Here's a watercolor tutorial for lifting paint out of your paintings. Why? Well, removing color from a painting can be used to correct mistakes or to introduce some neat painting effects. Below, I tell you how to remove paint color from a painting while that paint layer is still wet or after it has dried.
One thing I want to note is that your success with this watercolor tutorial can depend on the "staining" power of the original paint layer you want to lift. I mentioned on my watercolor paint and on my staining page that some paint colors will stain paper and be impossible to remove without damaging the paper. Most paint manufacturers have charts which will tell you the staining power of a color.
Experience will tell you too. For instance, I learned the hard way that it is impossible to remove colors such as phthalo blue from watercolor paper after they are applied and allowed to dry. Worse, painting over them with different colors of paint does not dim them. Staining paints still shine through any new color layers that you apply, unless you use a really opaque paint, and by then, why bother? Watercolor paintings are not meant to be opaque. So if you plan to lift out color as a design goal for your painting, pay attention to the staining power of your paint choices.
To lift paint while it is still wet, have a container of clean water, a watercolor brush and a towel or paper towel ready and follow these steps:
Important Note: Be aware that because the surrounding paint is still wet, it will flow into the cleared, but damp area on the paper, especially if you don’t blot the water you’ve introduced.
Look at the green paint splotch on the left. It was wet when I brushed through it. I didn't blot it and the remaining wet paint flowed back into that cleared area. It's kind of a neat effect but if you mean to lift out a straight line in a wet painting, be aware.
The paint splotch on the right in the picture above was dry. You can the straight line of where I brush through with a wet paintbrush. Here are the steps to lift paint if it is already dry:
You can also use small sponge pieces to remove paint from a watercolor painting. Many artists use bits of sponge to get various affects for landscape paintings.
Here’s a tree trunk done with brush and sponges.
It’s a neat way to paint a rough natural surface such as a tree trunck, and it works great for stone and rock too.
Hope this watercolor tutorial on lifting paint has been helpful. If you have any questions, send me a message from my contact page. I'll do my best to answer them, and I hope to upload more tutorials for you as time goes on.