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Low Tide, West Bay, watercolour and gouache, 11x10in. (28x25.5cm)
Low Tide, West Bay, watercolour and gouache, 11x10in. (28x25.5cm)

How to Correct Mistakes in Watercolour Paintings


Tony Paul - Posted on 28 Oct 2010

Lifting off

Lifting off can be used in small areas, by carefully painting a shape of water with a small brush over the error and lifting the softened colour out with kitchen roll. Where stubborn areas refuse to lift, use a fairly stiff-haired synthetic brush to rub the colour from the paper, again dabbing it off with towel. Some repetitions may be needed. With staining colours, some colour will come off, but you will not be able to remove all the colour, so take care not to damage the paper by scrubbing it too hard. The lifting-off technique can be used creatively. In
Low Tide, West Bay
(right) rather than paint around the details of the harbour wall, I painted it as a solid shape then, with a small brush, carefully lifted out the details.

The lifting-off technique

Correcting watercolour painting mistakes
Wet the paper

How to correct watercolour painting mistakes
Dab off the loosened paint

Correct a watercolour painting
Put in the new colour

See how the altered area doesn’t look like it’s been worked on. I also re-defined the edge of a fencepost with white gouache.

In the full article, which can be found in the December 2010 issue of Leisure Painter, Tony Paul also tells how to soften the tone of a watercolour painting, how to re-wet your paper and explains the technique of overlaying. Click on the cover below to purchase your copy.

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