How To Paint In Watercolour?

Written by Paul, August 17, 2020

Paul Riley Art Courses

Water colour as a medium has been around since the dawn of time so maybe not as many people would recognise it. Homo sapiens had muddy hands in the same way that some of us and especially children have. It is but a small thing to press one’s hand on a wall (cave) and hey presto the first watercolour! We know it became more sophisticated than that.

Tradition

England has always been strong on watercolour painting. It’s reputation was wonderfully enhanced by that maestro W H Turner. Much of a methodology in watercolour came about by building scapes which necessitated careful drawing in using a pencil then tinting with a succession of washes. If one looks further afield however towards India, Indonesia and the orient one becomes aware that other technical approaches are possible. 

Technique

I myself have looked mainly to Chinese and Japanese Zen, Shodo and Sumi-e  painting to realise a subtle, dramatic and free handling was possible. For example I am inclined to draw in my painting using only the brush, sometimes broadly, sometimes with infinite care and detail. Reason why I use watercolour as my prime medium is that it has so many alluring dimensions. It is transparent, translucent with an infinite variation in colours and tones which can be textured in the most subtle of ways. Watercolour has a life of its own due to the fact that whilst wet it can move and emerge under the effect of gravity and the influence of its magnetised pigment particles. When dry it appears different than when wet but as soon as you put a sheet of glass over it whilst framing, it magically transforms once again with depth in the tones and a sparkle in the lights. 

Lasting Quality

Watercolours have been much maligned in respect of their longevity however, with the best of pigments, and archival quality paper, properly framed they will last well into the future. Watercolours will intrigue, fascinate and give joy.  The same as having painted them.

Sun Blossom