12 March, 2018

Exploring Art: Watercolour Paintings

Read time 3-4 mins

After delving into the rich world of oil paintings, William George & Co invite you to explore the unknowable world of watercolour paintings.

If you missed our previous instalment which looked at oil paintings then you can see it here.

Watercolours are known for being one of the most unpredictable mediums when compared to other types. They have the reputation of being unforgiving which makes it quite challenging.

How do you make watercolours?

When you are creating watercolours, you will need three things: Water which acts as the vehicle. Gum arabic which is a plant-based binder and then pigments which are chemical compounds representing the colour you desire. Once combined, you will be able to apply your brush and then paint your work of art. It must be noted that the more water you add, the thinner the paint will be.

When did watercolour paintings become popular?

Watercolour paintings first came to western artists in the 1400's. At this time, the artists needed to make their own watercolours by hand. There was an air of secrecy as artists would not often divulge their methods.

In the mediaeval times, artists would use watercolours on pages made from vellum. This type of paper was particularly popular with scroll writing. 

What makes watercolours so unpredictable?

What makes watercolours so unique is the fact that most paints reflect colour off the paint's surface. However, watercolours get their colour from the light bouncing off the white paper and making its way back up through the paint.

If you take a visual perspective, you can see an innate brilliance and clarity with watercolour paints than with other types. What helps it to shine is its transparency.  

Famous Watercolour Paintings

Did you know that these paintings were watercolour? Here are some of the most famous watercolour paintings.

  • The Blue Boat – Winslow Homer
  • The Blue Rigi - J. M. W. Turner
  • Young Hare - Albrecht Dürer
  • Light at Two Lights - Edward Hopper
  • Great Piece of Turf - Albrecht Dürer

The complex world of watercolours continues to inspire people to master it because spontaneity is everything.

We hope you enjoyed this feature and we hope you read the next one which explored Pastel Art which is a marvel in itself!

William George & Co. Art Series: Watercolour Paintings
William George & Co. Art Series: Watercolour Paintings
William George & Co. Art Series: Watercolour Paintings