My watercolor rendering of a New York landmark that I submitted to a group exhibition this month was awarded third prize in Watercolor Painting category last weekend, which was a lovely surprise given that this painting is my first serious work in watercolor. I was delighted to receive the award and feel inspired to continue watercolor alongside my other endeavors henceforth.
Watercolor painting has a fascinating history, and it was during the Renaissance that it was into the spotlight. Unlike pre-Renaissance artists, who used watercolor mainly to illustrate manuscripts, Renaissance artists like Durer and da Vinci took the versatility of watercolor to a completely new level by using it for sketches and drawings. The medium became particularly popular amongst Romantic artists like Turner, who used it to create his legendary vortex effects, and was amongst the first to exhibit full-scale watercolor works and to earn commercial income from selling watercolor paintings.
Tom Hoffman in his book “Watercolor Painting” describes the beauty of this medium and suggests that it “lies in its diaphanous layers, delicate strokes, and luminous washes”, and I fully agree with him. Leading artists like John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Georgia O’ Keeffee, Leon Bonvin, and Mary White enjoyed the technical possibilities and effects of watercolor, and like myself, evolved their art through using watercolor to expand their skills and the emotional range of their works.
Speaking of evolving my skills, my next project for the future is to study sculpture techniques, which will help me to get a stronger connection to shapes and textures. My credo is “do the things you don’t know how to do, and don’t worry about mistakes”! Making success out of mistakes, that’s what I call true creativity!