Watercolor: Creative Texture

copper indigo watercolor collage, contemporary watercolor abstract, debiriley.com

Would you like to know a few simple steps and techniques to be able to create a more visually stimulating watercolor painting? Collage, is a wonderful solution for the creative and the imaginative artist seeking….More!


watercolor,how to create textures, debiriley.com
Watercolor Texture Techniques

“Indigo and Copper Bay”   watercolor on Strathmore paper.



Textures of Watercolor

There are many methods and techniques that you can use to create textural effects in watercolor:  collage, dry brush, molding paste, glad wrap, splatter, salt, powders, charging, and many more.

With collage you can use your own textures. You can create these textures on an assortment of  watercolor papers, all giving a huge range of effects.


Today’s  sample illustrates  the  integrated use of color, tone, wet in wet and collage to arrive at a raised and sculptural look for the “Indigo and Copper Bay” watercolor art image.




Process and Textural Effects


The steps I used to achieve this watercolor texture took time.

It was over a period of 6 months that this image developed and ‘evolved.’


I didn’t rush it.

I had many more papers.  I had many more works in progress.

Most did not make the grade. I’m ok with that.



I learned many things from each of those that did not make the grade.

I used each  of them to learn and gain something new.

There was no loss.

Only Gain.

I always, try to remember that.





  • First, I applied a wet in wet wash over an old Strathmore paper
  • Let this dry thoroughly
  • Next I applied some acrylic matte medium lightly,  to some thin tissue paper
  • and adhered onto the Strathmore in folds randomly
  • Let this dry thoroughly   (I waited a couple of days)
  • Then I dampened the entire paper
  • Mixed up a juicy batch of indigo prussian mix,
  • poured this in  –  judiciously –   in a couple of ‘key’  areas
  • Then with copper paint, made a couple of  Splatters upon the paper
  • paused
  • stood back about  8 feet to review at a distance
  • At that point,  I couldn’t  identify any critical errors
  • Thus,  I Stopped.
  • Put the brush down.





3  Key Points


I have   3   Major  Points  to share with the beginners.

Each is really, truly invaluable.  Over the  past 30 years of teaching and painting,      I know these 3 will help you improve and overcome those hurdles!



  1.  don’t worry.

forget about the hurry up and get a product ‘Now!’

have several,   i.e.    “many”  works in progress  



2.  don’t worry.

forget about trying to make them ALL be ones you can be proud of


3.  don’t worry.

use those papers up

remember…. you can use the front side, back side, rinse it off and go again.  or with acrylics gesso and repaint – endlessly!

For the price of a cup of coffee, you can paint on the backside of a full sheet 22 x 30 inches.    wow. What Great Investment.



Cheers,  Debi



Other watercolor collages with textural effects for you to view

watercolor paper collage

serpentine bark in green collage 



Published by debiriley

The act of creation, in any media is a fascinating and magical process. I simply love to create. Expressing in color, line, tone, texture - as if, they were words upon a page. Creating a uniquely me, interpretation. Enjoy More of my "one-of-a-kind" expressive art at society6.com/debiriley and, redbubble.com/people/debijriley/shop

36 thoughts on “Watercolor: Creative Texture

  1. Well, well, now. Isn’t that golden advice. “don’t worry.” In art and in life, if only we could get that one down! Thanks for the reminder!! Lovely work as always Debi. Love love love the textures! ~Rita 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love collage painting, one of my favorite methods. When I was painting with acrylics I loved to glue string, and textured fabric on to the canvas first. I also like your 3 keys Debi. No worrying here! Love your beautiful texture filled art today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. good evening Jodi…. wow. I am really happy tonight! That is a lovely, comment. Truly!! I’m always happy if, I can encourage some one. glad you liked this today! cheers, Debi


  3. Hello Debi. Greetings from Canadaland!!. Your artwork is always intriguing, thought provoking and/ or just simply soothing. !!.If possible, I would welcome myself, to your studio almost every Day.. just to see firsthand the touch of your artistry!!.Just keep being you, I Love to follow along quietly in the background..Still on- board ⚓️ .. Joanne 🌺

    Liked by 2 people

    1. greetings and salutations right back at you Joanne!!! 🙂 what a wonderful comment you’ve shared with me – Thank You! It would be lovely to get to meet you, and ps… my studio… its a disaster 🙂 atm just being real!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. that is wonderful to read! I always feel so happy when I’ve been able to inspire and encourage others as they start to paint. Thank you for letting me know!!!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Great tips as always, and reminders to oneself, always needed. Love the price of a coffee, puts it into context, plus painting lasts longer than drinking a coffee, painting is more relaxing than a coffee, painting is more therapeutic than drinking coffee…or combine the two, drink a bit then……use the coffee to paint with, lol

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely painting, Debi. My favorite part is where you stood back. And stopped. Stopped! Stopping can be as key as starting. And cool techniques, glad you shared them, as I only think usually about this type of stuff with acrylics. Interesting to think about this in a WC context. Your tips are always fun to read and sometimes the way you punctuate and capitalize really helps too. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you LL!! you’re the first person to comment on my inflections via caps and punctuation. I’m so glad its able to clarify the message and intent, as I hoped.
      and don’t you love – ‘STOP!!’ thanks, 3d

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Debi riley!!! I enjoyed your tips and your artwork. What you said is so inspiring especially for a beginner like me. Things will not always come the way we like it to be. Mistakes and failures are not disappointments and a reason to stop, instead an inspiration to start all over again and learnings to be used from our mistakes. It is not always speed that matters it is about the process of making. It is not always about the good outcomes it is about the expression and learnings we give and get.

    Liked by 1 person

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