Since making art my career, I’ve favoured painting with oils. They give me the texture I want and they can be pushed around my chosen surface in a forgiving way. I never had much time for watercolours because I felt that they were quite an insipid, wishy washy medium.
I had a set of watercolours which had been in my studio at the bottom of a box for years, so one day I thought I’d experiment to see if I could get results which were more vibrant than the examples I’d been used to seeing. I wondered if I could get a similar result to what I’d been achieving with my oil paint. The answer was yes! After trying different methods using ink pens, Indian ink and watercolour together, I found a pleasing look which was similar in a lot of ways to my oil work.
I find that the two mediums are virtually opposite in many ways but this I’ve used to my advantage. Whereas painting plein air with oil can be a very involved affair, the opposite is true with watercolours. A watercolour pad, set of paints, pencil, pen, a couple of brushes and a bottle of water & off you go. It frees you up to travel further and to be able to visit places you might not if you’re carrying all your oil gear.
Other advantages of watercolours are:
quick drying, easy to clean up, light weight, same brush can be easily used for multiple colours, sketches can be achieved quickly.
WHICH IS MY FAVOURITE, OIL OR WATERCOLOUR?
Neither actually. I have now come to see that both oils and watercolours have tremendous advantages In different circumstances. I will always produce oil paintings but I’m glad that I decided on that day to pull out that old box of watercolours and give them a proper road test. It taught me never to make a judgement relying on what you see around you without trying it for yourself and adapting it to your own style and methods.
The watercolours in the images above are available from my website and I shall be adding more from now on.
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