Friday, February 1, 2013

Why do I love watercolor?

 Why watercolor? Why not oils, acrylics, or pastels...or another medium?

"Watercolor is a swim in the metaphysics of life... a mirror of one's own character. Let it be unpredictable and colorful." ~ Anonymous 

 Watercolor, to me, has many facets to it and qualities that the other mediums just don't have. Some can come close, but ultimately only the controlled chaos of a free roving pigment does it for me. I'm always moved to see the result. There is just such an incredibly interesting dynamic in watching things develop on the paper.

"Water supports all our endeavors, from the simple task of making paint flow, to sustaining life. It is the common denominator that all humanity shares." ~ Sharon Crosbie

 Watercolor is about cultivating relationships and it takes effort and understanding to make it successful. Too much water, too little water. Wait to long to float in a wash or add pigment too soon. Reach for the wrong temperature of blue to make a vibrant green and end up with poo. Sure, I can scrap the whole thing and start over. But, where's the economy in that? Isn't that an attitude of luxury? It may seem that an artist must have such freedom, but I do have a certain discipline. I don't put my brush to paper unless I am certain of my intent. Sure, there are times when I thought I had the right intent and it ended up wrong. That is a learning experience and one of the things that separates an amateur/beginner from a journeyman and a journeyman from a master. I believe after all these years, I've stepped over to journeyman. Always to be a student, of course.

"You can only master transparent watercolor by disciplined study. Knowledge frees the soul to express its creativity. Ultimately, however, the medium cannot be mastered... only handled masterfully." ~ Jim Kosvanec

 A myriad other minor and major relationships between the paint, the paper, the water, the humidity of the air where I'm painting, the angle of my surface, my brush, my hand, my eye, my brain. Some factors I can control, some I can't and nearly all mistakes are there and can't be hidden. Some mistakes can be turned into something else or glazed over, but it remains...if only a reminder to me...all metaphors for life.

"Painting in watercolor is like walking a tight-rope; one must find perfect balance between what the paint wants to do and what the artist wants to do, or all is lost." ~ Mary C. Taylor

  Watercolor, though often thought the medium of schoolchildren, can be a medium of truly sophisticated expression. Some of the great masters used watercolor for their sketches and development of ideas. I find those the most intriguing. A glimpse into the process, a way more intimate look into the artist (in many cases) than the finished painting that may have come later.

-on John Singer Sargent...
"To live with Sargent's watercolours is to live with sunshine captured and held." ~ Evan Charteris

 Watercolor is perfect for the wanderer. A simple small box, a canteen, and a notepad are all you need to have with you on a walk or hike and capturing a scene "en plein air" has a quality that a photo of the same thing just can't capture. It's my favorite way to paint and believe my plein air work is better than my studio work done from reference photos.

 "Water is the mirror of nature." ~ St. Francis of Assisi

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