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Watercolor

Watercolor as an amazingly versatile medium and simultaneously it is the one medium I use regularly that I have the most to learn about.


Willkipedia suggests that "watercolor paint is an ancient form of painting, if not the most ancient form of art itself.[2] In East Asia, watercolor painting[13] with inks is referred to as brush painting or scroll painting. In Chinese, Korean and Japanese painting[14] it has been the dominant medium, often in monochrome black or browns, often using inkstick or other pigments. India, Ethiopia and other countries have long watercolor painting traditions as well."


Willkipedia goes on to explain how "many Western artists, especially in the early 19th century, used watercolor primarily as a sketching tool in preparation for the "finished" work in oil or engraving.[15] Until the end of the eighteenth century, traditional watercolors were known as 'tinted drawings'.[16]"



No matter ones view of watercolors in comparison to other media, there's a few irrefutable facts that are important to understand if you're thinking about developing your watercolor, painting skill set.


Some things I really like about watercolors include:

  • They are often less expensive than other mediums like oil, paints, pastels, etc. this cost savings within the materials can bring opportunities for buyers to acquire handmade artwork at price points that are more reasonable than other mediums.

  • As the name suggests, they are water soluble, so you can reactivate paint that you leave on your pallet and sometimes within your painting

  • The equipment required to paint and watercolors is lightweight and easy to lug on long hikes when painting en Plein air

  • The range of effects that can be achieved in watercolor is extraordinarily wide. Thus whether you prefer to paint in an abstract manner, achieve photo realism, or in a style anywhere in between, watercolors can serve as an incredibly beautiful medium.

  • Watercolors can be used in concert with other wonderful mediums, like pastel, pencil, and/or pen.

  • Watercolors can be used in scenarios where other mediums may prove inconvenient. For example, my wife, Janine will typically react with a pleasant smile if I break out watercolors after dinner and sit at the table and paint for a couple of minutes. Alternatively, if I were to break out my oil painting kits or my pastel drawing materials in the same circumstance , I would definitely be met with a furrowed eyebrow, and a look suggesting that I should immediately about face...😅🤣 I


Here's a recent painting, I did in watercolor on Plein air on Pocono Creek


Things about watercolor that challenge me:

  • My current knowledge base is very limited. The good news here is there are plenty of resources for me to draw upon to increase my understanding of this wonderful medium.

  • In my limited experience with watercolor It seems that one key feature associated with working within watercolor is the importance of understanding how to give up control and go with the flow…

  • Another key concept that falls outside of my normal strength zone is preliminary planning – it's a prerequisite to producing consistently good watercolor paintings.

  • Working in watercolor requires me to flip my thinking on the issue of values. Generally speaking with watercolor, it is important to pre-plan the lightest values within a painting, and make sure that you avoid disrupting those spaces within the scene. This is the converse to the other mediums I work in most frequently (oil painting and pastel).

  • Much like pastel finished watercolor paintings need to be framed and kept under glass. Although this is easier to address with watercolor paintings...



Here's one of my first relatively successful, watercolor paintings. I completed this painting of a grape leaf while sitting on our deck after eating breakfast on a Sunday morning and painting one of the Cayuga grape leaves that we have growing with in our yard.


Here is a picture of a painting in progress of a stone planter that my wife uses to grow plants within our house. Here's a link to a video of a live session where I walk through the process of creating this painting in my watercolor journal.


...that's one very important aspect that I forgot to mention. I really have come to appreciate how well this watercolor painting performs within the context of an ongoing journaling practice. It is incredibly convenient, portable, and flexible.


You can break out your journal and paint right on the dining room table, while sitting at a park paint with your journal in your lap, on the dashboard of your car or truck, or as part of a long hiking adventure. Anywhere your day takes you can be a great place to try your hand at watercolor journaling…


Thanks for hearing me out. I hope you have an awesome day!

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