Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Watercolor Reflections

                              Brown's Wharf
Why do some artists choose pastel and others, oil? What leads one to lithography and others to egg tempera?  And why watercolor?

My own journey in paint began, like so many other painters did, with oil.  The "fixability" factor played a role, plus the rich history of oil painting.  But I never quite got the hang of mixing colors in oil.  They seemed to get chalky and very dry looking.

At the suggestion of the art teacher at the school where I taught English, I made the transition to watercolor.
I immediately fell in love with the fluid feel of the strokes and the transparency of the colors.  There were headaches, too:  the muddy colors resulting from overmixing, the struggle to save the precious white paper, not enough water, too much water, and leaving too many  "popcorn" whites.

But I couldn't put the brush down.  (Well, one time I did when I dented the ferrel of a $50 brush by slamming it down on the drafting table!)  It took quite a few brush miles before I started to know what would happen before I touched the paper.  But the journey has been worth it.

One of the reasons I enjoy teaching watercolor is that I know the typical mistakes and can make suggestions as to how to avoid them.  The benefit of having made mistakes is helping others to avoid them. (Sound familiar, parents?)  So if you're just beginning in this fascinating, sometimes frustrating medium, seek out a good teacher.    And pay attention!

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