Watercolor, referred to as aquarelle or (in its opaque form) as gouache, is arguably the most versatile of art forms. It is also one of the most ancient artistic uses of color.
Watercolor has perhaps also enjoyed the widest universal appeal throughout the ages, both as a popular art form and as an art medium. Watercolor paints have always been relatively available in inexpensive forms which are easy to store and carry and easy to mix and clean up, being water soluble. Watercolor paints also offer a huge range of colors which appealed to both professional and amateur painters.For more details browse the Watercolor Tutorial site
Watercolor has deep historic roots. Ancient Egyptian manuscript illumination and Chinese and Japanese brush painting were made using water-based dyes. Ancient Asian calligraphy and primative tribal body painting both used watercolor paints. Michaelangelo’s Cistine Chapel is in fact a watercolor, using water-based pigments mixed with wet plaster. Considered the most ‘democratic’ of artforms during medieval times and up until the 20th Century, a watercolor was the most likely original piece of art to be found in most homes, even the humblest. Printing and photography which now allows reproduction of all painting forms have changed that in modern times.
Easier to Look at Than to Paint-Watercolor techniques have a reputation of being difficult to master and demanding to use. Since watercolor is a dynamic form of painting, the colors must be applied quickly and uniformly in order to capture the artist’s intended effect. Although the composition of a watercolor requires the basic techniques of drawing or painting in any media, there are many techniques that are unique to watercolor. Maintaining a high quality of value differences and color clarity are typically the most difficult properties to achieve and maintain.
Watercolors are basically pigments (powdered colors or dyes) combined with some form of glue, generally gum arabic, mixed with water. Various other additives are used as preservatives or to add specific effects, but always retaining a water base, allowing a very wide range of color hues by diluting or concentrating the pigment.
The quality and durability of today’s watercolors is the best it has ever been, and the colors that can be created by mixing these pigments are practically unlimited.
Thanks to modern printing and photographic technology, you can buy a good quality full color poster reproduction of ‘Albrecht Duher, “The Hare”, painted in Vienna in 1502 in full photographic detail, to hang on your wall. Or, for that matter, a reproduction of the Sistine Chapel (if that’s your preference)…or a Homer Winslow …or a Turner.
But wouldn’t you rather hang on your wall a quality watercolor portrait of your own children? Short of commissioning a professional artist, an expensive proposition, or convincing your young children to sit still for Aunt Sally (and then you’re stuck with hanging it no matter what the results), what are your options? Well, modern technology now makes is possible to inexpensively commission a real watercolor portrait or watercolor landscape from your favorite photograph.