Five watercolour mediums to transform your artwork

Add new dimensions to your artwork and reinvent your paintings altogether. Whether you’re blending, adding texture or layering and juxtaposing washes within your watercolour practice, our extensive range of mediums will add new dimensions to your artwork. Read on to learn about five key mediums that can transform the way you work with watercolour, allowing you to explore a range of fresh creative possibilities.

1. Granulation Medium


How is it used?

Granulation Medium can be used when you want to add interesting dimensions to otherwise flat areas. It gives a mottled appearance to colours that normally have a smooth wash, or it can enhance the effect of granulating colours. This medium is useful for all watercolour techniques, including landscape painting, seascapes and figurative work.

For maximum effect, dilute watercolours with the medium alone. By diluting the colour further with water, a variety of results can be achieved. Granulation Medium is resoluble simply by re-wetting. It is also greatly affected by different watercolour papers. For maximum granulation use rough paper; for less granulation use a medium texture surface.

2. Blending Medium


How is it used?

This medium slows the drying time of watercolour to allow for more blending. It can be used in a number of different ways. For maximum blending time, mix the Blending Medium directly with watercolour. Alternatively, you can apply the medium directly to the paper in preparation for the watercolour.

Dilution with water will produce a range of blending and drying times. Drying rates will vary and depend on temperature and air flow. Any initial beading of colours will disperse as blending continues. Once dry, further washes can be applied over any washes which include Blending Medium.

3. Lifting Preparation Medium


How is it used?

Lifting Preparation allows dry colour washes, including staining colours, to easily lift from paper with a wet brush or rag. It must be applied to paper first and allowed to dry. To use, apply to the whole surface. Once it’s dry, continue painting washes as normal over the Lifting Preparation Medium and allow these to dry.

Areas or details can then be removed by taking a soft brush dipped in tap water, gently moistening the area to be removed and blotting off the dissolved colour. For larger areas, a sponge can be used in place of the brush. This process can be repeated until the required degree of removal is achieved. The areas you’ve removed can then be left white or painted over with further washes.

Washes will be most successfully lifted within five or six hours of the initial application, but will remain more removable than if paper alone had been used. Lifting Preparation does not make the watercolour more soluble, so there is no need to worry about multiple washes becoming muddy.

4. Permanent Masking Medium


How is it used?

Permanent Masking is designed to mask areas of paper and make them water resistant. It can be applied directly to white paper or to dried washes on the paper. Alternatively, it can be mixed with watercolours first.

All watercolour washes mixed with Permanent Masking Medium remain open and workable while the wash is still wet. Once dry, the area becomes isolated and cannot be fully penetrated by further washes. A hairdryer can be used to speed up the drying process. Brushes should be washed in warm water and soap before using other colours.

The example above shows areas of paper that have been treated with Permanent Masking Medium and allowed to dry. When the watercolour wash is then painted over, these areas remain isolated.

Unlike Art Masking Fluid, Permanent Masking Medium is not removable, it can be added to colour and its brushes are easier to clean. Art Masking Fluid is recommended for crisp whites and larger areas of masking, and is faster drying, while Permanent Masking Medium is recommended for fine detail and expressive effects within the painting.

How does Permanent Masking Medium differ from Art Masking Fluid?

  • Permanent Masking Medium is not removable
  • Permanent Masking Medium can be added to colour
  • Brushes are easier to clean
  • Art Masking Fluid is recommended for crisp whites and larger areas of masking, and is faster drying, while Permanent Masking Medium is recommended for fine detail and expressive effects within the painting.

5. Texture Medium


How is it used?

Texture Medium is used to add fine texture to paintings, creating the impression of depth and structure. It can be applied directly to the paper or mixed with watercolour first.

More layers of colour can be applied over the top. Texture Medium is resoluble but – as with all watercolour washes – some colour will remain on the paper.

Usage Chart

Masks or isolates areas
Designed to be removed
Improves flow
Controls flow
Increases wetting
Increases gloss
Increases transparency
Slows drying
Pearlescent or glitter effect
Mottled or granulated effect
Structure or texture
Art Masking Fluid
Colourless Art Masking Fluid
Gum Arabic  ✔  ✔  ✔  ✔  ✔
Ox Gall
 ✔  ✔
Aquapasto  ✔  ✔
Granulation Medium  ✔
Lifting Preparation
Permanent Masking Medium  ✔
Blending Medium  ✔
Texture Medium  ✔
Iridescent Medium  ✔


Explore our full range of mediums here