How to create a loose water effect background

Whether you enjoy working in a realistic or more impressionistic style, including a background can be a really fun way to add colour, texture, movement and mood to a painting. 

Since I tend to leave the backgrounds on my paintings white, in the botanical tradition, I invited my friend, professional artist Jennifer Rose, back into the studio to demonstrate another exciting technique for painting backgrounds in watercolor. 

In this video, Jennifer will show us how to create a glistening water effect using plastic wrap, also known as cling film or Saran wrap (we recommend using biodegradable plastic wrap, to help our environment). The patterns that can be created with the wrap are really attractive. Have a watch:

This water effect makes a great background for any aquatic subjects, or anything that might float on water, such as a fallen leaf. It can also look really effective if you combine a loose background like this with a subject painted in a more realistic style.

If you haven’t seen them yet, make sure you check out Jennifer’s other free mini classes. In them, she’ll show you more techniques for creating backgrounds, including salt effect backgrounds and blurred foliage effect backgrounds.

I hope you’ll have lots of fun experimenting with the technique Jennifer has shown you here.

If you give it a go, Jennifer and I would love to hear how you get on, so let us know in the comments below. And if you enjoyed the video, do leave us a message. We love to read them!

Share this post!

Take our free classes

Sign up below to receive FOUR hour-long free classes on a range of subjects There's a loose watercolour bumblebee as well as a drawing class and two realistic watercolour classes.

Sound good? Sign up here:

Blog Updates - Jennifer Rose

The information you provide here will be used only to deliver the email course, along with other relevant updates from me. You can unsubscribe anytime. Click here for our privacy policy.


  1. Hilda Barone on October 5, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    That looks amazing. Can’t wait to try it. Thankyou xx

    • Marcia Eldreth on October 6, 2021 at 2:22 am

      I enjoyed the mini class. Thank you for sharing!

    • Penny Owen on October 6, 2021 at 7:33 am

      Fantastic water effects with the cling wrap! Very impressed, would love to try it!

  2. Jennifer Rose on October 5, 2021 at 4:01 pm

    I’ve been seeing some fantastic results already by members! 🙂

  3. may on October 5, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    very good but I like to see what kind of painting she did before I register

  4. Anne mckim on October 5, 2021 at 6:26 pm

    Loved her technique and very helpful I have been painting stones with acrylic paint would this effect work with acrylic paints Thank you for showing the video ????????????????‍♀️

  5. Barbara O. Bernard on October 5, 2021 at 7:43 pm

    Great incentives.
    Barbara Bernard

  6. Sandy McAllister on October 5, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    Wonderful technique. Wish I had seen it two days ago. I was painting water background for a turtle.Thanks for sharing.

  7. mandi on October 5, 2021 at 11:51 pm

    Hi can I ask what brand of paper and guild you used. My paper tire when I removed the masking fluid. I used 300gsm paper and Windsor and Newton masking fluid
    Cheers mandi

  8. Abida on October 6, 2021 at 12:10 am

    Hello Jenifer and Anna mason
    It looks amazing I haven’t tried yet will try soon
    I am missing you school hope fully try next year it’s been busy with my husband and my hospital appointments I am seventy six I started my ambitions about seven years I won’t bore you with my story Happy painting

  9. Namrata on October 6, 2021 at 1:06 am

    Hi Anna. You are so awesome thanks for your how to use the background in watercolor. It was so good to attend your class.

  10. Annie J Mathew on October 6, 2021 at 11:41 am

    Wow great ! Thankyou Anna & Jennifer for sharing the tips and tricks gor background painting.sire will try this

  11. Susan on October 8, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    That would work beautifully for a forest/leaf background as well – thanks for the tip!

  12. Nancy Trujillo on October 19, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    ¡¡¡¡Que entretenido el efecto que queda en el agua. Lo intentaré hacer.
    Gracias por compartir.
    Saludos desde Chile.

  13. Beena on November 10, 2021 at 6:22 am

    thank you for the very useful tip

  14. […] Jennifer’s other mini classes. In them, she shows you how to paint other backgrounds including a water effect background, a frosty-look salt effect background, and roses with a loose foliage […]

Leave a Comment