Hello everyone today is watercolour day and we are exploring the wonderful medium of watercolour! I love watercolours and it was the medium that I worked in almost exclusively before I started Art College. And though now my medium is quite different three years later I still hold a love for it and wish I had more time to pursue it. Also being mostly a landscape and nature painter watercolour works well for working from a photo or from life because of the whimsical nature of the medium.
I have been told that historically watercolour is known as a woman’s medium. Apparently oil and tempera paints were too hard for women to use since they require skills that are distracting for women. Distracting in the sense that it may take them away from their motherly duties. Whereas watercolours are/were simple enough that women can understand and obtain the skills to use them while not being torn away from their female duties.
We all know that this is not true today but I will say that watercolours are easy to use. And I like that about them. All they need is water, a blot towel, paper, paint, and brushes (unless finger painting is really your preference). There is no fussing with canvases or mediums or solvents, and clean up is easy as well! All you have to do is make sure the brushes are clean and take them out of the water opposed to making sure to put things away properly because they are flammable.
I have worked with other mediums other than watercolour. But something about them just never drew me in like watercolour did. I didn’t like the plastic nature of acrylic or that it dried to quickly for my taste (the ones I used were the cheap student grade and I think that did contribute to this issue) and oil paints on the other hand can take too long to dry. But that wasn’t my main issue with them. My main issue was that I kept trying to use the oil paints as watercolours. I’m not sure how to really explain this other than saying that I had a bad habit of adding mediums and solvents to the paint until it was almost translucent.
I think another reason those mediums didn’t work well for me was because I like to work on a very small scale as an artist. I really like small details and I really like making them even smaller when I paint. So working with watercolour really helps cater to that desire I have for my work. And I never felt that with using the other mediums because I was always forced to do bigger works that just didn’t seem like me.
Also watercolours have no rules! Or at least when I started and “learned” to use them they didn’t. I put learned in quotations marks because I never had a true lesson in using watercolours and I have yet to read anything on using them. Watercolour was the medium my Mom would give me when I was little just to play with. I think that was really helpful because it was just play. I would try to figure out how to get certain effects when I needed them and make mistakes with no shame. I suppose it is the fact that there was no pressure when I started using watercolours that I took more of a liking to it.
Watercolour is very therapeutic. I can appreciate that a lot since having tried other mediums and found them stressful because there was a sense of judgment at the end of the day because they were always paintings for class, which meant a final critique at the end.
There is also an undeniable romantic nature about watercolours. The old used palettes with indents in the paint, and the scene of the artist painting on a hillside using watercolours. All in all watercolours were my first paint love and my last.
Until next time,