Watercolor Painting Methods, History, & Artists
Watercolor is a wonderful medium because it allows all types of expression. Because it is waterbased it's a very relaxed and unpredictable art form at times. For a more abstract style you can wet your watercolor paper and randomly throw dabs of diluted watercolor paint on the paper and watch it spread, melt, drip, and blend to create a beautiful medely of colors and shapes. Once it dries there are endless possiblities for you to try out on your paper. You can continue the abstract theme or try something more realist like painting flowers from a photograph or boats sitting in the harbour. Watercolor is one of the most free forms of painting because of its flowing nature.
There are a variety of watercolor techniques but here are the most popular ones:
1. Washes. This is the most basic watercolor method used. It is achieved by wetting your watercolor paper (in a specific area i.e. the sky) and then applying the pigment over the surface from top to bottom. You can experiment with different hues, lift the paper and run the wet colours in all directions, or make different splotches all over the page, discovering something completely different once it has dried. Let the wash dry naturally or with a dryer and never try to work on a wash that is still wet.
2. Glazing. This method is similar to a wash, but it uses very thin pigment applied over dry washes that you’ve already done. This in effect adjusts the color and tone of the wash underneath. Ideal glaze colours include Rose Madder (Permanent Rose), Cobalt Blue, and Auroline. Dry each glaze colour before you apply the next one.
3. Wet in Wet. This technique is a process where you apply pigment to wet paper. Simply use a large brush or sponge to wet your whole sheet of watercolour paper and paint into the dampness. This often creates beautiful blurred shapes and colors, and soft marks of paint that create subtle backgrounds for your artwork.
4. Dry Brush. In this method you’d use a brush loaded with paint (not too much water), and drag it across totally dry paper. The creates a crisp hard edged effect that stands out in a painting.
5. Lifting Off. This is the process of removing paint once you’ve painted it onto your paper. Once your artwork is dry, you simply wet the area you’d like to ‘lift off’ and blot the water away with a tissue. This creates hard edged lines and shapes, especially if you utilize strips of paper to mask areas of pigment on the painting.
6. Dropping in Color. This is the process of adding color to a wet region of the painting and allowing it to blend in and branch out naturally into the painting.
Some famous watercolor artists include:
Raffaello Santi (1483-1520)
Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528)
van Dyck (1599-1641)
Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788)
John Constable (1776-1837)
Paul Sandby (1725–1809)
Famous Canadian Watercolor Artist
A famous Canadian watercolor artist, Homa Eftekhar (Ghafar zadeh), originally from Iran offers a beautiful portrayal of paintings with a cultural meaning and message. Homa is also an accomplished watercolor instructor in Vancouver, BC.