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What is watercolour ground?


Derivan Watercolour Ground | Paper-Like Surface Preparation | Absorbent Ground

Why limit yourself to traditional surfaces? With Derivan watercolour ground, you can paint on anything from paper to canvas. This ground is perfect for creating a paper-like surface that's highly absorbent.

Are you looking to add a beautiful new medium to your arsenal? Derivan watercolour ground is the perfect way to turn almost any surface into a watercolour-friendly surface! Now you can do all of the fantastic techniques you've always wanted to try on canvas, board, mixed media papers and more.

This is YOUR chance to learn how to paint with watercolour! Discover the many benefits of using a watercolour ground and how to apply it best.



Watercolour Ground
Key Feature’s

  • Absorbent watercolour ground

  • Works on multiple surfaces

  • Archival and acid-free

  • Excellent surface for watercolour 

  • Thin viscosity for easy application

  • Use on glass, metal, fabric, plastic, plaster, perspex, ceramic, wood

Watercolour Ground
Perfect For 

  • Watercolour techniques

  • Mixed media applications

  • watercolour on canvas

  • repairing and altering watercolour works

  • Frame without glass 

  • Unusual substrates 


How to use Watercolour Ground

Be sure to get your surface clean and dry before applying. This includes wood, metal, or plastic surfaces. If it is a wooden surface you are working with, then you should sand the surface with fine-grain sandpaper before applying the watercolour ground. You can choose between a soft hair brush or foam roller for a smooth finish or a hog hair or pallet knife for a textured finish.

If you are applying it to rescue or alter a watercolour painting, we recommend using 10% water to the ground and a soft brush to blend the area.

Apply no more than three coats to get maximum absorbency to allow each coat to cure 24 hours between coats.


Once your surface has completely cured, you can work with watercolour, thinned acrylics, acrylic inks or liquid pencil. It is important to note if your work is in watercolour, the surface will still be water-soluble, so you will need to finish the artwork with a spray varnish.


*It is advised to do individual testing with your substrate, especially if you have chosen a non-porous surface as glass or plastic.



How to paint with watercolour absorbent ground on Stretched canvas

Painting with watercolours is a lot of fun. But with most canvases, it's difficult for the watercolour to stay on the surface. The Derivan watercolour Ground will help your colours stay put so you can enjoy your painting!

Ready to start painting? First, you'll need to prepare your canvas with Derivan Gesso. This critical step will help the Derivan watercolour Absorbent Ground adhere correctly to the canvas. Apply one coat of Derivan gesso and leave it to dry for 24 hours before starting your masterpiece!

 After the gesso has dried, use a thin layer of Derivan Watercolour Ground to create a more durable surface that's less likely to crack.


The more coats of Derivan Absorbent Ground you add, the more absorbent the surface will become. To protect against watercolours, apply up to 3 coats of the absorbent ground, allowing each coat to dry before applying another.


You can now paint with watercolours—give your project 24 hours after the ground has thoroughly dried to ensure that it's dry enough. Derivan watercolour ground will give the canvas a paper-like quality that watercolours can easily stick to. Once applied, be careful about accidentally spilling or spraying water onto the surface of the canvas.

How to use watercolour ground on paper

Derivan Watercolour Ground is the perfect painting surface for any artist. With this ground, you can create new work on any surface, save flawed paintings, and frame without glass.

The results are incredible and there's really no end to what can be done! The next time you want to save a watercolour painting that would have been tossed, you'll know what to do.

Why ruin a perfect piece of work with a mistake? Derivan Absorbent Ground can be used on watercolour paper to block out unwanted marks or mistakes. Apply the properly diluted ground evenly to the desired area in thin layers until the area is sufficiently covered. Allow the coats to completely dry, and paint over in the desired manner.

In this example here we have primed mixed media paper.  The example on the left is primed with two thin coats of watercolour ground, leaving to dry for 24 hours between coats.


How to use Watercolour Ground on a wooden panel.

Lets get started with our Derivan painting panel. First we're going to lightly sand it, this will help with adhesion. Apply the watercolour ground even and thin with a soft brush to the whole board. Don't forget the sides!

Once you let your board dry for 24 hours, all you have to do is sand it lightly and then coat it with another thin layer. Do this 3 times, and your surface is ready to create your masterpiece!

With the Gesso derma, you'll notice as soon as you start using it that the surface is a whole lot different than a traditional gesso that watercolours can easily stick to, and it gives the board a paper-like quality. You're no longer limited to just watercolour paper! 

Watercolour Ground Gallery