During my "college years" I painted with oils, thinning the colors with turpentine to get them to run and drip. Many people would say you thin your oils down so much why not just use watercolors? The fact was that I had tried watercolors a couple of times, and I didn't like them. My limited knowledge of the techniques, and my limited supply of tools gave me poor results. So I set them aside. After picking up watercolors again in 2010, I found them to be magnificent! I was now ready to let this be my medium, and I have put in a lot of time gaining new knowledge, and supplies to achieve a lot better results. So with this series of articles I would like to let everyone know why I love watercolors and what it is about them that makes them so spectacular.
Watercolors are resoluble! What exactly does this mean? Watercolors are made using the binder gum arabic. Gum arabic is able to dry and then be rewetted into a liquid form. Before painting I use a spray bottle and squirt my palette and colors allowing the water to soak into the colors for about 10-15 minutes. Personally I like the dry colors because #1 I can control the amount of paint on my brush. The more I swipe over the dryer paint with water on it the darker the color. When the paint is fresh from the tube you put your brush into the paint and you have no idea how much pigment you have on your brush. #2 No waste of paint--When the paint runs out on the palette I squeeze fresh paint and let it dry. When squeezing fresh paint I put a couple of drops of gum arabic into the paint and mix it with a palette knife. I find the extra gum arabic helps the paint when rewetting. Also, if I am going to paint a very deep dark area I will squeeze fresh paint and add just a little bit of water. The fresh paint will give you the deepest darkest value. Some watercolorist will say "Only use fresh paint!" But remember that is their way of working, be careful of those who think there is only ONE WAY. For me this is the way I prefer to work; it is producing some good work, and gives me a lot of flexibility. It is not the only way, but being able to rewet the colors after they dry is one reason I love watercolors! My colors are now ready for painting... off to have some fun!