watercolor painting

(redirected from Water-colours)

watercolor painting,

in its wider sense, refers to all pigments mixed with water rather than with oil and also to the paintings produced by this process; it includes frescofresco
[Ital.,=fresh], in its pure form the art of painting upon damp, fresh, lime plaster. In Renaissance Italy it was called buon fresco to distinguish it from fresco secco, which was executed upon dry plaster with pigments having a glue or casein base.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and temperatempera
, painting method in which finely ground pigment is mixed with a solidifying base such as albumen, fig sap, or thin glue. When used in mural painting it is also known as fresco secco (dry fresco) to distinguish it from the buon fresco
..... Click the link for more information.
 as well as aquarelle, the process now commonly meant by the generic term. Gouache and distemper are also watercolors, although they are prepared with a more gluey base than the other forms. Long before oil was used in the preparation of pigment, watercolor painting had achieved a high form of sophistication. The oldest existing paintings, found in Egypt, are watercolors. The Persian artist Bihzad (15th cent.) produced exquisite miniatures of great complexity. Gouache was employed by Byzantine and Romanesque artists. In the Middle Ages, illuminated manuscripts on vellum used watercolor to produce their flat, brilliant effects. In this same manner watercolors were used during and after the Renaissance by such artists as Dürer, Rembrandt, Rubens, and Van Dyck to tint and shade drawings and woodcuts. Dürer in particular colored landscape drawings in a manner not unlike the modern method.

In the 18th cent. the modern aquarelle grew from the simple wash coloring of a drawing into a technique of complete painting. This technique became particularly popular in England, where its greatest masters were Constable and J. M. W. Turner. Rowlandson, Cozens, Girtin, Bonington, Cotman, and John and Paul Nash were also celebrated for their use of the technique. Many 19th-century painters also used watercolor extensively, mostly for landscape paintings and sometimes for portraits, but it was no longer commonly used for miniatures. The French artists Daumier, Delacroix, and Géricault, and later, Cézanne, Signac, and Dufy, employed aquarelle to a large extent, for both preliminary sketches and finished works. The American John Singer Sargent became well known for his aquarelles. Other painters in the United States, including Homer, Whistler, Prendergast, Marin, and Sheeler, painted noteworthy watercolors.

The advantages of watercolor lie in the ease and quickness of its application, in the transparent effects achievable, in the brilliance of its colors, and in its relative cheapness. Aquarelles have a delicacy difficult to achieve in oil and are equally flexible, lending themselves to immediate expression of a visual experience. Their handling demands considerable skill as overpainting of flaws is usually impossible. Watercolor was traditionally a comparatively perishable medium, vulnerable to sunlight, dust, and contact with glass surfaces, but the use of modern pigments has made it much more stable.

Bibliography

See G. Reynolds, A Concise History of Water Colors (1971, repr. 1986); C. Fince, Twentieth Century Watercolors (1988).

References in classic literature ?
Dear mama, only think, my cousin cannot put the map of Europe together-- or my cousin cannot tell the principal rivers in Russia-- or, she never heard of Asia Minor--or she does not know the difference between water-colours and crayons
Isn't it like a water-colour too-- you know the way water-colours dry in ridges all across the paper-- I've been wondering what they looked like.
She had lately taken up painting in water-colours, having read in a high-class woman's weekly paper that a great many princesses of the European royal houses were cultivating that art.
The water-colour lesson enlivened by the jocular conversation of the kindly, humorous, old man was always great fun; and she felt she would be compensated for the tiresome beginning of the day.
The work is a mix of water-colour, water-colour and collage, mixed media and textured acrylic on canvas, the use of acrylic on canvas giving an interesting added dimension while the striking intensity of water-colours is a rarity among water-colourists.
The collection, of over 600 paintings, drawings and water-colours, included works by JMW Turner.
Hockney, speaking after the opening of an exhibition of Turner water-colours in London, added: "Turner smoked.
There's a rich imagination at work, too, in Mary Follows' fantasy paintings, Temporal Visions, in water-colours.
The exhibition includes paintings, sculptures, water-colours, drawings, prints and archival information.
Cotman in the North: Water-colours of Durham and Yorkshire is at the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, until July 31.
Ranging in price from pounds 20 up to pounds 160, the collection of water-colours, pastels, oils, gouache and pen and wash paintings will be on sale in time for Christmas gift shopping.
Technical drawings are joined by occasional water-colours, calligraphic gestures by van Berkel that strangely evoke the essence of particular projects.