Watercolor, also known as aquarelle, is a captivating and expressive medium that involves the use of water-soluble pigments to create stunning artworks. As a beginner, understanding the unique terminology associated with watercolor can greatly enhance your learning experience and artistic journey. Below is a comprehensive list of over 50 words and terms related to watercolor painting, grouped by categories, along with explanations to help you grasp their meanings.
Basic Techniques and Concepts:
- Wash: A thin layer of diluted pigment applied to the paper to create a soft, even color.
- Dry Brush: Applying concentrated pigment to dry paper, often used for fine details or texture.
- Wet-on-Wet: Applying wet paint onto wet paper to create soft blends and diffusion.
- Wet-on-Dry: Applying wet paint onto dry paper for precise and controlled edges.
- Glazing: Applying thin, transparent layers of color to achieve depth and richness.
- Lifting: Removing wet paint with a brush, sponge, or tissue to create highlights or correct mistakes.
- Masking Fluid: A liquid applied to preserve areas of white paper by repelling paint.
- Salt Technique: Sprinkling salt on wet paint for unique textures and patterns as it dries.
- Gradient: A smooth transition of color intensity from light to dark.
- Bleeding: Allowing two or more colors to touch and blend spontaneously.
Brushes and Tools:
- Round Brush: A versatile brush with a round tip, used for both broad strokes and details.
- Flat Brush: A brush with a flat, square-edged tip, ideal for washes and straight lines.
- Liner Brush: A thin brush with long bristles, suitable for fine lines and intricate details.
- Hake Brush: A soft, wide brush used for applying washes and creating soft edges.
- Palette: A surface used to mix and blend colors before applying them to the paper.
- Sponges: Natural or synthetic sponges used for various texturing techniques.
- Easel: A stand that holds the paper at an angle, aiding in paint application.
Pigments and Colors:
- Pigment: Colored substance used to make paint.
- Hue: The color family or name of a pigment (e.g., red, blue, green).
- Transparency: The degree to which light passes through a color layer.
- Opacity: The extent to which a color blocks the underlying layers.
- Primary Colors: Red, blue, and yellow—fundamental colors used to mix all other colors.
- Secondary Colors: Orange, green, and purple—result from mixing two primary colors.
- Complementary Colors: Colors opposite each other on the color wheel, creating contrast.
- Warm Colors: Reds, oranges, yellows—associated with energy and warmth.
- Cool Colors: Blues, greens, purples—convey calmness and serenity.
Paper and Surfaces:
- Watercolor Paper: Specifically designed to withstand water and absorb paint.
- Cold Press: Textured paper surface that holds paint well and provides interesting textures.
- Hot Press: Smooth paper surface ideal for intricate detail work.
- Stretching: Wetting and taping down paper to prevent warping when wet. Read our guide here
- Color Wheel: A circular tool depicting the relationship between colors.
- Tertiary Colors: Colors formed by mixing a primary color with a neighboring secondary color.
- Tint: A color mixed with white, resulting in a lighter shade.
- Shade: A color mixed with black, resulting in a darker tone.
- Saturation: The intensity or purity of a color.
Washes and Textures:
- Flat Wash: Applying a single, even color over a large area.
- Graded Wash: Applying a color that transitions from dark to light or vice versa.
- Variegated Wash: Applying a wash with varying degrees of color intensity.
- Sponging: Dabbing a sponge on wet paint for textured effects.
- Scumbling: Applying a dry brush over a wet wash to create texture.
Composition and Elements:
- Composition: The arrangement of elements within a painting.
- Foreground: The area of the painting closest to the viewer.
- Middle Ground: The area between the foreground and background.
- Background: The area farthest from the viewer.
- Negative Space: The empty or unoccupied areas in a composition.
- Dry on Dry: Applying dry paint on dry paper to add final details.
- Signature: Artist’s name on the artwork, often in the corner.
- Fixative: A spray to protect and preserve finished watercolor paintings.
- Blooming: Unintended diffusion of paint due to excessive water.
- Muddying: Creating a dull or muddy color by overmixing complementary colors. Read more about fixes here.
Remember, learning watercolor is a delightful journey of exploration and practice. Familiarizing yourself with these terms will provide a strong foundation to develop your skills and create captivating watercolor artworks. Enjoy the process, experiment, and embrace the unique qualities of this captivating medium!