Can You Use Watercolor Paints with Saltwater?

Watercolor of a sea scene, to be witty about the seasalt.

People who love painting tend to have fun experimenting with their coloring processes on paper.

You may be wondering whether you can use watercolor with salt water as one of these processes. If the question, can you paint watercolor with salt water, came to your mind then, we can help you find the answer!

Salt water can be easily used for painting with watercolor by using the salt technique that helps us in providing us with a different outcome where the texture of the paint looks different and more vibrant than usual.

Let’s learn more about it below.

Basic Procedures of Watercolor Painting

The basic steps of watercolor paintingOpens in a new tab. include using the proper size of paintbrushes of fine quality while stroking the paints. Then, a palette may help in mixing the colors with the brushes and getting our desired shades in less time.

It is better to take a small amount of color at a time so that it does not get wasted. In addition to these, it is always better to have two cups of water so that when one cup gets heavilytinted, the other comes of use.

Principles of Watercolor

There are several watercolor techniques and tips which vary from surface to surface. Few are described as follows.

1 / Get the Ratio Right

The basic principle of watercolor paint is to mix the amount of color and water in a proper ratio before applying it on the watercolor paper. The more diluted we make the mixture by adding water, the lighter the shades become. This also happens the other way round in the case of the watercolor pigment.

2 / Use of White Color

In the purest technique of watercolor painting, the color white is not used. Instead of using white, patches of the paper are kept uncolored so that it depicts whiter shades. But we need to be careful while doing so.

3 / Water Wash

Some people apply the technique called ‘wash’ where the paper is brushed with water all over and made wet before being painted. This washed paper helps in absorbing the watercolor pigment quite well.

There are other techniques as well, but these depend entirely on the artist who has more control over the art and knows how he or she wants to draw and how the outcome should look like.

How to Use Salt Technique in Watercolor Paper?

Among multifarious existing techniques, you may wonder what type of watercolor technique salt technique is. This is actually a process where we use salt in our coloring process.

Here, in this process, after brushing watercolors on the paper, we need to sprinkle salt. It can be any kind of salt, but usually, table salt is used. Instead of table salt, if more granulated salt could be used, the outcome would be prettier.

This sprinkled salt acts like an added texture. It is important to note that this should be done while the painting is still very wet (not damp).

Another essential step after that is to wait for a few minutes until it is completely dry.

The only thing we will do after it dries in the air completely is brush off the salt from the paper. We may also rub the salt off with our fingertips.

Then, we can observe that, due to adding salt, a beautiful effect is created as a result.

This works best in the paint where we are portraying the sea, pond, tree foliage, flower detailing, and sky. In order to create a proper finish with good pigments, it is an amazing method to follow.

WATCH – What happens when you paint with saltwater?Opens in a new tab.

thefrugalcrafter Lindsay WeirichOpens in a new tab.

Difference Between the Painting Done by Fresh Water and Salt Water

If we sit to compare between two watercolor paintings done by two types of water, then we will see that the pigment of the saltwater painting looks more radiant than that done by the natural water.

Again, if the wash is done by saltwater that has granulated salt in them by any chance, then we will be creating patches of colors on the painting. Additionally, one may experiment by sprinkling salt on the painting to create a texture on the surface of the painting.

The different kinds of salts which may be used in this technique are table salt, sea salt, kosher salt, etc.

Seawater may contain sand which acts as another natural source of textureOpens in a new tab.. These sprinkled salts and salt particles help in enhancing the pigments of the watercolors as well.

There are a few colors like French ultramarine, ultramarine pink, ivory black, mars black, gold ochre, cobalt blue, cobalt green, cerulean blue, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, pure sienna, oxide black, etc., which are sedimented and a bit granulated in nature.

When we use these colors with salt water, the outcome appears to be more accentuated, and a nice effect is seen.

Drawbacks of Using Salt Water While Painting with Watercolor

Though you may achieve a beautiful and patterned outcome when you use salt in your painting, it also has some negative effectsOpens in a new tab..

As you know, salts may prove to be corrosive sometimes. So, when we incorporate salt in our drawings, it may react differently coming in terms of humidity. This may matter in the long run if you want to preserve your paintings.

The ferrule of the paintbrush may also be affected due to the use of salt.

Additionally, since salt is a hydrophilic substance, it tends to attract the neighboring water particles, which may have an unwanted effect on our picture.

Final Words

So, can you use watercolor with salt water? Keeping the pros and cons in your head, you may continue experimenting with the watercolor and paint with salt water!

If you were confused all this time, this article might be that sign directing you to do it to enjoy yourself!

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Ines is a self-taught artist based in the UK. Originally from Caracas, she has dabbled in the world of arts and crafts in a diversity of ways participating in city intervention projects, sustainable practices’ open exhibitions, and her illustrations being featured in anniversary editions of literary magazines.

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