Terms and Techniques

Acrylic and Watercolor Painting Terms and Techniques

Brush Mixing – Picking up two or more colors on the brush and applying them to the paper or canvas mixing them as you paint. The colors are more varied. 
Double Load – A technique of loading a brush with two or more colors. Not the same as brush mixing, usually to create a two toned or more shape.
Dry Brush – Using a brush with little pigment and very little medium (water or thinner).
Dry Brush Blending – Fading one color out from dark to light gradually, or to gradually mix one color into another so there are no hard lines.  (Acrylic)
Feathering – Using the brush very lightly across the surface of the paper “Three hairs and some air.” It is a blending technique. (Acrylic)
Hard Edge – A sharp, well defined line between one color or area and another.
Negative Painting – Painting the area around an object and all spaces with little or nothing in them. (Primarily Watercolor)
Palette Mixing – Mixing two or more colors together on the palette before applying them to the paper. The color is more even.
Positive Painting – Painting the object itself.
Scumbling – A random use of brush strokes used to create texture. (Primarily Acrylic)
Scraping or Embossing – Using something (the end of a brush, credit card, knife fingernail, etc.) to scrape or draw lines into an area that is still wet to create effects
Shading – Similar to blending usually refers to shadows and highlights on an object.
Soft Edge – A non-distinct line between one area or color and another.
Splattering – Scattering paint on painting using a flipping motion of the brush. A tooth brush can be used by loading it with paint and running a finger or brush to flip the paint off of the bristles.
Wash – A coat of paint using more water or thinner then pigment, to create a very transparent color.
Wet on Dry – Putting color down on dry paper (watercolor)/canvas.
Wet on Wet – Putting color down on wet paper (watercolor) or mixing into wet paint (acrylic or oil)