Salt Washes in Watercolor

If you’re looking to add texture and other interesting effects with your watercolors, just pass the salt!  I like using this technique to make background papers for collage, but paintings can come alive with all the random patterns salt creates.  It’s especially successful at capturing realistic atmospheric conditions, rugged terrain and underwater sea life.  You’ll need: 140 lb. watercolor paper or cold-pressed illustration board, assortment of watercolors and Kosher or sea salt.


First, wet your paper surface with clear water.  Start brushing watercolor or dropping the paint onto the surface.  Continue adding your colors of choice, working quickly to ensure the surface remains damp.  Sprinkle the salt randomly or deliberately into the colors.  Let completely dry.


Once your surface is dry, brush off all the salt into a trash can.  It’s always exciting to see what types of patterns have emerged from where you sprinkled the salt.  The deeper the paint color used, the more contrast will appear.  If only sections of the paper are visually appealing, you can tear them apart and save them for a future collage.  Waiting for the effects that this sodium sensation creates, is half the fun!  A simple technique that uses a kitchen staple to unleash amazing results…give it a try!  


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