To create interesting textures, watercolorists will sometimes sprinkle salt onto their wet watercolor paintings.
In the photo above, and in the wallpaper background on my blog, the use of salt created those round circle shapes in the painting. After trial and error and a lot of practice I learned that you have to add the salt to the wet paper at just the right time. Of course figuring out “just the right time” can be the tricky part, which is where the practice, practice, practice comes in.
For me, I find that waiting until the watercolor paper loses some of its sheen, but the paper is still wet works best. If the paper is too wet, it doesn’t matter how much salt I sprinkle on the paper, it won’t create any neat textures at all. The salt will just sit there in a puddle of water, waiting for the paper to dry.
I think this is one of the fun things about watercolor. I never know for certain how the salt will change the colors on the paper and what sort of neat patterns will appear. Sometimes the salt will create the most awesome effects in the painting.
So, the next time you feel like having fun experimenting with watercolor paint, just pass that salt shaker, and give it a little sprinkle right onto your painting. Let your paper dry completely and then gently rub the salt off your paper to see your latest creations! Happy painting!
Oh, and don’t forget to put the salt shaker back in your kitchen when you’re done…or you may get some funny looks!