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Watercolor Tip: Lifting Out and Adding Colors

Watercolor is an amazing medium—once mixed with water, it takes on all the properties of that element. Water responds to the laws of gravity and evaporation; exploiting those laws is the basis for many different watercolor techniques.

Lifting Out (Wet) and Adding Colors

In this example, paint has been added to areas that have been lifted out. In order to create soft edges, the whole area must be re-wetted. A large wash brush is useful.

1. Colors are dropped onto wet paper and allowed to blend


2. While still wet, a scrunched up tissue is used to lift out areas of cloud. The paint is then allowed to dry.

watercolor 2

3. Once the paint has dried, the whole picture is re-wetted with a large brush and clean water. As the water begins to soak in, dark gray is painted along the upper edges of the clouds.

watercolor 3

4. The effect is one of clouds lit from below. Note how watercolor always appears lighter when dry.

watercolor 4

Images and text excerpted from Different Strokes: Watercolor by Naomi Tydeman

What other uses for this technique can you think of?

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