Angela Hijjas
March 5, 2011
Acrylic Painting
May 17, 2011

Watercolour Painting

Watercolour is a  painting method in which paints are made of colour floating in a water  soluble medium. The common support for watercolour paintings are paper,  papyrus, plastics, fabric, wood and also canvas. Watercolour painting is  also known as brush painting in East Asia.

There are four major principal ingredients  for watercolour which are binder, colorant, solvent and additives.  Binder refers to substance that holds the colour in suspension while  colorant is insoluble metal oxide crystal. Solvent is used to dilute the  paint and additives are substance to modify the durability and colour  of the mixture.

Watercolour refers to paint that are mixed with water and carbohydrates  as binder. When the watercolour was first introduced, the binders were  sugars. It was later changed to a combination of natural gum Arabic and  honey as additives to improve the dissolvability of the binder and  develop a longer product’s shelf life.

There are two terms commonly known among  the painters; bodycolour and gouache. Bodycolour is the watercolour made  as opaque as possible while gouache is made opaque with the addition of  colourless opacifier. The modern industrialization changes the  principal ingredients used for watercolour painting. Manufacturer  utilizes pigments used regularly in concrete, architectural paints,  ceramics, cosmetics, printing ink and a lot more.

There are a few characteristics to  categorize watercolour painting. One of the paints characteristics is  staining. It is almost impossible for the painters to remove the  staining paint once it has dried. Staining is increased if dispersant is  used to decrease paint milling duration. While another characteristic,  granulation refers to the appearance of the particles in the finished  colour. Granulation can be attractive provided it is used effectively by  painters.

To create  a good and quality work, painters need to select a fine brush. Brush  consists of three parts that are ferrule, handle and tuft. Ferrule is a  metal sleeve surrounding the tuft as it provides support under pressure.  Handle has a distinctive shape widest behind the ferrule tapering to  the tip. Tuft is the most important component in a brush. Tuft is a  bundle of synthetic fibers or animal hair attached together at the  bottom. The best tuft regularly used are squirrel hair as it is straight  and thin besides providing high liquid capacity.

Among some of the distinctive shape for  natural and synthetic brushes are acrylic, fan, mops, rigger, filbert,  straight and round. Acrylic tuft is a flat brush used for scoring and  scraping while fan is used for texturing and painting. The round tuft  can perform any task, mops are fine for wet-in-wet technique, and  filbert is used specifically for shaped brush strokes. A high quality  brush possesses five key attributes that are capacity, snap, release,  durability and pointing. Painter has a different painting style as it  depends on their preference for brushes.

Due to the fact that water is an active  component, it is difficult to control this key component. There are  several unique techniques to produce good watercolour paint. The basic  techniques are washes and glazes. Wash is the application of a thinned  paint to produce a unified combination of colour. One of the methods to  produce a wash is by tilting the paper surface and stroke downwards  evenly. Each stroke overlaps the previous stroke to remove the excessive  water by pulling it down. To darken or lighten the wash, add more paint  or water to the mixture.

The other basic technique, glaze is applications of a new layer  on top the previous layer. This technique is used to mix or adjust a  colour. This method works effectively for painting high contrast and  watercolour portrait. On the other hand, wet in wet is a popular  technique produces numerous effects. It requires the painter to apply a  new layer of paint to an existing wet area. Wet in wet can be  categorized into different characteristics; backruns, pouring colour,  paint diffusion, salt texture and dropping in colour.

Backruns which is also  known as blossoms, watermarks and blooms is used for decorative effect.  Pouring colour justifies it all. Painters pour huge amount of diluted  paint onto the surface. Painters then mix the colour using a brush.  Paint diffusion produces delicate border and shape the diffusion with  surface water flow. Salt texture refers to the act of sprinkling coarse  salt and causes blot to the colour.

Among some of the prominent watercolour  painters are Edward Hopper, John Marin, Paul Klee, Dong Kingman and also  Andrew Wyeth.

Watercolour tips for beginners

Watercolour painting can be hard for the  beginners. Here are some tips and guidance for the first-timer. Alter  the composition of thumbnail sketches before you start painting. Divide  the sketches into at least four tonal areas as it lets you control the  contrast. Try to limit your colours to three selections only as it  produces a harmonious painting instead of a scattered and muddy painting  with a mixture of variety of colours.

Position your composition well to stand out  from the rest of the other painting. Create interesting feathery  effects to add colour to you painting. Do avoid using neutral darks as  less dark means more life and character to the painting.

In order to have a good  piece of work, artists should practice their drawing skills as it will  affect the outcome of a painting. Beginners should start by drawing some  simple lines and merge it into a shape. Consider where you would like  to place your subject before sketching it out. In short, plan  accordingly for the composition.