Winsor & Newton Watercolour Mediums with Kim O’Neil
September 17, 2021
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Paint mediums - you’d be forgiven if you ever wondered what they do and how to use them as there’s not much information out there, particularly about watercolour mediums.  This article will help you unleash their amazing properties!

Paint mediums - you’d be forgiven if you ever wondered what they do and how to use them as there’s not much information out there, particularly about watercolour mediums.  This article will help you unleash their amazing properties!

Used correctly both mediums and additives can help you to use watercolour in ways you’d never expected or to resolve previously encountered problems. One common difficulty is controlling the spread of watercolour paint whilst you make the colour more translucent by adding water.
To keep your mix more viscose you can use Winsor & Newton Gum Arabic Medium. Gum Arabic is already used in watercolour paints as the binder; this is the property that holds the pigment together and stays liquid in tube colour, but is hardened to make watercolour pan. When you add this to paint you’re essentially adding more binder and unlike water it won’t cause spread.

So just imagine, you have an area of the painting that you don’t want to flow or spread into another area, so instead of using water use Gum Arabic medium. Just add the desired amount to your paint – note that the more medium the more translucent your mix will be. This mix will stay viscose so it's great for detail and for containing shapes.

Another great way of unlocking your use of watercolour is to try Winsor & Newton Watercolour Blending Medium.
If you’ve ever tried to blend gradients of colour with watercolour you’ll know how tricky this is and how the paint often dries too quickly.  However, if you add a few drops of Blending Medium into each of your colours this will slow down the drying time and result in greater blendability.

Blending Medium is also a ‘must have’ for your holiday kit as it will keep paint on your surface wetter for longer in the open sunshine. So when you’re out sitting on the Cornish coastline you won’t need to rush your plein air painting.

This brings me onto Winsor & Newton Iridescent Watercolour Medium; as you’re sitting painting your seascape, or you’re in your painting studio freshly inspired by a coastal visit, you might try Iridescent Medium. This is the ‘go to’ medium for creating a shimmer on the surface of water or for adding energy to your depiction of wild seafoam spray. It can be used on it’s own, within or on top of any watercolour painting, and is totally intermixable with any watercolour paint. I love to mix it with Cotman tube watercolours, however I’m mindful which colours I choose as the iridescence can get cancelled out in very opaque colours. So check the opacity rating on each tube.

When I’m using watercolour in my studio, or I’m out and about making plein air studies with watercolour, I like to create something a little bit different. This summer using a palette knife with watercolour seems to be trending. It sounds a bit odd but this technique can give you spectacular results.

I wet my paper’s surface with water and a large Cotman wash brush (an absolute must have), then I use a Winsor & Newton Palette Knife No.24 30mm blade to apply a mix of Cotman tube watercolour and Winsor & Newton Aquapasto Medium. Where the application is thick the paint stays viscose with the Aquapasto Medium, but where it’s thinner it spreads in the water.  This creates some amazing effects and is definitely worth a try!

Another technique to try if you dare to be a bit different, is to create grainy texture within your watercolour painting. Winsor & Newton Watercolour Texture Medium can be used mixed with watercolour paint or on its own within the layers of a watercolour painting. I like to mix it with Cotman tube colour and again apply it onto a wet paper surface with a Winsor & Newton Palette Knife No.24. This creates organic patterns and a grainy texture within my painting.  This can also be applied to describe something more traditional, such as the texture on a shingle beach or the patina on a building.

And another good thing to know is that when using Winsor & Newton paints and mediums their permanence and intermixability has been rigorously tested.

So why not try something you haven’t tried before?

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Remember to share your Watercolour creations, tagging @londongraphiccentre


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