There's a reason why watercolor painting is so popular. Not only are the paints more affordable than their acrylic and oil counterparts, but their portability makes them ideal for artists to work en plein air. However, there's more to watercolor painting than pans and tubes. Watercolor mediums are a great way to enhance your artwork in unique and creative ways. They are used in addition to pigment and have specific features that change a characteristic (or characteristics) of your paint.
Most watercolorists are familiar with the standard watercolor medium—which enhances transparency and vibrancy—but there are many other kinds available. The iridescent medium, for instance, adds a glittering pearlescent effect when mixed with wet paint or applied on top of dry layers. You can also achieve a mottled effect by diluting colors with a granulation medium.
Check out our selection of the best watercolor mediums below.
Want to try using a watercolor medium in your next painting? Here are 9 cool supplies to try.
This high-quality opalescent medium by Maimeri increases the transparency and brightness of your paints and improves the adhesion onto paper.
The ox gall medium by Holbein is an artist-grade wetting agent that enhances wet-on-wet techniques and makes the paper more receptive to the pigment.
Gum arabic solution is an ideal medium for artists who would like more control when painting wet-on-wet or would like to slow the drying time of their paints. This product by Daler-Rowney comes in a 75 ml bottle that will carry you through numerous creative projects.
This iridescent medium by Da Vinci will add glittering effects to water, flowers, skies, and anything else that you want. You can either mix the medium with wet paint or apply it on top of your finished work of art.
If you would like to give your watercolor washes a mottled appearance, try using the granulation medium by Winsor & Newton. All you have to do is dilute the paint with the medium before you apply it to your art.
The texture medium by Winsor & Newton contains fine particles that add depth and structure when mixed with watercolor paint or applied directly to paper.
Aquapasto and Impasto Gel
Pasto is a thickening gel used to create texture and add extra gloss. Best suited for tube watercolors, you can mix it with the paint or apply it directly onto the painting surface with a palette knife.
Watercolor painting is a lot about going with the flow. However, if you want to make corrections, then the lifting preparation medium by Winsor & Newton can help. It allows dry washes to be more easily lifted from paper with a wet brush.
If you've ever wanted to try using watercolor on a surface other than paper, then the watercolor ground medium by Daniel Smith is for you. Apply it on an absorbent surface, let it dry, and you will have a smooth, brushable canvas. It's even available in iridescent gold and black.
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This article has been edited and updated.
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