Tech Tuesday: White in Watercolor, part 2: Mediums

Welcome back! Today, we’re continuing our three part installment on White in Watercolor. This week, we have mediums! For the purposes of this post, we’re staying focused on the ones that will stay on your overall completed picture. These are great options for adding highlights to toned papers or bringing back white on paper that has been painted over (either accidentally or on purpose).

White in Watercolor: Mediums

-White Mediums-

This section dips its toe into the realm of mixed media, as I’m including some means that are not specifically watercolor, but that are water based.

White watercolor paint is transparent to semi-transparent and is a great way to create a haze in the background of your work. I’ve included this video below to illustrate how this artist, Silvia-Sigrid Sillaots utilized white watercolor and blotting (to lift off the excess) in the background to help push the foreground (KeyKeeper) forward. She also splattered in some atmospheric effects, which I think adds to the whimsy. 🙂

I’d like to take a moment to add white gouache here. Even though it doesn’t seem to flow right after the example, it fits in my mental hierarchy of mediums to use with watercolors. Gouache is a wonderful opaque to semi-opaque watercolor that can be painted on with a brush, sponge or even your fingers! You can pretty much do anything with gouache that you do with standard watercolors, I definitely suggest some test swatches with it so you know how much water to dilute the paint with and what kind of coverage you can expect with your chosen brand.

gouache [gwahsh, goo-ahsh; French gwash]-noun, plural gouaches

1.a technique of painting with opaque watercolors prepared with gum.

2.an opaque color used in painting a gouache.

3.a work painted using gouache.

Towards the end of the example video above, Silvia popped in some highlights with a more opaque medium, gel pen. At first, you may be thinking gel pen, in professional art?!?! Hold on a second and think; this is an archival, easily managed opaque medium and able to applied right where you want it. Hmm, sounds good to me!

Also, as it is a water based medium, you can manipulate the still wet “ink” by smearing with a towel or sponge or a dampened brush. If you’ve worked with gel pens before, you’ll definitely noticed that some flow freer than others, so you can play a bit in working with the “puddle” of ink or you may stick with the more conservative flowing pen. I’ve had two Gelly Roll brand white gel pens that were purchased at the same time that do have a difference in flow. I’m not sure what the reason is, but I definitely use that for their gorgeous effects.

*I do want to note for my vegan and vegetarian friends, the original start of gel pens comes from using gelatin to create the ink suspension. I have not been able confirm if this is still the case.

Jumping back to a classic staple for watercolor work, is Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof White. This ink is also great to use in a refillable pen like a Rotring Rapidograph as its a non-clogging fluid.

Wrapping up the waterbased section, is white acrylic paint. Acrylic is available in many body types; you can us heavy body if you like thick paint application and brush strokes being visible. More likely though, you’d probably use either regular body (which you can water down) or even a liquid acrylic formula.

I hope this gives you some ideas to start. What did you think? Did you get some gears turning?