In this article, I’ll introduce you to watercolor painting and help you assess if it’s the perfect medium for you.
I bet you are here for any of these reasons:
- You want to free your creative spirit and let yourself loose.
- You believe in the beauty of art as self-care and/or a hobby.
- You are a beginner interested in watercolor painting but would like to assess yourself first if it’s for you.
- All of the above!
Whatever compelling reason you have, high five! You came to the right place.
Before anything else, let me give you a quick introduction on painting.
what is painting?
Painting is a type of visual art. It refers to the practice and the result of applying a medium (paint/pigment) onto a surface. You can use a knife, sponge, or your hands for the application, depending on what medium you are using or the effect you want to achieve. As for the surface, it can be a canvas, paper, concrete wall, wood, metal, etc. The art of painting is used to express emotions, represent people, places, and ideas, and narrate stories. It can be a detailed or an abstract combination of colors that the audience can subjectively translate. All these make painting inviting for creatives like us. It gives us that safe place to surface our inner being and communicate it without using a word.
Captivating, isn’t it? And you can achieve this much beauty and meaning through whatever painting medium you use.
What are the mediums used in painting?
This medium gives extreme color payoffs. It’s made of pigment suspended in an acrylic polymer. It dries quickly, and once it does, it’s water-resistant. Acrylic paint can be tempered with water, paste, or gel and can look like watercolor or oil paint once dry. You can apply it on wood, metal, canvas, and paper.
This paint is made of pigments and drying oils (linseed, for example). Before being combined with pigments, the oil is first mixed and boiled with a resin. Oil paints also have intense payoffs and glossy finishes. They have a longer drying time that allows artists to do more blending. You can apply it on the same surfaces as acrylic paint.
Gouache is a water-based paint, but it’s opaque and more pigmented than watercolors. You can control its intensity by diluting it with water. You can use it on watercolor paper and drawing paper.
Watercolor, also known are aquarelle, is made of pigments suspended in a water-soluble solution. One of its amazing qualities is its transparency that allows light to bounce off the paper, making every color visible no matter how many layers you have laid on.
Now, let us begin talking more about this water-based wonder.
What is watercolor painting?
Watercolor painting refers to both the application of water-soluble pigments on a surface and the resulting artwork. It is a delicate form of painting that uses transparent colors to create subtle, romantic, and expressive pieces.
There are two (2) approaches in watercolor painting:
This approach is perfect for those who want to achieve realistic-looking paintings. If you prefer this approach, you must love details, shading, contouring, and creating distinct, crisp lines. Tight painting is ideal in creating portraits and is an attempt to capture and recreate everyday true-to-life sights.
This approach is my cup of tea, and I define it as:
“…a conscious artistic decision to paint a subject based on its essence. It is a visual expression of shapes, structure, light, distance, and atmosphere that is suggestive rather than literal. Loose watercolor is free from an obsession over details.” For me, poetic and true. A loose approach prefers a playful and freeing art that edges and expectations of the objective cannot confine. When you paint while in sync with your emotions and lean towards being more expressive than exact, loose painting is your haven.
how to know if watercolors painting are for you
watercolor painting checklist 1: You want to let loose
As I endearingly described earlier, loose watercolor painting gives you more freedom to paint. It is a relaxing form of painting that flows with your mood instead of being impeded by details.
Aside from that, to let loose also means to have versatility in style without compromising the love for subtlety. Whether you choose to make loose or detailed paintings, they will still come out delicate, thanks to the watercolors’ composition and transparency.
watercolor painting checklist 2: You are in search of a beautiful, self-care hobby
Art as self-care is like therapy for your soul, and you can achieve that using watercolors. It is especially true if you are comforted by gentle pieces rather than loud, striking ones that result from highly pigmented mediums.
Also, if you find it soothing to watch colors blend and harmonize effortlessly, play with watercolors. There are techniques you can use that allow colors to shift and dance across the page.
You can have all of this without much of a mess because you can clean watercolors with water.
watercolor painting checklist 3: You are up for an artistic challenge
Watercolor painting for beginners can be intimidating. Just because it’s subtle, it doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Playing with watercolors can be tricky because their movements are unpredictable. Once it hits the water on the paper, it can burst and bleed and become hard to control, unlike acrylic or oil paints that stay where you dab them on until you drag them out.
Additionally, when it dries, the paper will remain stained, and you cannot undo anything.
However, if you love taking on challenges, watercolors are perfect for you. Learning curves are always present when you try something new. But once you learn the watercolor techniques and brush strokes, you will feel immensely satisfied as if you have tamed something untamable.
watercolor painting checklist 4: You like travel-friendly art
Whether you are a watercolor painting beginner or expert, you only need a few items to enjoy this art form.
Don’t get me wrong though. Buying art supplies can be addictive. Trust me, I know. I live in a mountain of them. In fact, I have a handful of student- and professional-grade materials to recommend to you…soon!
But when you travel, bringing a few essentials will not prevent you from creating stunning pieces.
First, you only need red, blue, and yellow in your palette because you can easily blend them to create other hues. Also, watercolors come in packages with a few colors and mixing pans.
Second, you only need a few brushes, especially when you learn the proper holds and brush strokes to achieve shapes and the desired line thickness.
Third, you can bring sketchbooks instead of watercolor papers (especially when you buy them in blocks) so you can store them easily.
Fourth, wherever you go, you are less likely to leave a mess because you can clean your tools with water.
watercolor painting checklist 5: You learn to accept that imperfections are beautiful, too.
Watercolor painting allows you to appreciate your learning process. As mentioned, light can bounce off the watercolor paper because watercolors are transparent, revealing all the layers. Therefore, you cannot cover your mistakes when you use watercolors. Watercolors help you appreciate the mistakes that will lead you to your progress.
To bring together all the points I have presented thus far, I have created a checklist that can help you assess yourself further if watercolors are the perfect medium for you.
Grab it for FREE right here, right now!