By Matt Fussell
The phrase "lifting watercolor" means to remove or erase watercolor from the surface of a painting. Often times, the need arises to lift watercolor paint from the surface of your painting. Lifting refers to the process of removing the paint after it has been applied.
There are several other watercolor painting techniques that protect areas from paint to preserve the white. These watercolor techniques are different from lifting. There are actually several different lifting techniques.
This page addresses the process of lifting watercolor by applying water and removing the reactivated paint from the surface.
It's very easy to do this technique. All you need is water, a brush, and a paper towel. Simply load the brush with water and paint into the areas where you want paint removed. Then blot the area with the paper towel.
This will result in the paint lifting off of the surface. When you add water to the surface, you are actually reactivating the paint, enabling you to remove it. You can use this technique to lighten up areas or make areas completely white.
Now the exciting part. If you want to enhance the lifting of the watercolor, you can add a bit of bleach to your water. A mixture of 50% water and 50% bleach works well. Be careful though. Bleach can destroy your brush! Use a synthetic brush for this technique.
The following video demonstrates how to lift watercolor paint to create the illusion of clouds...