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Glossary of Art Terms - Watercolor Edition

If you are a budding artist or just trying out watercolors for the first time, this is the right place for you to understand the basic terms. Watercolor painting is fun and messy but the creativity and styles are endless. There is a plethora of different forms of watercolor art that you can learn and create but for that you need to learn the difference between these forms.

This glossary will help you understand the different painting techniques using watercolors. So let’s get messy and creative and dive into this glossary.

1) Backrun- The painting technique of mixing colors in a semi-controlled by adding colors over a wet paint surface to create an abstract color collage. This can get very messy but the end result is beautiful.

2) Drop-in Color- A basic wet-on-wet technique to create cloud-like effects or portray atmospheric disturbances by dropping paint on a still-damp canvas.

3) Dry Brushing- To create that coarse and scratchy appearance and contrast the smooth blend, a relatively dry brush is used. The brush delivers a little paint in a random and patchy manner. If you don’t like using a lot of water, you can still create an art piece!

4) Glazing- This is usually the last step in any painting. The technique involves painting a watered-down transparent layer of paint to the final artwork. This gives a natural shine and finished look to the painting.

5) Impressing- A very creative and fun technique to create textured art. A bubble wrap or any other object is pressed over a wet-paint surface to create an impression. Isn’t that fascinating?

6) Over-painting- Yes you read that right! Over-painting is indeed a painting technique and an important one at that. It is a method of restoring white spaces or clearing out an over-saturated area using white water-based paint.

7) Spattering- Yes it is a painting technique. The one technique we’ve used to make b’day cards but ended up spattering the paint all over our faces. The act of dipping the brush in paint and distributing minute particles of paint which results in a spray-paint effect. But we already know that it is very challenging.

8) Stipple- An art of dots. It is a technique of creating images through a series of dots made with paint brushes. The effect of the illusion is created through this painting which appears to be blending. This one challenging to work with but worth the effort.

9) Underdrawing- A technique to create the required composition by sketching it on the substrate and then painting over it as required. This helps reduce the chances of error and gives a base to the final painting. So don’t dip your paint brushes and start stroking the canvas, instead create an underdrawing first.

10) Wash- A very easy one as compared to the rest. A technique of applying an even coat of diluted paint all over the substrate, creating a smooth field of color without any visible brush strokes.

These are the basic art techniques when using watercolor as a medium. So now you know the style that you’re comfortable with and the style that you might want to adopt. Keep learning new styles, keep creating new art and keep following us to read more about art!


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