Why are Watercolours Challenging

In one word… “water”.  It flows, drips, pools, creeps, evaporates and seems to have a mind of its own.  Gaining control over water is key to making great paintings.  

Regardless of your choice of medium, painted works of art can be viewed as an arrangement of four components:

            Shapes - Values - Edges - Colours

Every artist needs techniques to effectively produce these components in their chosen medium.  The skilled watercolour painter has spent considerable time learning and practicing their unique craft. 

The fluid nature of watercolour determines which methods work best.  As the painter is deciding on the right shapes, edges, values and colours, they must also contend with time and gravity.  Water flows downhill and evaporates as we paint.  Therefore, planning ahead for values, hard/soft edges and colours is essential.  Work can then progress in a smooth organized manner.   

Spontaneity, creativity and “happy accidents” are attractive aspects of watercolours.  A planned approach doesn’t diminish these but gives us a tool to help us get what we want in the end product.

​Building Skills One Step at a Time