Unveiling the Truth: Identifying Staining Watercolors

By: btvxz


Watercolors are a popular medium used by artists for their transparency and luminosity. However, watercolor paintings can become stained over time due to various factors such as exposure to light, humidity, and improper storage. These stains can obscure the original colors of the painting and affect its overall appearance. In this article, we will uncover the truth about identifying staining watercolors.

Identifying Staining Watercolors:

1. Understanding the causes of staining

Before we dive into identifying staining watercolors, it’s important to understand what causes them. Some common causes include exposure to UV light, environmental pollutants, mold growth, and improper handling.

2. Examining the surface

A stained watercolor painting will often have visible discoloration on its surface. This can range from a yellowish or brownish tinge to dark spots or streaks.

3. Analyzing color changes

Another way to identify staining in a watercolor painting is by examining any noticeable color changes in the artwork. For example, colors may appear faded or muted compared to their original vibrancy.

4. Testing with solvents

Solvent testing is one method used by conservation professionals to determine if a painting has been stained by certain substances like nicotine or smoke. A small amount of solvent is applied to the affected area of the painting, and if it dissolves any residue or discoloration on the surface, it indicates staining.


Identifying staining in watercolor paintings takes patience and knowledge about what causes these blemishes in the first place. By carefully examining surfaces and analyzing color changes over time as well as testing with solvents when necessary – artists can preserve their precious artworks for generations to come!

What does ‘Staining’ Mean in Watercolour Painting?
‘Staining’ describes the property of pigments to anchor themselves into the paper. Watercolours anchor themselves differently in the paper, depending on pigment and paper. This video explains the phenomenon of “staining” and shows what must be kept in mind and how the Horadam watercolours from Schmincke can be identified as staining or non …

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