The Wonder of Watercolour
Despite being the most difficult of all painting mediums, many people are drawn to it when first taking up painting. Perhaps it is the seeming simplicity of it all. Drawing, then painting it in.. or is it the almost instantaneous set up that attracts people to the medium. Whatever it is, water colour has beguiled many an artist into its fascinating world!
Of all the mediums, water colour is the most unpredictable and you often don't get a second chance. What you see on the palette of a set of oils or acrylics is pretty much what you will get on the canvas and the same is true of pastels. When it comes to water colour though, the variables of pigment and water are almost limitless, and then it dries lighter too! Then there is the untidy and often unwanted effects of placing colour on top of other colours that are either to dry or too wet - there is always something you need to think about when applying the paint.
A little while ago I saw a photorealistic painting of a street scene which had been done with water colours. It was so close to the photograph, that it was hard to know which one was which. A short video clip of the process showed an artists hand with a small brush making small careful strokes - the whole painting would have been done this way. It showcased great craftsmanship, but not a lot of art - the painting was an exact imitation of the photo. It is my opinion, that water colour is meant for better things than careful photorealism, but the trace and paint method seems to be growing in popularity and is presented as the pinnacle of achievement. A look at some of the masters of the past and present will show how amazing the medium is at conveying mood and movement. I have chosen a painting of Edward Seago to illustrate the true wonder of water colour with Marsh and Sky.
Even though this work is a study of simplicity (the key to good watercolour) it oozes mood and light. Confident washes and brush strokes give the painting a vibrancy that is lacking in the careful, small-brush method. His beautiful darks and use of white paper, makes the light shine and the use of a dry brush gives the impression of sparkle and texture. This is water colour in its true glory and a relative handful of artists emulate it today. It is well worth looking up Edward Seago on Google and considering his water colour and oil
paintings. It is time well-spent. A visit to Artworx Gallery and Gifts will show some wonderful examples of the water colour medium too.
Marsh and Sky (14 x20 in) Edward Seago