Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Watercolor Rules

I never liked adhering to rules about making what some people call pure or true watercolor. That is the surfaces that you are required to work on and using only transparent watercolor without adding opaque white paint (body color) or any other opaque colors (gouache) to make corrections. They have these rules even though great watercolorists who they name as examples used opaque paints and body color in their work- Turner, Sargent, Homer.  

Durer made fantastic watercolor studies that were actually painted in gouache. Gouache is watercolor, just not transparent watercolor. I would be more concerned with making a great painting no matter what the medium. I really don't understand why people make rules for the medium- you can wind up with a great watercolor but a lousy piece of art or the other way around. I remember someone told me that they didn't consider a gouache painting serious art because it reminded them of the poster paint kids use in school! What would that person think of Durer's work?

 Now, having said that, I definitely fell in to the trap of striving to make  
"Pure Watercolors". Feeling that if I didn't measure up to these rules anything I do will just fall short, or I could be satisfied with a painting only to have it torn apart under criticism. Not because it wasn't a good painting but because it wasn't a good watercolor. 

These last three paintings I did were done in watercolor without making corrections with opaque colors. Not a bad experience but not what I want to be rated on. On the one hand I would like to master the medium and on the other hand the painting is not just about the medium.

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