Julie Ann Karlsson | Watercolor Embossing Effects Using DANIEL SMITH Titanium White Watercolor Ground!
I love color, though to be honest, turquoise was never my favorite color. There are many great blues, but I was never a big fan of turquoise. That is, until I tried DANIEL SMITH’s Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Genuine!

I discovered that there is turquoise—and then there’s TURQUOISE!

What a delicious color and texture!! It creates beautiful skies, fascinating water, mixes to make yummy greens and generally it is a great addition to my palette. I also love the fact that it really is REAL Genuine Turquoise! Like wearing jewelry on my watercolor paper!

Just to make it even more fun I began these tulips by applying a layer of DANIEL SMITH Titanium White Watercolor Ground to canvas panel (canvas mounted over rigid board) and then proceeded to create an underlying structure of the tulip shapes with a palette knife and more of the Watercolor Ground. Basically, I created an embossed or raised surface above my watercolor paper with the Ground which added some 3-dimensional effects to my tulip painting. Tip – I have found that a hard surface is ideal when applying Ground in thicker amounts because the rigid support will prevent cracking.

After letting it dry thoroughly overnight (overnight for low humidity, longer with higher humidity to allow the Ground to properly cure) the 3-D structure is ready for painting. Washes of wet, juicy watercolor interact nicely with the modeled ground, making great interest and contrast where it settles into the crevices. Here I used mainly Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, Hansa Yellow Medium and Quinacridone Burnt Orange.

I love how the Watercolor Ground added surface height and dimension to my tulips creating an exciting effect to my painting!

Enjoy the unending possibilities that Watercolor Ground provides—and treat yourself to some Turquoise!

-Julie Karlsson

DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Grounds:

  • Archival and acid free
  • Creates a soft, absorbent surface similar to cold press watercolor paper
  • Excellent surface for all watercolors
  • The Watercolor Ground surface holds up to vigorous scrubbing without any damage
  • Heavily pigmented with a thick, brushable consistency
  • Easy Application
  • Repair and rescue paintings
  • Transparent watercolors can now be shown on any surface
  • Frame without Glass
  • Fantastic for multi-media work—combine with decorative paper, acrylics, pastel, colored pencil, pen and ink, stamps, collage and much more
  • Available in 6 colors: Titanium White, Pearlescent White, Iridescent Gold, Buff Titanium, Mars Black and Transparent
  • Nothing else like it on the market.

Tips for using DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Grounds

Absorbent or semi-absorbent surfaces require no special prep beyond making sure the surface is clean before brushing on DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Ground. These include paper, canvas and other fabrics, wood, plaster, shells and hardboard. Non-absorbent surfaces such as metal, plastic or glass should be lightly abraded with sandpaper or steel wool before brushing on the Watercolor Ground.

We recommend using Watercolor Ground straight from the container. It has a thick, brushable consistency. Use a soft-haired synthetic brush, foam brush or foam roller for a smoother finish, or a hog bristle brush for a more textured finish. The ground is highly pigmented so one coat will cover most surfaces; very absorbent surfaces such as unfinished softwood may require two coats, please allow the first coat to cure before adding the second. Wash brushes immediately after use and do not use your good brushes!
TIP – when using the Watercolor Ground to Rescue a Painting, thin some Watercolor Ground in a small dish with up to 10% of water and use a soft brush like a hake brush.

Let Watercolor Ground dry and cure for at least 24 hours. This allows it to attain the right degree of absorption.
Painting DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Ground works beautifully with watercolors and thinned acrylics. Because it creates a surface more absorbent than paper, you will want to use less water with your paint. Experiment and see what works best for you.

As with all watercolors, your work on DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Ground will need to be fixed if it will not be framed behind glass. GOLDEN Archival Aerosol MSA Varnish with UVLS is an excellent spray varnish that will protect your work on any surface. Use it at room temperature in a well-ventilated area and follow the directions on the canister.