The saturation of a colour undiluted by white, or darkened with black.


Colour Theory

Understanding how colours work.

The organization and placement of elements such as objects or people in a painting.
Dropping in Color

Introducing a color to a wet region of the painting and allowing it to bleed without controlling it.

Dry Brush

Pigment loaded brush (with almost no water) is dragged over completely dry paper creating crisp hard edged marks.

En Plein Air

Is simply French for "Fresh Air"

Flat Washes

Is produced by applying paint to wet paper in the area to be covered and laid down to even itself out and dry.

Gesture Drawing

Quick drawing to capture movement or action. Often used as a warm-up.


Thin, transparent pigment applied over dry existing washes to adjust the color and tone of the underlying wash.


A water based paint consisting of pigment and materials such as chalk designed to be used in opaque painting.

Graded Wash
The pigment is diluted slightly with more water for each horizontal stroke resulting in a wash that fades out gradually and evenly. Tipping your board lets gravity carry the pigment downward.
Pigment where particles drop out of the binder/water solution and settle into the texture of the watercolor paper to add lovely random patterning.

The colour of a paint or a manufacturer's notation that the colour is made from materials not originally found in that colour to make it cheaper or lightfast.

Life Drawing

A "life drawing" is a drawing of the human figure from observation of a live model.

Lifting Off

A removal technique where watercolor pigment can be dissolved and lifted off after the paint has dried. Dampen with a brush and blot with tissue.

Loose Painting

Avoiding a too stiff and rigid painting style.

Lost and Found Edges

Subtle softening of some edges while others are well defined or hard.


Blocking off sections of the painting to prevent the paint from making contact. A masking fluid or packing tape can be applied to make areas resistant to watercolor.


Types of paint such as oils, acrylic and watercolour are pigment suspended or embedded in a binding agent such as oil, polymer or gum arabic.

Negative Painting

Paint the shapes and edges around featured objects.

Light reflects off the paint rather than the white of the paper making is appear flat and dull, even with bright colours. The paint blocks the reflection of the white of the paper.

Soft pastel is pigment bound together in stick form.  It looks like highly saturated chalk.


Materials used for colouring paint.  Can be organic or chemical.


The face is the focus of the artwork even if it shows the whole body and environment around it.

Positive Painting

Painting the areas that are the subject or areas of interest.

Primary Colours

Red, Yellow and Blue


The relative size and scale of the various elements in a work of art. The relationship between objects or parts of a whole.

Removal Techniques

Methods of lifting watercolour paint from a painting while either still slightly damp or dried.

Secondary Colours

Two primary colours mixed together to get Orange, Green or Purple.


Pigment soaks into top layers of paper making it almost impossible to remove but can leave a lighter version of the colour.

Still Life
A work of art usually depicting inanimate subject matter such as natural items like food, feathers, and plants or man-made objects such as dishes, books, clothing, or baskets. 
Tertiary Colours

Mixing a primary and secondary colour to get yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green & yellow-green.

Thumbnail Sketches
Very small preliminary sketches (2" X 2" or 3") simplified into the 5 or 6 basic shapes. Great way to make compositional decisions before working on a large piece.

Allows the white of the paper to reflect back through the paint.


Is simply how light or dark a colour is.

Watercolour Paints

Watercolor is a painting method in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water soluble binding agent such as gum arabic.

Wet in Wet
The process of applying pigment to wet paper.