If you’re wondering about correcting watercolor mistakes, look no further. Several wonderful companies have created a product called watercolor ground. You paint it on just like you’d used paint. But then, it actually becomes part of the paper and you can paint right over it.
Last night, I had a wonderful evening with the Mrs. We played a board game called Pandemic where you actually work as a team to save the world from pandemic diseases. You either save the world together or you both lose. It’s a cooperative board game, very different from most games.
Anyways, I had a lot of Scotch to drink. I like my Scotch. And I had the bright idea to ink some parts of my watercolor without penciling first. Yeah, ’twas dumb. But it happens.
Well, I inked the armpit lines in the wrong place.
No worries! I simply let the ink dry, then let the watercolor ground do its job.
I took this shot before I added any paint so you can see my mistake. That’s how the watercolor ground looks like when it’s drying. It’s like white out for watercolors.
Correcting watercolor mistakes
If you’re wondering how to use it, it’s very simple. With the watercolor ground, you simply wet your brush and paint on the watercolor ground over the mistake. Note that it generally takes three layers of ground to cover the mistake completely.
Qor and Daniel Smith both make quality products. To be honest, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend one over the other. They both do a pretty good job at correcting watercolor mistakes.
That said, I would not recommend using watercolor ground on wood if you’re painting with watercolors. I can’t speak for you, but when I’m painting on wood, I want the wood to show through. The ground when it dries will look like blank watercolor paper.
Remember to wait 24 hours for it to dry. The first time I used it, I made the mistake of waiting only an hour and it didn’t dry completely. So some of it came off when I started painting. I made that mistake already so you don’t have to. (In other words, feel free to learn from my mistakes).
Also, some folks use watercolor ground to paint on weird surfaces. I’ve read about people painting on glass or metal after adding a few layers of watercolor ground. I haven’t tried that yet so I can’t tell you how well that works.
Two last things
Be sure to clean your brush thoroughly after the final layer of ground. Since it dries with the consistency of paper, I imagine it’s hard on your brushes.
And second, I don’t fully recommend watercolor ground for fixing mistakes. Watercolor is transparent and if you look closely, you can see the watercolor ground through your paint. The way around that is to use gouache and either keep gouache for that part or paint watercolor over the gouache, which can bring up yet another problem.
But try this out in your watercolor journal first. You may or may not be happy with the results.