Art - Watercolours
Transparency and washes of colour, with highlights rendered by leaving the white paper shine through are the main points of 'pure' watercolour painting. White pigment is never used in a real watercolour. If white is added to watercolour it actually creates a new medium - gouache.
Albrecht Durer was considered one of the first European painters to recognize the value of watercolours, despite its limitations. Watercolours then flourished during the Victorian era, both as colour sketches to use as guides to create larger oils from and also to make copies of well- known oil paintings. Painters such as Van Dyke discovered that quick drying watercolour was ideal for capturing changing weather like mist, rainbows and cloud formations.
There are three types of watercolour paper- cold- pressed, hot- pressed and rough. Cold- pressed is mildly textured while hot- pressed is very smooth. Cold- pressed paper produces a speckled effect as the paint settles in the dips in the surface, leaving the peaks white. Hand-made paper is the best quality and you must always work on the side of the paper which bears the watermark. The weight of a paper is also important. Lighter sheets will need stretching or they may buckle when paint is applied. This can be done by immersing the sheet in water. When removed, shake off the surplus water and use damp tape to stick the sheet to a board.
There is no real need to buy a wide range of watercolours. A set of ten or so shades are all you need and will actually have a positive effect, encouraging the artist to develop their eye and blend the different shades for themselves.
There are a huge range of brushes available in varying sizes as accuracy is so important when using watercolours. Not surprisingly it is advisable to use distilled water when painting, as hard or soft water can discolour the piece.
Watercolour is a precise sparse art form that may take some time to master. There is no room for error and no real way of covering up mistakes. Watercolourists can only work from light to dark. It is common to start by laying a wash of thinned paint over the whole sheet of paper.
There are many different techniques that are used to create texture. Stippling is a process of applying dots of several different colours over one another. The eye then mixes these colours into a single colour. Scumbling means scrubbing the paint into the surface to accentuate the natural texture of the paper. Fine lines and details can be achieved by loading a dry brush with paint. Spreading the brush apart by placing your thumb at the base of the bristles crates several parallel fine lines.