Three Watercolor Mark-Making Tips from the Kitchen

If you lack an art studio and consequently play with wet media in the kitchen or dining room, you are in luck. You have easy access to culinary you can use in your artwork.  Here are three mark-making ideas that will spice up your watercolor painting. All use supplies from the kitchen.

reductive mark making technique jacqueline newbold
Jacqueline Newbold uses a Mr. Clean eraser and a stencil
as mark-making tools to create patterns.

Jacqueline Newbold creates beautiful representational watercolor paintings in her art journals. But Jacqueline also has an unusual technique for mark making to create patterned backgrounds in her paintings and journals.

After you've painted a wash on your page, place a stencil over the area where you want to add a pattern (or letters). Then take a damp Mr. Clean Eraser sponge and lightly rub it over the stencil openings. The eraser will "clean" the paint off, leaving the design on the page.

I learned several mark making technique with watercolors from another Jacqueline, Jacqueline Sullivan. My favorite mark-making technique involves plastic wrap. First, lay down a wash in a strong color or combination of colors on your page. Then, take a piece of plastic wrap, crumple it, and lay it on top of the paint, making sure that the plastic is in contact with the wet pigment. 

mark making with plastic wrap and paint
I created this pattern with plastic wrap and watercolors using a technique by
Jacqueline Sullivan.

Let the painting dry with the plastic wrap in place; this may take 24 hours or more. Remove the plastic wrap, and you will see the wrinkles have left marks in the paint wash. These lines can be enhanced with metallic colors or white ink to form more pronounced and decorative abstract shapes.

This last mark making idea comes from artist Diana Trout. It's a resist technique, similar to the invisible writing you did as a child. Place a piece of wax paper over your watercolor paper. Using a stylus (or other dull-pointed object like a dry pen), draw a design or letters on the wax paper. Remove the wax paper and paint over the surface of the watercolor paper with a wash. Voilà, the marks will be revealed!

You'd be surprised how versatile watercolor is for mixed-media art and mark making when you use a little kitchen wisdom , and supplies.

To discover more mark making techniques and other ways with watercolors and mixed media, be sure to check out Water Media Collage Workshop, an instructional DVD with Carrie Burns Brown and other wet media supplies from the Cloth Paper Scissors Shop.

P.S. Do you use kitchen supplies in your artwork? How? What's the oddest thing you've ever used? Leave your comment below.


Blog, Mixed-Media Painting Techniques, Mixed-Media Techniques


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