Tag Archives: transparent watercolor

Watercolor – Watermedia

I am a painter’s painter. I don’t really care about watercolor. In fact, years ago I used to not like the medium.
When I did my painting apprenticeship in the early 90’s we painted in gouache and acrylics. Later, I would use gouache and egg tempera before trying to stay more transparent. More and more people who call themselves watercolor painters these days are actually using lots of white paint, mostly gouache, Chinese white or similar.
I find that comical because for me, it was the other way around but many of us seem to end up in the same place!

So the word should actually be watermedia painter, unless you’re painting in a transparent manner. If I see pencil lines, it’s transparent no matter how much white paint you’re using. That’s how I see it. Confusing? Yeah, I agree..

If you layer and layer your lighter values towards the lightest light (the white) with thick paint, well, that’s not watercolor. No matter what you call it. In traditional watercolor painting you work from light to dark. The idea being that the lightest light is the white of the paper.
If you’re from a foreign country, it might be lost in translation. Overall it’s not a deal breaker but worth a blogpost, I think. Especially in light of the fact that there are still a few watercolor societies left where they reject the use of white paint, even Chinese white, part of many watercolor sets you can buy. Do they have still have merit?
The thing is, their shows definitely have more true watercolors than most other shows, because aside from the fact that they don’t allow white paint, there’s also no collages and other works like that permitted.

To me painting is painting, the medium should be secondary. There is no ‘bad’ medium, just bad painters.
Should a watermedia painting be called ‘watercolor’? Some artists put ‘ watercolor and white’ as medium. I think that’s good. Another solution would be to call it ‘transparent watercolor’ if no white paint was used. But what if white paint was used and it’s still transparent? What is it?
You can see how there are no real firm borders. There’s no protected term ‘watercolor’, you could call an acrylic painting a watercolor if it was used with lots of water. It might be hard to spot if it’s not watercolor pigments!
I think overall, there shouldn’t be rules in art. There are already rules everywhere else in life. I think we can do without people with clipboards going around to determine what’s allowed and what isn’t. That’s just me..
Comment welcome!

Watermedia show ‘Creative Independence’

On July first, I was invited to jury the watermedia show called ‘Creative Independence’ at the prestigious San Diego Watercolor Society. The show runs from July 3 to 27, 2013 at their headquarters in San Diego, California.
If you have a chance I would urge you to check it out! SDWC is a big society and has a lot of incredibly talented watermedia artists!

Being a juror is a big honor and I don’t take it lightly! It is never easy to select certain paintings to go in and reject others. As artists, we don’t take rejections well because there’s so much of our personality that goes into our work, so when a juror doesn’t pick our work, well…let’s just say it doesn’t feel good. Jurors can usually only select around 90 paintings for any given exhibition. If there are 250 or more entries, we have no choice but to eliminate a big number of works. I tried my best to be fair, but it is of course, not possible!

This is what i look for when jurying: Technical skill and knowledge of perspective, anatomy, a strong composition and/or pattern and design. Also, an understanding of values, light and atmosphere.  (depending on the genre and subject matter, of course) In addition, the work should display a consistency (esp. if someone submits more than one painting) and assured individual style. Paintings also have to communicate with the viewer on some level and convey a mood or an expression!

My sincere congratulations to all the award winners! I hope I selected a balanced show and my thanks goes to Nell Bartlett and her wonderful team at the SDWC for making this job easy for me!

The 2013 Exhibition of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America

Watercolor Artist Magazine Award

Watercolor Artist Magazine Award



with Chihiro Yabe

with Chihiro Yabe

I attended the opening reception in Kenosha,  Wisconsin last weekend. Before I say anything else, I’d like to state that everyone I met at TWSA was extremely nice and accommodating, making us artists feel very special! It was a real treat to be there and I am glad I went.

Kenosha lies on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, about half way between Milwaukee and Chicago. It was quite surprising to see what a beautiful setting it is! The Gallery is wonderful and the view from the reception area was spectacular! I highly recommend a visit to this part of the country!

Life as a professional artist is not an easy feat, so if our efforts get rewarded with awards and Signature membership, it feels very good and is incredible rewarding! Something that cannot be taken for granted, ever.

I’d like to thank Sheryl Fletcher Coon for inviting me and making this visit special. My thanks also goes to Catherine Nash, Gayle Mondie, Suzanne Hetzel, Vickie Kwasny and Lennox Wallace.  I was happy I met lots of fellow artists in person whom I know on social media. Needless to say, it’s not the same and you don’t know anyone until you actually meet them and look into their eyes. I am proud to say that Chihiro Yabe, Ona Kingdon, Marlin Rotach, Janie Freeman, Mary Jansen and Dick Green are all friends now. And it was great to see my dear friend Chris Beck again; thanks Chris and Jim for all your help and making our first visit to TWSA entertaining!

I was also thrilled to have met the wonderful Kelly Kane of Watercolor Artist magazine, who came right up to me and introduced herself. Thank you very much for this award!