Watercolor has many dynamics and techniques that can change the way that paint flows on paper. One technique that is considered a “negative” technique is to lift the paint. In doing this you take away from what you have put down on paper but also create more colors and shapes. To do this on wet paint you can use a normal tissue to blot and dab gently or you can use a natural sea sponge. Using a sea sponge can lighten colors and add texture.
Another technique for lifting color and creating a dynamic to any piece can be done on dry watercolor. You can use a normal watercolor brush; it is great for having more control over what you are trying to lighten. You can also spray clean water on an area of your painting and blot it with a paper towel or tissue gently because towels absorb the water quickly and tissues and tear apart. Again, with dry pieces you can use natural sea sponges that are damp. With a quick whipping motion you can lighten color.
There are many more watercolor techniques that can be found online and through our classes here at the Smithsonian. Watercolor is a way of painting that takes great patience and planning because a piece can be ruined very easily if colors mix or fade into each other in ways unplanned. Explore some techniques and tell us what you find!