Watercolor Layering, Lifting & Splatter Techniques

Watercolor Techniques

Watercolor techniques encompass a diverse range of methods for applying and manipulating water-based pigments on paper. Artists employ various approaches, such as wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, and dry brushing, to control the paint’s transparency, opacity, and texture.

Techniques like glazing involve layering multiple washes to achieve depth and luminosity, while masking fluids or resists are used to preserve white spaces. Gradients and washes are employed for smooth transitions, while lifting allows for correction and highlights.

Splattering, scraping, and salt effects introduce spontaneity and texture, while the use of different brushes, sponges, and palette knives adds further versatility. The delicate balance of water and pigment, coupled with these techniques, enables watercolor artists to create a wide array of expressive and captivating artworks.


In this video, I will present a few tips and methods on my approach to layering and lifting in watercolor. This was particularly important in my practice as a watercolorist because in the beginning, I remember not understanding what the fundamentals of layering and lifting were.

For example, when I started painting, I would use too much water, or not give enough time to dry in between what I would later come to understand as very crucial layers. Even understanding the little intricacies of which brush to use was so very important in the learning and creative process.

As many artists will do, I also began applying layer over layer whether wet on wet or dry, I noticed how colors would become murky, the graduation was not what I had intended, and before you know it, you have a greatly overworked painting.


The  transparency and complimenting blending of watercolors is very much what makes watercolors so special and unique in comparison to other forms of painting. The atmosphere, the glow, and even the texture of the paper give life to what forms from these layers.

I hope this information along with a few cues as to when and how lifting comes into play to accent your watercolor paintings will be helpful fundamental tools in your own work. Remember, whether this is your very first attempt at watercolors or have just found yourself at the crossroads of improvement as I had, these tips are all part of play and experimentation.

Whatever road may lie ahead for your own painting story is up to you. Enjoy the journey and enjoy experimenting with watercolors!

This particular video was created with numerous tools listed below. Give it a watch to see how it comes together while giving it a try with a similar style or create your own interpretation. Thank you.


What is a splatter technique?

Why and when would you want to implement such a technique?

In creating art, particularly in watercolor painting, there is an opportunity to use one of the most spontaneous and visually exciting techniques. The use of splatter painting suggests spontaneity, improvisation, and exploration of the unknown with your painting. Having a visual accent to add with this technique can be quite fun as well.

In this video, I invite you to explore further into the many uses of this technique and perhaps create your own style and technique for creating splatter in your artwork.

Hopefully, you will be able to achieve certain effects and continue the aspects of play and exploration as well as maybe be free to be a bit messy too!