Sunday, August 11, 2019

Watercolors

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By Mimi M.


Watercolors. 
 
     Most people have used them before, and they can be great tools to use in art, as they are pretty straightforward, and easy to use. What most people don't know about watercolors, though, is that their can be traced back to even as far as prehistoric humans. They created a very rudimentary form of watercolors; using a mixture of natural pigments, such as charcoal and ochre (which is an earthy pigment) mixed with water, hence the name, 'watercolors.' By the time of the Egyptians, watercolors had evolved a bit, using pigments diluted with water to paint on papyrus. In Asia, watercolor became an independent art form around the 4th century. In Europe, watercolors were first used on walls, and then transferred over to being used on paper. In America, watercolor started out less popular than it was in Europe at the time, but soon American artists started to use watercolor more and more. The use of watercolors died down during the Abstract Expressionism phase, but watercolors were brought back using color washes to join with other Abstract paintings. 
 
     When using watercolors, you will need paper (it helps to get thicker paper, so the colors don't bleed through), a brush, and watercolors. You should get multiple brushes, with different sizes and shapes, so you can get varied brushstrokes depending on what you are painting. Remember to hold your brush near the base, just above the metal part on above the tip! Also, make sure you get something to put under your paper, so as not to make a mess. If you are doing a regular or gradient color wash, which is when you lightly paint over a large space, it can help to tape your paper to something light but sturdy so that the paper doesn’t 'bubble up' in some places. Also, by using this method, you can tilt your paper to move some of the paints where you want using gravity. When doing watercolor, be sure to be mindful of where you are putting the pigment down, as watercolor doesn't usually allow much room for going over and redoing your work. But don't worry, if you accidentally paint over where you needed to, you can usually use a paper towel to dab away the paint while it is still wet, diminishing the color, and making it less visible. Another thing to do when painting with watercolors is to work fast, but take breaks. When coloring in an object, don't leave halfway through, as that will cause a streak in the middle when you finish it. But you still must take breaks once you finish one part so that the colors don't mix. 
 
     There are many types of watercolors, and many replacements one can use to get a similar effect. Some watercolors come in pans, and some in tubes. To use the ones in pans, you dip your brush in water, and pick up the pigment with that. With tubes, you must squeeze out some of the pigment, and mix it with water. Between the two, pigments from tubes tend to be more vibrant, while it takes a bit more time to build up the colors with pigments from a pan. Also, it is easier to customize your palette of colors with tubed pigments, as pans come with preselected colors. Also, you can use gouache, which is a more opaque type of watercolor, if you want more color in your art. Another way to get a watercolor-looking piece of art without water colors is to use colored brush pens and water pens. With this method, you can either color in your work with the pens, and go over it with the water pens to smooth it out, or fill in a block of the color you want on another piece of paper, put water on it, and paint with it like you would with watercolors. The benefits of painting with the water pen is that it is much more pastel, and easier to control the water. 
 
     So now you know more about watercolors. Their origins, how to use them, and replacements for them. If you want to know how to get better at using them, well that's simple. Just keep on practicing! There are many tutorials online you can use to learn more tip and tricks, and the more you paint, the better you'll get! 

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