Art 2 – Watercolor Botanicals – Due 10/4


1. Visit the website of local artist Hanya Fojalco:

2. Watch the time lapse video of the peony watercolor painting:

3.  Read the following 3 summaries about the history of watercolor.

A. history.htm

B. historymedium.html

C. art-history-a-watercolor-artist-you-should-know-of

4. In your post, comment on the 3 historical items you find most interesting and an item that is most relevant to you in your practice with watercolor.

5. Finally, link to another watercolor image that you find pleasing and relevant to what we are doing in class and make a comment on the previous link posted.


24 responses »

  1. For me, one of the most fascinating historical facts was that miniature watercolor paintings created hundreds of years ago are now some of the most valuable art pieces available. I was also previously unaware of the fact that watercolor was once thought of as a means of “sketching” and not as a means of producing a completed art piece. I found it interesting to watch the evolution of watercolor and to see how, following its peak during the 1700-1800’s, the popularity of watercolors took a rapid decline only to resurface within the past forty years. The aspect of these articles that I found most relevant to me was the diverse ways in which watercolors were used, ranging from realistic to abstract. This reminded me of the freedom watercolors allow a painter. The following link is for the floral section of Patrice Federspiel’s website. She is a watercolor artist that I met in Hawaii and I found her to be both talented and inspirational.

    • It’s interesting how watercolors has gone in and out of favor over time. I especially liked the variety of styles posted by happyartist at the Salamagundi Club. Thanks for pointing us to Patrice’s watercolors. They are a great model for the class now. She certainly has found her ideal medium for conveying the flora and mood of Hawaii.

  2. Starting with the cave paintings to now having watercolor as a media treasured by museums is wonderful. It is the easiest to transport when traveling and there are now small kits that take up minimal space in your travel bags. A Rag paper of 140lbs to 300lbs is optimal in this case. If too thin, it buckles too easily.
    Almost every State in the USA has a Watercolor Society; CWA is the one for California with the National Watercolor Society based near LA. AWS, American Watercolor Society, is the oldest and located in NYC. All have requirements stated in their bylaws regarding membership. The Signature Membership status is revered by most artists as a way to build a resume and gain a following for sales or representation. They are by definition difficult to get into at this level. AWS requires you to be accepted into 3 of its Annual Juried Shows within a 10 year period; NWS requires 1 but then you have to send in a portfolio of 3 more to be juried my their signature members before you can be invited. Here’s a link to the 2010 AWS show to see the work; the sidebar resulting will be informative as well:

  3. I think it is cool that the first cave paintings were watercolor and that they could remain on the cave walls so long! I also thought it was particulalrly interesting that there was a whole watercolor movement in Scotland! I never knew that there were movements for the visual arts. It was also some news to me that each artist used to have like a secret family recipe for watercolor. I thought that was a pretty cool watercolor group thing. I couldn’t see the paintings very well because the camera guy was moving kinda fast and it was bad resolution but i liked the one of the bridge most.

    • Yes, the recipes were so important to the artists and that is why a lot of painters have favorite brands. The chemical properties are so important to some passages in the painting process. I like the painting you posted. The real object is imposed on a fluid field.

  4. I never really considered that cave paintings were the first watercolors, but that makes sense. I was also interested in the fact that the first tubes of watercolor paint were made by an American in 1841. It is a little surprising that it took people so long to think of making watercolors as a gel, instead of a solid that needed to be ground before use. The thing most relevant to me was the way that slightly different colors are used to create depth and make an image, like the pink flower, to not look un-naturally perfect. What I liked about the picture posted by Kahlo is the range of colors used in the background and foreground of the paint tube. My favorite artist is Arthur Rackham, and he did some of his work in watercolor. Here are two links to some of his best work (in my opinion).

