Metallic Watercolor

Colorific Shimmering Watercolors: No longer available

Hello friends!

The weather has been glorious lately, and yet I have been painting away in my little studio.  Even the best of weather can't tempt me to step away from my watercolor!  Instead, I am allowing the weather to come into my studio by opening up the windows. I love feeling that cool breeze sweep in and refresh the space!  Today, I am excited to share with you some of my favorite additions to watercolor:  metallics!  

Watercolor typically dries duller and much lighter than when the paint is first applied.  By adding metallics, your artwork is allowed to catch the light and reflect its beautiful colors. There are many options available on the market to achieve this shimmery look.  

The image shown above is my first metallic watercolor set.  When I was just learning how to paint, my mom found this shimmery set at United Arts and Education.  She knew how much I loved all things metallic, and sure enough I went crazy over this paint set!  Unfortunately, the company no longer makes these beauties. 

Not to fear though, there are many more options from which to choose! 

I was really excited to try these metallics because there are over 21 amazing colors to play with.  The fine glitter that makes up this shimmery watercolor is heavy and tends to sink quickly on the paper while the water floats on top.  This means that it blends poorly and is better used as a glaze over existing dry colors.  When this paint is dry, it gives a more plastic appearance to your watercolor. 

I first discovered PearlEx Metallic Powders at a scrapbooking store.  I was instantly in love!  Originally, I purchased these powders for my photography shoots to style intense makeup and hair. Eventually, they found their way into my watercolors.  After drying, they are less intense in shimmer quality than when first applied, but they give the most beautiful matte sheen to your colors.  I appreciate that I can control the amount of shimmer desired by adding more or less powder to my watercolor paint.  I can even alter colors depending on which color is chosen. 

If you want something magical and extra glittery, Winsor & Newton provide an incredible option.  This medium is excellent for painting galaxies! I prefer to drop it into fairly wet paint and let it travel across the paper as it will.  Used alone or as a glaze, however, it is just too dominant for my style. 

I use the LuminArte metallics the most in my current work.  As shown below, I find they illustrate the iridescence of bird feathers perfectly.  Since I paint a lot of birds, this brand of metallic watercolor is ideal for me.  

Watch me add the metallic paint on this hornbill here

I have also tried...

1. Eyeshadow - can be used similarly to the PearlEx Metallic Powders.  

2. Actual glitter - tends to "flake" off the paper after the paint has dried.  Glitter will get all over your studio and cause such a mess! 

3. Nail polish - don't even try it! 

4. Gold leaf - great if you want a strong separation of gold.  Excellent for pattern work. 

5. Liquid gold - also great for pattern work.

Of course there are many options available that I have yet to try.  You should try everything and see which one is better suited to your painting style.  Add some metallics and let your art shine!   


All the best,