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The extraordinary use of these ordinary pigments — Watercolours
Andrew Paul

What makes watercolors so extraordinary is its unforgiving nature; lines, hues, and structures must be applied carefully at the first go, as any attempt to cover up, or correct essentially delivers the whole effect muddied. Watercolors are an exceptionally adaptable medium, they can be applied to everything from paper to canvas, stone, wood, and textures. Many fine forms of watercolor compositions delivered on paper, original copies, guides, and miniatures can be found in our historical centres today. While watercolor painting commanded Asian craftsmanship for a great many years, in Western workmanship it was generally restricted to preliminary portrayals until the late eighteenth century.

History and the existence of the watercolor technique date back to 4000 B.C. in Asia, where traditional Chinese painting was done using watercolors as a medium of decoration and to create religious murals. The interest and technique took shape in Asia and by the 4th-century landscape watercolor painting got established as an independent form of art. Watercolor painting started to get popular in Europe during the Renaissance period with the development in papermaking. While early European artists arranged their watercolor blends for fresco paintings (paintings made on the surface of the walls), long before it was applied to paper. With an expansion in the accessibility of manufactured colors, printmaker and Renaissance craftsman Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) grew new techniques for working with watercolor paints, introducing ways to create luminous transparent effects. As the interest among artists and craftsmen grew, watercolor with time became a popular medium of choice for many. The medium became more widely known when it got used by Paul Sandby (1730–1809), an English mapmaker who also was a landscape painter. Watercolor by then became quite a serious medium of expression.

Wing of a Roller” (ca.1512) Watercolor and gouche on vellum. 20 x 20 cm Graphische Sammlung, Vienna

View of Windsor Castle from the banks of the River Thames, 1794 by Paul Sandby

In ‘pure’ watercolor painting, no white is utilized. Rather, fixes or spots of white paper are left unpainted to portray white items or mirrored light. Shading tones and environmental impacts are accomplished by recoloring the paper when wet with shifting measures of shading colors. This method is known as a ‘wash’, this procedure can likewise be utilized to limit or eradicate singular brush strokes, or to make huge zones of comparable shading (e.g. blue sky). The artist controls the impacts of these washes by changing the weakening of the shades.

JMW Turner — maybe the best English watercolorist — who wanted to add white to his compositions and utilized different techniques to make his one of a kind impacts of light. Today, watercolor painting is commonly connected with the accomplishments of the English school of landscape painters (particularly Paul Sandby, Thomas Girtin, and JMW Turner). This group of artists were dynamic from the late-eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century, this period was known as the Golden Age of Watercolour. At first, the painters confined their artworks to color washes. This is a drawing made using ink or pencil, and a brush and water are utilized to spread the ink to create a tint. While a few artists kept on making colored drawings, others started to push the limits. Artists like William Pars (1742–82), John Warwick Smith (1749–1831), Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) and Turner, started utilizing a more extensive palette of strong, more grounded colors to make an all the more painterly impact.

Yellow watercolor, JMW turner

The interesting impacts of light and more liberated brushwork made by the English school of watercolor painting grabbed the eye of the early Impressionists and affected their work. In the nineteenth and twentieth century, watercolors rose as a medium utilized by numerous conspicuous artists. John James Audubon quite utilized watercolors to archive his untamed life subjects, however different artists referred to for different mediums, for example, oil painting worked with watercolors too. American craftsman Winslow Homer utilized watercolor paints to investigate the magnificence of the regular world. Paul Cézanne utilized a procedure of covering watercolor washes in a portion of his still life compositions, while Vincent Van Gogh utilized watercolor processes to make surprising artistic expressions. German dynamic painter Wassily Kandinsky and Swiss Modernist Paul Klee are both prominent twentieth-century watercolorists, a sign that in the modern period, as well, watercolor has been valued by artists despite their identity or nationality.

In the 21st century, artists have exploited this exceptional medium to make striking showstoppers. Most importantly, watercolor painting is adaptable, on the other hand, it offers rich, clear tones or delicate, soothing structures making it a medium of desire and easy work-ability when it comes to creating paintings of nature, figures, or works that need intricate detailing. One such artist is Maarten Welbergen, who has been experimenting and using this ordinary medium to create some extraordinary landscape paintings. He usually paints being in nature, he carries his materials with him to the place where he sets up his temporary space to create these works looking directly into nature.

Old clubhouse and pine trees watercolors by Maarten Welbergen

If you are reading this blog because you are interested in watercolor painting or want to understand the techniques of it. Look no further, join the free online session that is being hosted by ArtCircle and learn the beauty of this medium.
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Andrew Paul
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