strongly hold watercolour paper to a board. Contrary to masking tape it is water resistant just after it dries once more and it does not stretch.


taping paper to board


Incredibly hot Pressed Paper

Very hot Pressed Paper is paper that has been pressed among sizzling steel rollers during creation. It is the smoothest of watercolour papers. It tends to be the minimum absorbent of all of the textures and lends itself to extremely-comprehensive get the job done this sort of as botanical painting.



A hue is the real overall look of a color, i.e. you could explain a river to have a greenish brown hue. But it is also set at the end of the title of colors observed in paint ranges wherever the color is manufactured from a mixture of pigments that have been blended to replicate a legitimate pigment. This may possibly be performed to generate a more cost-effective colour for university student-quality paints, or to switch a pigment that is no lengthier out there with a close alternate. They are not usually inferior colours, but since they are made from a mixture of pigments to approximate yet another colour, they will not perform in mixtures the similar as the unique.



As watercolour remains soluble in water even soon after it’s dry, it can be reactivated with a moist brush and ‘lifted’ from the surface area with a rag. This system gets rid of some of the pigment from the paper, generating the paint appear on the site.


Masking Fluid

Masking fluid is occasionally acknowledged as ‘liquid frisket’ and is used to mask off areas of your work. It is painted on with a brush, silicone software or ruling pen and as soon as dry you can then paint watercolour over the leading. The masking fluid is then peeled off, leaving untouched basic locations of paper underneath. Helpful for reserving the white of the paper for highlights and other tiny white places of the painting.


Mass Tone

The overall look of the color of the paint as it comes from the tube, as opposed to undertone.


watercolour tubes



An additive that is blended with by the artist in buy to support handle how the paint behaves – which includes its texture, how it flows, how it lifts from the paper, how speedy it dries and its sheen.


Organic Hair Brushes

All-natural hair brushes are produced making use of animal hair, this sort of as sable or squirrel. An choice would be synthetic brushes.


Ox Gall

Ox gall is applied in watercolour as a wetting agent – ie. It increases flow, reduces beading up and enables for increased adhesion onto currently dried levels of watercolour paint. It is created from the gall of cows mixed with alcohol. Lots of watercolours contain ox gall or a artificial substitute, as an component. Use ox gall sparingly as an additive by placing a several drops in your cleanse drinking water container.



Pans are plastic vessels in which dried watercolour is saved. The colour is taken from a pan by dragging a wet brush above it. The paint could be poured into the pan and still left to dry or extruded like clay and positioned in the pan as a dried cake. There are two normal sizes: 50 percent pan and whole/full pan, even though there is a compact variation in measurement involving brands.


watercolour pans



Permanence takes into consideration the results of quite a few components on the stability and appearance of pigments, which include humidity, gentle, heat, h2o, acidity, alkali concentrations etcetera. The permanence of a paint will be indicated on the label making use of a score system established by the company and described in the manufacturer’s color chart or on their website. Be informed that some artists and companies use it as an equal to ‘lightfast’.



A pigment is finely floor colour built possibly in a laboratory or from in a natural way coloured rocks. When merged with gum arabic as the binder it helps make watercolour paint.


Pigment Load

Pigment load refers to the ratio of pigment to binder in a paint. Lower priced paints will often have a lessen pigment load, so have weaker color.


Plein Air

‘En plein air’ is a French expression indicating ‘in the open air’. In the context of painting, it refers to the act of portray outdoor in front of the subject matter. There is some professional gear required to generate a smaller moveable studio for this form of landscape painting.



Watercolour primers and grounds can be utilized to a wide variety of products such as canvas, wooden, stone, ceramic and plastic to create a area that is absorbent sufficient to maintain programs of watercolour and optimise the overall look of colours and marks.


Rough Paper

The most textured paper offered – it is pressed in between sheets of textured felt throughout the drying system and is not pressed involving easy rollers. The heavier textured floor signifies that granulating results are increased.



One Pigment Colors

Sure colours of paints that only contain a single pigment. It is less difficult to combine bright and lively colors using one pigment colors and colour mixing is far more predictable. Artist quality paint ranges have as several solitary pigment colors as they can. But when a “hue” is necessary to swap a pigment that is no longer obtainable, or a mixture of pigments has been uncovered that can give a lightfast choice to a fugitive colour, or a secure option to a toxic colour – then these search-alikes are usually designed of extra than just one pigment. Typical artist mixes are also bought as “convenience colours”, these kinds of as some greens, violets and oranges. Nevertheless, some colors can only be manufactured with a combination of pigments – popular colours this sort of as Quinacridone Gold have to be blended as the first pigment is no longer readily available.



