The wonderful thing about watercolour painting is the way the paper reflects light through the paint giving it a luminous quality. Made up of pigment and a binding medium, watercolour paint was generally used for sketches and ideas, and to tint drawings and studies for bigger ‘proper’ paintings. It really came into its own during the mid 1700s when the Romantic era came into being and there was an explosion of fine art, music, and literature. Artists were inspired to record nature, landscape, and to travel to Europe (once the Napoleonic wars were done!) and to exotic places full of antiquities and sunlight.
It is this ability to convey light that attracts me to watercolour – I am never inspired to paint grey and gloomy cityscapes for example – but sunbirds caught in a ray of sunshine, the sunset sparking the edges of clouds, and the contrast of a figure standing against the sun with a home made fishing rod; these are the things that excite, frustrate, and challenge me. It is never perfect but I am learning to give in gracefully and say ‘that’ll do.’
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