This is a list of terms used in this blog, not a comprehensive list of watercolor or painting terminology.
aerial perspective: Objects in the distance appear not only smaller but also less distinct, less detailed, grayer (no real black or white) and bluer. Reproduction of this affect on paper is aerial perspective.
backwash: Water or wet paint added to a damp or even less wet area of paper will move into the the damp area leaving a lighter ring and a hard edge. This is know as a backwash. Although often a mistake, backwashes can also be used as a positive technique.
body paint: See Gouache.
bleeding: Pigments and water travel from high density areas to low density areas. Thus a damp area of one pigment will bleed into a wetter neighboring pigment.
canvas: Tightly woven linen or cotton cloth primed for paint. Usually displayed stretched over lathe or board.
clay board: A wood panel with a layer of paintable clay. Ampersand make aquabord just for watercolor.
cold-pressed paper: Watercolor paper comes in three basic finishes, rough, cold-pressed, and hot pressed. Cold-pressed is a medium textured paper good for most purposes.
direct painting: Applying paint by traditional methods such as brush, sponge and knife. (compare pouring)
dropping in: Adding wet paint of one color to damp or wet paint already on the paper.
dry brush: Squeezing most of the paint out of a brush and applying the brush lightly to the paper so that the texture of the paper is revealed.
gallery wrapped: A finishing method for canvass. The canvas is folded neatly around the edges stretcher bars and stapled or nailed in back rather than on the sides. The painting either continues around the canvas covering the sides of the stretchers bars or the sides are painted a neutral color. The painting can then be hung with or without a frame.
gouache: Water soluble opaque paint. Unlike watercolors which are lightened with water gauche is lightened with white gouache. Gouache is sometimes used over watercolors for emphasis or to reclaim the whites.
granulation: The tendency of courser pigments to separate and settle into the indentations of the the paper, producing a mottled or textured appearance.
granulation medium: An additive used to increase or enhance the granulatiion of pigments.
hot-pressed paper: Watercolor paper comes in three basic finishes, rough, cold-pressed, and hot pressed. Hot pressed paper is the smoothest. Paint lifts easily from hot pressed paper but hard lines form more easily at the edges of washes and paint strokes.
hard pastels: Pastels come in hard and soft. Hard pastels have more binder and less pigment. They are used for blocking in at the early stages of a pastel painting and for making small detailed strokes and lines. They do not mix as easily as soft pastels.
layering: Laying down multiple layers of transparent color so that each layer shows through. Used to create glowing or lively solids colors.
lifting: Removing paint from the paper by first wetting it and then soaking up the liquid with a dry brush, towel or sponge. Used to correct mistakes and also to create highlights. Some colors lift very easily making it difficult to lay washes over them. Other colors are practically impossible to lift at all. Everything is easier to lift from canvas and clay board.
liquid mask: A latex, rubber or other liquid used to protect the paper from paint during the painting process.
lost edge: Visually the edge of one object my blur into the another object or into the background. Reproduction of this effect by painting or drawing is called a lost edge. Like shadows, lost edges help anchor objects to the page and make them feel more real and less like they were pasted on the background.
mask: Paper, tape, or liquid placed over the paper to protect it from paint during the painting process.
ox gall: A paint additive used to increase the flow of paint to facilitate smooth washes and minimize hard lines.
pan pastels: Manufactured under the trade name PanPastels, this is pastels in a shallow container. They are even more pigmented than soft pastels. Pan pastels must be applied with an applicator.
pastels: Artists quality chalk used for drawing and painting. Pastels are highly pigmented and can be mixed on the paper.
plein air: Painting outside on location or a painting created by painting outside on location.
pouring: To pour paint over the the paper from a cup rather than to apply the paint with brushes. The technique is often used in conjunction with masking.
poured painting: A painting in which masking and pouring techniques predominate.
rough paper: Watercolor paper comes in three basic finishes, rough, cold-pressed, and hot pressed. Obviously rough is the most textured of the three. It is often used for landscapes and rustic buildings where the texture is an advantage.
salting: Sprinkling salt over wet paint to create texture. The texture is caused by the salt granules pushing the water and hence the pigments away.
sizing: A paper coating which prevents the paper from absorbing paint like a blotter. Almost all paper including copier paper is sized. Over painting and lifting can damage the sizing causing that portion of the paper to react differently to paint.
soft pastels: Pastels come in hard and soft. Soft pastels have more pigment and less binder than hard pastels. They have a creamy texture and mix easily.
staining pigments: Pigments which do not easily lift easily (or at all) from the paper after they have dried. Staining pigments make good under-washes because subsequent layers of paint are unlikely to disturb them.
under-painting: A monotone painting in a dark staining color intended to show through subsequent layers of paint. This is a good way to create rich believable shadows and rounded forms.
wash: An even layer of paint laid over a large surface.
wet on dry: Applying wet paint to dry paper. The technique results in distinct edges and is good for detail work.
wet on wet: Applying wet paint to damp paper. This technique results in soft edges with no distinct lines little detail.