Diving Into Watercolor

For years, I always thought my artistic calling painting-wise was in acrylics. They are, in my opinion, the easiest to wield, with almost no learning curve. You literally just dip your brush in the paint and go HAM on the canvas. There are no complicated techniques and you don’t even need to learn color theory, although it would be helpful.

Watercolor, however, is a different story. I started with watercolors. The popular palette came in a rectangular yellow plastic with thin blocks of color. It even came with a cheap brush. It was a staple in every elementary school kids’ art materials collection for school. I can’t even find a photo of it online because it’s so local and obscure.

I guess watercolor was the go-to medium for youngsters back home because the palettes are cheap, and they are less cumbersome than individual tubes of acrylic paints. And Yoda knows what kind of mess a child can create with oils. Even as an adult, I balk at the thought of working with oil paints, simply because they seem to never dry and are bit more high-maintenance than acrylic.

When I took several art classes a few years ago to earn my Art New Media degree, acrylic paints were king. No one messed with any other medium, although we did have a short session with pastels. So that was that. I stuck with acrylic painting for most of my life.

Until this year, when I came across a fun pen while walking around Blick, an art supply store across my old apartment. It was a water brush for less than $5.00.

Aqua Flow brush

Literally a brush that can store water so you don’t have to keep dipping into a cup of water. You can just squeeze the barrel and out comes the water. It seemed brilliant, and I wanted one. So I got one, along with a Koh-I-Noor watercolor wheel set.

Koh-I-Noor Watercolor wheel

But then I had to move and shove 95% of my stuff in storage, including all my canvases, art pads, and my huge art box with all my paints, brushes, pencils–everything. Except my water brush and wheel, which I had packed into my bag when I moved for some reason. That put a halt into any sort of painting I had planned, until I finally put my foot down and purchased a watercolor pad from Walmart a couple of weeks ago.

And it has been a slow process, but I am finding the wet-in-wet technique to be heavenly. It makes whatever I paint look like a controlled, beautiful accident.

There is just no way I can do this with acrylic. When I use acrylic, my style reeks of Fauvism–loose, bold, sort of messy. Watercolor brings a more delicate, petal-like quality to the picture that looks like an amalgamation of arbitrary blots of color, but is actually carefully planned.

And I dig it.

So I will be making more of it. And with Christmas coming up, my friends and relatives can look forward to hand-painted cards. 😛

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