The term ‘Watercolour’ refers both to the medium and artworks made using colour pigments that are water-soluble. Watercolour paint is made by mixing pigments with a binder, usually gum arabic, and then applying it with water to paper. The absorption of pigments into the paper and the eventual evaporation of water brings about the final appearance of watercolour. The immediacy of the medium and the beautiful textures and patterns revealing the motion of the water is what makes watercolour a master medium.
The earliest use of watercolor can be dated back to early Paleolithic age and the medium was later popularized in Egyptian art after the discovery of papyrus (paper). Watercolor paintings make for one of the most versatile forms of paintings as they can be applied to everything from paper to canvas, stone, wood and fabrics. The advantages of watercolor lie in the ease and quickness of its application, in the transparent effects achievable, in in the vividness of shades and its effectiveness of cost. The medium dries much faster than oil painting and permits the creation of finer, more precise works of art.
The paper plays an important role in making watercolor paintings because the paper will determine the quality of your painting through its content, weight, texture and production. Watercolor paper is typically not made from wood pulp, but instead from linen or cotton rags pounded into small fibers. The paper itself is mostly air, laced with a microscopic web of these tangled fibers.
Watercolor can be used in many different ways. There are two watercolor techniques that can add variation and interest to your paintings: 1. Wet-in-wet painting, in which wet paint is applied to a wet paper. 2. Wet-on-dry painting, in which wet paint is applied onto a dry paper. These techniques give rise to a number of standard effects including: Dry-brush effects, Edge darkening, Intentional backruns, Granulation and separation of pigments and Flow patterns.