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Brief History of Watercolor Rendering

By Tom Tripp

Paint made out of pigments that is suspended in a water soluble medium when used to render art is watercolor painting method. If one were to write a brief history of watercolor rendering, one would find it extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact beginning of the usage of watercolor painting method.

The only way to write a brief history of watercolor rendering is to go by streaks of evidence left behind by history on the use of this paint as a means of art. The cavemen in Europe, during its Palaeolithic ages, have been found to have first used this type of art. Evidence of its use, can then be found after a break in time, from the European middle ages.

The first continuous trace of this form of art can however be found from the renaissance period. Between the years 1471-1528 a German renaissance artist by the name of Albrecht Duer had created many an art piece using this medium of watercolor. Germany was also the pioneer in the first known school for watercolor painting methods run by Hans Bol who lived between 1534 to 1593.

Watercolor was not, though, used extensively in painting works; it was used only for creating small sketches, cartoons and copies. However, for rendition of botanical subjects, this type of art was used as it had the capability of providing close to real life effect on the wildlife or flora and fauna objects being rendered by the artist.

Extensive use of watercolor painting method was only started during the eighteenth century in England which also was responsible for the spread of its popularity. Designers found this to be a useful means to depict topographical features of a place and it began to be used in this field.

It then went on to be used in the creation of reading books too. Since then it has remained a very popular form of rendering art, especially so for it has the capability to render near real life depiction of its characters.

Painting Lessons Involving Watercolor Painting Techniques

By Jodi Cressy

LA Painting Lessons are available to all levels of ability, normally they manage a wide variety of subjects from still life and landscape to experimental methods. They also offer watercolor painting. Watercolors are essentially the most difficult skill for any artist to learn because watercolor painting is something you just cannot fake.

The changeability and unmanageable characteristics of watercolor make it the most fascinating and expressive choice of all. The chance to meander somewhere between competence and complete lack of control throughout a painting allows it to be probably the most engaging mediums. This, plus the fact that it's fast, clean and portable, may make you passionate and may develop more later on. Customarily, watercolor employed merely thin, transparent washes of pigment. Some stunning, fragile paintings came from this way of thinking. Modern day watercolor, however, permits significantly greater freedom of method and material. The American Watercolor Society now allows all water media watercolor, acrylic, casein, gouache, egg tempera but draws the line at collage and pastel.

A watercolor stands out as the medium or the finishing artwork, in which the paints are constructed with pigments hanging in a water soluble vehicle. The traditional and the most common support for watercolor paintings is paper; other supports include papyrus, bark papers, plastics, vellum or leather, fabric, wood, and canvas.

Moving within the approved concept of watercolor into the world of mixed media can open up an enormous new variety of opportunities. The excitement of blending together watercolor with ink, pastel, collage and other water based media is one of the most addictive forms of expression. The process of building up, changing, editing, destroying and reconstructing allows a painting to develop a life and momentum of its own. You, as being the artist, become nearly a spectator, watching, knowing and cajoling since the painting slowly reaches life.

LA Painting Lessons requires the most basic watercolor technique called flat wash. It is made by initial wetting the area of paper to be covered by the wash, then mixing adequate pigment to easily populate the entire region. The pigment is applied to a sloping surface in slightly overlapping horizontal bands from the top down. Once completed, the wash should be kept to dry and even itself out and about, don't be lured to work back into a drying wash, and the results are often terrible! A variation on the fundamental wash is the graded wash. This technique requires the pigment to be diluted slightly with an increase of water for every horizontal stroke.

The effect is a wash which dies out gradually and evenly. Similar watercolor technique to a wash is Glazing, but works with a thin, transparent pigment used over dry existing washes. The objective should be to change the color and tone of the base wash. Non staining, clear pigments such as Rose Madder Cobalt Blue and Auroline are ideal for glazing as they may be applied layer after layer to accomplish the specified effect. Make sure each layer is completely dry before you apply the next.

10 Steps for Teaching Watercolor to Memory Care Residents

By Stephane McGrady

Recently I started teaching watercolor classes for Memory Care residents. My students are all in different stages of Alzheimer's and have different ability levels and attention spans, so I was not sure how well they would be able to work in Watercolor or if they would end up with a good finished piece. But with some significant pre-planning the watercolor classes have been very successful.

Please note: Memory Care classes require more time and pre-planning than classes for more Independent and able Seniors. I complete the first five steps of the following list before beginning the art class with my students.

10 Steps for teaching a Successful Watercolor Class for Memory Care Residents:

1. Enlarge a photo or choose a large picture from a photo book that does not have a lot of fine detail. I enlarged a photo of a field of daffodils that I had taken in Washington State and mounted it on black card stock so my students could easily see the photo.

2. Paint a sample watercolor painting for students to refer to- nothing too fancy- to show them what their finished picture can look like. I used a combination of watercolor, color pencils and ink for my painting.

3. Sketch out the basic scene lightly in pencil on each student's sheet.

4. Color-code the different areas of the painting. This is a very important step! These additional instructions are very helpful and make it easier for students to follow directions as they paint each section.

5. Use foam board or thin plywood scrap as a backer for the watercolor paper, and tape everyone's paper to the board before class.

