Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

White Paint in Watercolor
Ideally in watercolor you leave the white of the paper for anything white in a watercolor painting. However, from time to time you may need to add a little white accent here and there, a little white flower, a bit of white splatter to add texture. Sometimes, it's impossible to leave the white of the paper and you need a touch of white paint.

In most brands of watercolor paint, chinese white isn't really opaque even though it may say opaque on the label. It is more like semi-opaque. A better choice would be either white gouache which comes in a tube just like watercolor paint or Dr. Martin's Bleed Proof White which comes in a jar and is a liquid opaque watercolor paint. Gouache is pronounced "gwash," it is an opaque watercolor that has a flat finish when dry.

On my chart to the right, I painted a swash of chinese white, two different brands of gouache and bleed proof white both in the left column directly on the paper and in the right column over top of a dried swatch of brown madder paint. You can see how two coats of chinese white still shows up as semi-opaque.

For those little touches and sparkles of white, I would recommend using titanium white gouache. Leave it in the tube and put a tiny little dab on your palette when you're ready to use it. Mix in a little water to smooth the consistency. It should also be the last thing you add to a watercolor painting. The only thing you should add to a painting after the white gouache is your signature!


Kathleen said...

Awesome - thanks for the Dr. Martins tip - I haven't tried that. Do you have a favorite brand of gouache?

Rita said...

A favorite brand of gouache? No not really. I have a tube of Winsor Newton, Maimeri & DaVinci they seem to work equally as well. I recommend the DaVinci brand to my students for the monetary value. All come in a tube and I use them fresh from the tube. In jars you can find Dr. Martin's and also Pro White, I've had success with both. The jar paints you do need to stir first before using, which is why I switched to the tubes of gouache, quicker and easier to use.

Kathleen said...

Aha - Yes, I have seen the Pro White and the Pro Black, but never used them. Knowing that I would have to stir them, makes it easy to just skip them =p I have used WN and M. Graham, but I think that the trick is to use them out of the tube. I have a lot of trouble rehydrating the gouache =( mucho better fresh and wet. Thanks for the tips =)

ps - as always - love your artwork!


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