Watercolor 11" x 15" Mats to 16" x 20"
Use white watercolor paint? Should I or shouldn't I?
In my watercolor painting above, Storm Tossed, I used white watercolor paint to make the white water created when the waves hit the rocks and the shore. By using white paint as well as leaving some areas white, I was able to create a turbulance that would be difficult to achieve any other way.
Watercolor painting in its purest form doesn't use white paint to tint colors or provide highlights.
Instead, white areas of paper are covered with only a very pale watered-down wash to simulate light areas or, to achieve pure white, are left unpainted altogether.
This means you have to have a good idea where these areas are going to be before you start painting. This involves some pre-planning of your picture - which is actually a very good discipline, whatever paint medium you use.
In other more opaque mediums like oil painting and acrylic painting, the artist relies on adding the finishing highlights with lighter colors or white paint. This gives a bit more flexibility if you change your painting half way through.
However, don't be put off by this. Great watercolorists often used white in their watercolor paintings.
Turner was a good example. He had to use white for some of his highlights as he frequently started off by staining his paper with tea, coffee or even wine to create a particular atmosphere!
Never use white to mix with other colors to produce a lighter shade. This is done with oils and acrylics, but never watercolor. Adding white to other colors will only “muddy” up the color.When Does a Watercolor Artist Use White Paint?
The following are suggested time to use white paint:
a. Snow - applied via spattering to create an overall effect of snow falling.
b. Spray from water, etc. (like in my painting above)
c. Highlights that would be very difficult to achieve any other way.
Remember, there's only one rule in painting and that's to enjoy yourself. So if white paint's good enough for Turner and the other greats, you go ahead and use it as well!