The Attraction of Watercolour Painting As a Medium

by AVA
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An article about watercolour painting, why I love it and why it is a great hobby to take up. I have been painting watercolour for decades, and never tire of it’s dynamic qualities which are totally different to oils or acrylics. It is great in a number of practical ways also as the following article will show.

A little of my background may help. As a child I always enjoyed painting pictures. Not just the brightly coloured poster painted ones normally seen but I loved to explore the mixing of all kinds of greens, for instance, when painting a pond surface with its lily pads etc I took great delight in using as many greens, browns, and ochres. I was quite young at this stage – about 7 perhaps. As time went on I built up quite a collection of paintings that were quickly available whenever we had visitors. This pile of paintings was foisted on as many visitors as possible who had to dutifully inspect each one and give appropriate comments.

The enthusiasm for mixing colours and making pictures has never stopped. I enjoy watercolour painting passionately, and love to put down a beautiful misty wash in attractive gradients of colours then place the main subject matter in front in sharp detail, maybe a bird, animal, flower etc to get that great ‘depth of field’ effect obtainable through photography which I also love.

Of course, a good knowledge of the elements of composition is required to paint good pictures. Placement, choice of subject, balance, colour, shape all comes into it, as well as a feel for what ‘looks right’. There are many good books on the subject, but one simple rule of thumb is the rule of thirds, where you divide the page into thirds vertically and horizontally. Where the lines intersect is where your main subject is placed. This has been established as the most aesthetically pleasing positioning for your focal point.

The medium of watercolour has many advantages, even for the beginner, although it has been said many times that it is the hardest to master. For me though, I find that if you take a full sheet of watercolour paper and cut it into 8 pieces, the resulting size is perfect to paint small studies in preparation for larger works, or just to practice. You can also turn the paper over and paint on the other side. So 16 small sheets out of one full size sheet is very economical. It also has the advantage of easy storage, as once dry these small sheets will fit into an A4 protector sheet and can be stored in ring binder folders for years.

So for the beginner, as a budding artist, there is plenty of scope for experimentation, without the expense of wasted canvas boards, and the problem of storage. Watercolour lends itself to free expression, as a riot of colour flows from the brush, either dry brush methods, or wet-in-wet, or a mixture of the two. It is fun, exciting and harmless, although if you are a control freak who likes to definitely be IN CONTROL, there is the little matter of the paint, paper and water CONTROLLING YOU! If you can get over that little hurdle you are on your way!

I therefore highly recommend that everyone with the inclination to create takes up watercolour painting as a stress buster, and as a means of gaining great creative satisfaction, putting some meaning into life.



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