Sketching Out Blog: Sketches of art, watercolor, photos, recipes, books, interviews, Jewish topics, and Highland Park, New Jersey

Salting In Watercolor Painting

Jill teaches art in Highland Park. Stay tuned for Leora’s attempt at a “salty” painting.

Salting is a fun technique for adding texture to your watercolor painting. It works by absorbing water and pushing away the pigment around each grain of salt. You just use regular table salt, but the larger grain Kosher salt can offer you further texture possibilities.

Salting works best on darker and fully saturated color. You lay down paint on the area, then throw salt where you want the effect while it’s still wet. Working quickly is of the essence, so have all your paints and tools ready to go. The secret is too not over do it with the amount of salt. If you put on too much you won’t see where the individual grains have absorbed the water and pushed away the color around it.

It looks particularly nice for representing snow or ocean spray in a seascape, but also just a good general textural device. You can experiment with larger amounts of salt just to built various textures. Fun stuff.

Salty Night

Enjoy, and I’ll post more techniques soon.

Art Teacher Jill

therapydoc says

Very cool. I'm always telling people to get out and throw some paint.

Jill says

Thanks therapydoc. That's good advice.

Ariella says

The sky has echoes of Van Gogh's Starry Night

Pesky Settler says

Oh that's just SO pretty. I've worked with salting once when I attended a silk painting evening with some of the ladies ont he settlement. Lovely effect.

Jill says

Ariella and Pesky Settler-
Thank you so much for the compliments! I'm so flattered to be compared to Van Gogh in any way. I've always liked swirling patterns, so that's probably what brings to mind Van Gogh's work.
I didn't know salting could be used with silk painting. That's pretty interesting.
Thanks again for your interest.

Flassie says

That is so cool! I like swirling paint also.
It did it on my elephant collage and also do
it when I use modpodge.

God Bless Your Creative Year!!!

Jill says

Thanks Flassie!
I checked out your website. Very nice. The elephant collage is really fun.
Happy creating to you too!

Regina says

Very pretty. I love texture techniques with watercolor.
You might add that you'll lose the effect if the paper is too wet. Been there, done that. ;)


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