Watercolour paper need to be absorbent adequate to stabilise the paint, but not so absorbent that the colour turns into uninteresting. ‘Sizing’ is a process that delivers a very little h2o resistance, so that the paint does not sink much too much into the paper, and partially sits on the surface area. Watercolour paper can be sized internally, externally, or both, with gelatine, starch, or a artificial measurement. Interior sizing is when the dimension is additional to the h2o and pulp combination before the paper has been built. External sizing is when the formed sheets of paper are pulled by way of a measurement tub. Some papers are both of those externally and internally sized which will increase the wet power of the paper.



Staining refers to how substantially of the pigment will not elevate from the paper after getting blotted with a damp sponge. Some pigments are far more staining than many others and some models will checklist this attribute for their paints.



Watercolour sticks are dried and really-pigmented watercolour in a slender brick or crayon type. They can be utilised in the very same way as pans or they can be made use of as a drawing software, held and utilized in the exact same way you would use a crayon or pastel.


Stretch / Stretching

To stretch watercolour paper is a system of preparing it prior to portray. It involves soaking the paper in drinking water till it swells and expands prior to fixing it to a board (generally with gumstrip close to the edges) then making it possible for it to dry prior to painting. This system is used to prevent buckling. There are also watercolour stretching frames.



Student-grade watercolour paints have a decreased focus of pigment in them and use more cost-effective imitations pigments for the much more highly-priced colors. As this is the most expensive ingredient in paint, this allows scholar-quality paints to be far more reasonably priced. They are most appropriate for inexperienced persons as very well as students and specialists on a finances and use more cost-effective imitations pigments for the much more high-priced colors.


Artificial Brushes

Synthetic brushes are an very affordable and tricky-carrying substitute to Pure Hair Brushes. They are made utilizing artificial elements, as opposed to animal hair.


Jackson's Raven Mop Brush

Jackson’s Raven Mop brush, a synthetic different to squirrel brushes.


Transparency / Opacity

The evaluate of how much light is in a position to go through an applied paint and interact with the floor beneath. Transparent paints show up more luminous on a white help because they permit a more substantial proportion of gentle to strike the surface they are laying on. Opaque paints block this reflection from transpiring, and can be used to go over levels of color beneath. Watercolour paints are mainly transparent colours.



Tubes have moist watercolour that can be squeezed on to a palette to paint with or into empty pans.



Undertone is the bias attribute of a color when utilized across a area in a thin film, e.g. Ultramarine blue would be claimed to have a reddish-blue undertone.



A ‘wash’ refers to the approach of generously applying diluted watercolour paint on to a area or an present portray ensuing in a semi-clear layer of colour. Washes are generally applied with a wide brush with pure hair that can maintain a whole lot of fluid. See Flat Wash and Glazed Clean for examples.


Watercolour Block

‘Watercolour blocks’ are pads of watercolour paper that are glued on all 4 sides, preserving the sheets taut as you paint on them. They are not as restricted as stretched watercolour paper, but buckle/cockle less than free paper and are practical to use. Immediately after the portray has dried you take out the sheet from the block by operating a boring knife all all-around under the edge.


watercolour pencils


Watercolour Pencils

Watercolour pencils are watercolour paint in a pencil format. They are easy, multipurpose and transportable painting tools that are clean up and effortless to use. They can be utilized dry as standard colored pencils, or like pans (extracting colour employing a soaked brush), or they can be dipped into drinking water and drawn with, producing intensely saturated marks. You can also draw with them onto soaked paper and they are specially practical for adding high-quality lines.



Even further Looking at:

A Guidebook to Watercolour Painting – What You Will need to Get Started

Introducing the New A. Gallo Handmade Watercolours

Is Watercolour Better in Pans or Tubes?

Watercolour Painting for Newbies: What You Will need to Get Began

Anything You Require to Know About Watercolour Paper

Art Phrases Defined: Oil Painting



Source url

Next Post

This Pride Month Manchester Art Exhibit amplifies LBGTQIA+ voices

[ad_1] MANCHESTER, Conn. — Delight Thirty day period starts off tomorrow, and gatherings and packages are happening throughout the state to rejoice all issues LGBTQIA+ FOX61 News is spotlighting events all June. One particular pride event in Manchester is now underway to amplify LGBTQIA+ voices by art.  Delight Thirty day […]