A Watercolor Hack That Will Wake Up Your Colors

Watercolor pro Laurin McCracken shares a simple tip that could change the way your paints behave on the palette

Treasure (watercolor on paper, 14x28)

I use tepid water, rather than cold as it comes from the tap, to wake up my colors in the morning and to mix color throughout the day. I’m simply applying the old physics principle that “solids tend to go into liquids faster the higher the temperature.” With the introduction of lukewarm (or room temperature) water, my colors mix faster and with greater consistency.

Six Reasons (watercolor on paper, 20×24)

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Laurin McCracken
Laurin McCracken combines many of the skills he learned as an architect with his experiences of studying art history, drawing, taking photographs and visiting many of the world’s leading museums to use as a watercolorist. He is a signature member of more than a dozen watercolor societies including the American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society, Transparent Watercolor Society of America, Southern Watercolor Society, Watercolor West, and Watercolor USA Honor Society. He is an Elected Member of the Allied Artists of America in their Watermedia Category.


  1. I loved hearing Laurin McCracken’s hack for our palettes. I’ve often wondered that same thing myself. Of late, I’ve been considering using filtered or spring water to liven up my colors, get the best possible paintings. Great article. I enjoy each artists’ hacks. Tried and true for this very novice watercolorist. Thank you.


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