Jeff Watkins, Medina Street Market (1994),  9x13", watercolor, Courtesy of the artist

Jeff Watkins, Medina Street Market (1994),  9x13", watercolor, Courtesy of the artist

"Achieving Abstract Art through Watercolor" by Dan Tarnowski

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

After a semester worth of becoming familiar with watercolor, I have quietly become fascinated with abstract watercolor paintings and techniques. It could be anything from using rubber cement or lemon juice as masking fluids to using different objects as texture or pattern creators; sometimes the process of creating an abstract watercolor may be more impressive than the finished work.

For instance, the artwork highlighted in the blog, created by Sally Meding, is an award-winning artist who focuses on semi-abstract artworks. The watercolor was created by using household objects and fabrics for patterns. The hexagonal shapes were created by letting the pigment hold in the tiny “wells” in a rubber hardware store floor mat. This is just a small example of the countless ways artists wash, pour, and alter your watercolor paintings in an abstract manner. Meding also uses an assortment of household objects to create textures in her artwork. She uses toothbrushes, sequined fabrics, hole-punched plastics, stencils, and hand carved stamps as a few resources to finalize her abstract look.

During the course of this class, I saw techniques using gravity to drip paint, straws to move the paint with breath, and plastic wrap to let paint dry in a wrinkled pattern. The possibilities are limitless. A particular technique of lifting paint off the surface can be done using rags, tissue paper, sponges, and different textures of fabrics. These are just a few ways to achieve diverse abstract effects with watercolor.

The medium of watercolor and the seemingly endless opportunities to add creative textures and patterns seems to be the most accessible and intriguing techniques in my opinion. The list of potential ways to alter a watercolor painting is never-ending, with so many varied and unique outcomes. What are some of the most unusual and unconventional methods you have used to achieve your style of watercolor painting?

Daniel Tarnowski


Daniel Tarnowski is a graduate student at Buffalo State in Technology Education. He has an undergraduate degree from University at Buffalo in Environmental Design with a minor in Architecture.