6. Set up each individual's watercolor paints, brushes, water and palette for them and show students the sample painting so they can see what the final product is supposed to look like. It is very important to make sure they do not jump ahead before they are shown what the each step should look like- or they most likely will end up with blue grass and green skies.

7. Show students how to pick up color from the paint palette and how to mix paint colors on the palette to create custom colors. We painted each section separately, painting the sky first at the top, moved to lower areas next so that each section would have time to dry a little so the colors would not all run together and get too muddy.

8. Give simple step by step instructions and demonstrate each step so that students can see what you are asking them to do. Our project was a "wet on wet" painting, so I showed them how to do a wash with clear water using a large flat brush and made sure they did not soak the paper with too much excess water. As I gave them new instructions, I demonstrated each step as we went along and answered questions.

9. Assist students if they need help, but allow them to choose their own color schemes- if they do not want to follow the prompts- and have each person complete each section on their own if possible. As I always tell my students- there is no right or wrong way to create art and their painting should reflect them- not me!

10. After all the sections of the painting are finished by your students, you can define a few details with ink or pencil. I drew in a few details with ink and it made a huge difference in the final painting- and all my ladies were very pleased with their final results. Always make sure to have them sign their names on their paintings so that they can show their families what they have accomplished.

I was very pleased with the results of our watercolor class as were my students. The ladies in my class were actively engaged for over an hour and really enjoyed creating their own masterpieces. I teach art, music and gardening classes to Memory Care residents, and feel this was one of the best activities we have completed together to date.

Watercolor is definitely a class I will continue to offer and encourage you to try this art medium with your students as well. A watercolor project can be completed in one class and students feel a huge sense of accomplishment when they show their families their hand-made artwork.

Creating a Work of Art from a Photograph

By Michael Warwick

Have you ever looked at one of your photos and said to yourself "Wow, that almost looks like a painting"? Did you know there are techniques that can transform that photo into a watercolor or pen and ink painting or charcoal drawing? And then it can be printed on canvas or fine art watercolor paper for that true art feel and permanence.

Photography today is bridging the gap between "fine art photography" and simply "fine art". What takes a painter days, weeks and months to create a painting masterpiece, a photograph can be transformed into a watercolor, a pen and ink drawing and even a charcoal drawing in a few hours. And many if these techniques can be applied to the same image. It all depends on how you want to "interpret" your art work.

Adobe PhotoShop offer many wonderful filter tools and it simply requires a little bit of time and experimentation to learn how to use some of these to enhance your photographs. Adding a little "noise" or Gaussian Blur" to an image can do wonders to transform a photo.

As you become familiar with many of these filter tools, you will soon discover that you will want to apply certain tools to different parts of your image. An easy way to do this is to select an area of your photo that you want to apply an effect and "cut it" from the main photo and copy it into a new folder. When you have done this , you can work on each part of the image independently. When you completed your effects to the part you had cut away, simply copy it back into the original image and move it to the proper location. It literally "snaps" into place when you line it up with where it needs to be.

Photoshop Elements has some wonderful "Effects" tools and experiment with some of these to see what they can do with your image. Ahhh, and when you have created some masterpieces, try converting them into black and white or select portions of your image as black and white while other portions remain in color. You will get a "painted effect" on the color portion.

Another interesting fact of transforming these photographs in this way is that you are literally altering the pixels of the image. This allows you to enlarge the image far greater without the image resolution loss that you would experience with a normal photo. For example, we have applied some techniques to an image taken on an 8 megapixel digital camera and have then printed that image at 30 x 40 inches on canvas and it is stunning...and it can easily go larger.


No architect troubled to design houses that suited people who were to live in them, because that would have meant building a whole range of different houses. It was far cheaper and, above all, timesaving to make them identical.
Michael Ende

Not many architects have the luxury to reject significant things.
Rem Koolhaas

Nothing requires the architect's care more than the due proportions of buildings.
Marcus V. Pollio

Proportions are what makes the old Greek temples classic in their beauty. They are like huge blocks, from which the air has been literally hewn out between the columns.
Arne Jacobsen

Rome has not seen a modern building in more than half a century. It is a city frozen in time.
Richard Meier

Space has always been the spiritual dimension of architecture. It is not the physical statement of the structure so much as what it contains that moves us.
Arthur Erickson

The bungalow had more to do with how Americans live today than any other building that has gone remotely by the name of architecture in our history.
Russell Lynes

The dialogue between client and architect is about as intimate as any conversation you can have, because when you're talking about building a house, you're talking about dreams.
Robert A. M. Stern

The frightening thought that what you draw may become a building makes for reasoned lines.
Saul Steinberg

The higher the building the lower the morals.
Noel Coward

The interior of the house personifies the private world; the exterior of it is part of the outside world.
Stephen Gardiner

The loftier the building, the deeper must the foundation be laid.
Thomas Kempis

The Romans were not inventors of the supporting arch, but its extended use in vaults and intersecting barrel shapes and domes is theirs.
Harry Seidler

The work of art shows people new directions and thinks of the future. The house thinks of the present.
Adolf Loos

Those who look for the laws of Nature as a support for their new works collaborate with the creator.
Antonio Gaudi


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