Combining watercolor + salt

Today, as I maneuvered my way through the snowy streets, I observed a consistent crunching sound coming from under my boots. The city had prepared and coated the sidewalks with a layer of salt, so instead of slipping about, I remained firmly grounded on my path. As I crunched along, I was reminded of one of my favorite art therapy directives…combining watercolors with salt. I've used this art therapy directive with individuals, groups, and in my own artwork. The simple process adds texture to the watercolors, leading to really beautiful results.  Enjoy!

Materials: watercolors, brushes, water, salt (table salt, rock salt, bath salts…any type will work), and watercolor paper

Set up your workspace so that all of your materials are accessible. Paint your image on the paper. Experiment with colors, shape, and design. While your paper is still wet, sprinkle some salt on top of the image. The salt will begin to absorb the water from the paint. Experiment with different types and amounts of salt and observe how the effects vary. The bigger the salt, the more it absorbs. Similarly, experiment with varying degrees of wetness. The more water you use, the more the salt has to absorb. Notice the abstract patterns created by the salt, crystallized images appearing like magic on the page. Once your image is dry, you can brush the salt into the trashcan. Have fun with the process, letting go of your attachment to the results.