Art over the years has evolved to include various aspects and acts of man. It is often said that art is an expression of the mind; including painting which speaks volumes of not only what goes on in the mind of the artist, but general truths that people can relate to with agreement and satisfaction.

Watercolor painting refers to a piece of finished artwork, or the art of painting in which the system or method used, involves the dissolution and mixture of the pigments in water before they are applied. It is mostly carried out on paper, among other materials like leather, canvas, plastic, and wooden surfaces. In French, it is known as aquarelle.

Brief History on Watercolor painting

Watercolor painting emerged as a dominant style of painting during the Renaissance period in Europe, although it has been dated to be in existence before the use of oil in the preparation of pigments. In North East Africa for example, the oldest paintings in existence are of watercolor.

During the 18th century in England, watercolor painting became prominent in use, as artists like Paul Sandby, regarded by many as the “father of the English watercolor,” began the use of the method in the creation of maps for his landscape paintings. In the 19th century, English art society established two different societies christened the Society of Painters in Water Colours and the New Water Colour Society, established in 1804 and 1832 respectively.

Also in England, where watercolor painting became a criterion for deciding an educated individual between the ruling class and the elite. The Society of Dilettanti which was founded in 1733 began the provision of funds for watercolor artists brought into the expeditions in areas of geology and archaeology, to help keep records of the discoveries by explorers and adventurers, in the Mediterranean and the New World.

Watercolor painting, being a rapidly growing system of painting in the 18th century, lead to an increase in domestic paintings many people are ready to try and learn. And for the fact that it incidentally became a means for people who acquired knowledge in the area to be called educated increased its growth.

Watercoloring as a method of painting and an aspect of art requires creativity. Though an ancient art, it was developed by past artists in the middle ages who pioneered it. One unique thing about painting generally is the fact that it can live on forever if it is good enough.

Materials for Watercolor painting

1. Paint

Paint somehow seems to be the most important material for watercolor painting, though, every one of the basic materials is equally important. That’s perhaps because the word “paint” is inscribed in the name of the art itself.

There are two types of paints, and two grades based on expertise. Talking about types, there are pans and tubes. And talking about the grades, there are paints for artists and learners. Pan watercolors are paints that need to be moistened with water before they can be used because they come in the form of hard cakes or little blocks. Therefore, they can’t be applied directly. Tube watercolors are thick pasty liquids with high viscosity. They are further thinned with water on a palette.

Artists paints are expectedly more expensive and of greater quality than the learners’ paints, by reason of the fact that artists use theirs for professional purposes, and learners for practice. There are however four main ingredients watercolor paints are made up of: pigment, binder ( to keep the paint fixed to the surface on which it is to be applied), additives (to break or reduce the viscosity and durability) and solvent.

2. Papers

Though watercolor painting can be done on different materials, paper is the most common and appropriate material used. It is placed on a board or taped to a wall to make the painting convenient.

3. Board

A board is needed to hold down the paper on which the painting is to be done. No painter would place the painting paper on just any surface. The board is available in different sizes to suit different sizes of work. Some can be placed on a table while the painting is being done, while some are raised on a stand because of their size.

4. Brushes

Brushes are needed in watercolor painting to apply the paints on the paper. It is available in different sizes to suit different purposes, as big brushes may not be ideal to be used where thin mouthed brushes will be perfect and vice versa.

There are three parts that make up a brush, namely: the handle, ferrule, and tuft. The handle is for holding the brush itself. The tuft is the hairy portion of the brush, used to contact the paint with the paper. It is gummed to the handle with the third part, ferrule, a metallic material that shields the joint. The tufts of brushes are made from the fur of various animals, like goats, squirrels, and horses, while the handle is wooden.

5. Palette

The palette is a board or tray on which paints are laid and mixed, as watercolor painting often requires the mixing of water with paints and the combination of different colors. The ideal palette for watercolor painting has a little well for mixing to prevent spillage.

6. Glass or jar of water

Because painting often requires multiple colors, there is always a need to switch from a color to another. Before each switch, there is a need to wash paints off the tuft of the brush, to prevent the just used pigment from mixing with the one about to be used. In fact, the water is changed frequently depending on the color requirement of the painting.

Other materials like pencil, masking fluid, eraser, tape, brush towels and more are needed during a painting. But the six materials listed above are the basic ones any painting cannot be done without.

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