  5. I found it really interesting that a lot of the art made around the time of exploration was watercolor because when I think about the history of painting, I think more about the colors they used or the techniques in showing perspective but it never really occurred to me that the artists weren’t all using the same type of paint. I found it rather surprising when I read that by the early 1800s, watercolor had become a part of education for upper class females. It seems like a common trend that women always start new things after men have already mastered them but the women, this time, seem to have a better chance at learning and mastering watercolor (if you’re a part of the upper class). I took a watercolor class when I was a little kid and I remember hearing or learning about bees. I found it so fun to learn that honey was used in the beginning forms of watercolors for various ways.
    Watching the time lapse video was helpful to me in seeing how dark lines are a good idea to start out with but then adding water to show lights, darks, and shadows really works in making a piece more realistic.
    Kahlo, the link you posted of the paint tube takes on a form of abstraction in my eyes. I immediately see the focal point and can identify what the painting is of but after looking for a while, I can see the light and heavy blotches of watercolor that gives this piece a unique sort of perspective but also a more interesting canvas.
    This is the picture I found to be the most effective for me… See what you think!,r:9,s:0,i:101&tx=125&ty=82

    • Excellent insights about the importance of gender and class in the history of watercolor. I like your choice since the medium is so suited for this subject. I like the warm/cool dynamics also.

  6. It was pretty strange for me to look through all the paintings, because a surprising amount of them were very detailed. I think that recently, watercolor has been associated with a more flowing image, very often florals. So to see that it was a very common media for many different styles is interesting. The way it was originally made is also strange, I guess I always thought of watercolors in the basic pan sense and not how they were made in different forms. It was interesting that each artist originally protected their own recipe for watercolors. Raphael’s practice of using watercolor as a sketch before the actual painting doesn’t surprise me very much as I think of watercolor as a lighter free medium that can be changed versus the permanence and impact of oil or acrylic.
    I really like the above painting, like I said above, it’s very flowing and freeing, and the medium perfectly matches the scene of a baby on the beach.
    This is an example of my favorite style of watercolor:

    • I agree – some of the paintings don’t even look like watercolors because they have such a solidity and strong presence; all watercolors are not delicate and etherial. I personally enjoy the artists who capitalize on the watery aspects of the medium, making the most of what it naturally does.

  7. The “WATERCOLOR INCREASES IN POPULARITY” is the most interesting and the most excited. This article describes how watercolor became social in the 1700s. Particularly the British Woolwich Military Academy, placed great emphasis on introducing field officers to drawing and painting. It gives watercolor more ways to use and extends the road for watercolor. Young people, poor people,..all kinds of people got chances to get in touch with watercolor painting, And the expending of watercolor improves the average skills of artists. More excellent paintings came out. It is the historical time of the turning point of watercolor.,r:23,s:80,i:78

    • I love these little watercolor sets because it makes it convenient to take your supplies on trips. Your comments about watercolor bring up an interesting point about the increased access for all social classes that watercolor provided. And, you are right, before photography became so prevalent, it was an important documentary tool for the military. That is interesting to contemplate while painting botanicals, isn’t it?

  8. I wasn’t aware that watercolor was used as a medium so early on. The watercolors from the Renaissance are particularly interesting in my opinion because they really support the idea that with a lot of effort and time, watercolor can be very versatile. I never really realized that so much could be done with watercolor and how layering and value can really change the image of a given work. Using watercolor as a sketching method is particularly relevant in my opinion, since we’re working with smaller notecards before actually moving to larger paper. Personally, I really enjoy when an artist uses watercolors to their fullest extent and really uses them to exaggerate the values of a scene. One of my favorite watercolors right now is this Hockney landscape:
    I do think that using watercolors in conjunction with other mediums creates a very interesting look. I found a Hockney lithograph that apparently makes use of watercolor along with other methods and it’s really incredible what can happen when you mix very different styles together.
    Hockney lithograph:
    Hockney also uses watercolor as a means for freehand sketching and primary drafts of paintings.

  9. My favorite of Hanya Fojalco is “The Blue Succulent.”
    I thought it was interesting that beeswax was used in watercolors, that army people had to know how to draw, and that it was developed so early but forgotten about.
    I didn’t know many water color artists, so I went of google and found “A Young Hare,” by Albrecht Durer. I like how it is so realistic, even though it is watercolor. It also looks real. The colors are perfect.

  10. I found it interesting that watercolor painting had so much emphasis at it’s peak, and that it was taught to so many people (including Queen Victoria). It especially interested me that watercolor was viewed as a sort of “mobile” art form, and that travelers and field artists used the medium to document events they witnessed. I actually didn’t know that John White’s paintings were watercolors, which is pretty cool, because his interpretations of what he saw give us a rare view of North America before it was taken over by the Europeans. I also thought it was interesting that watercolor was something a lot of women did in the 1700s and 1800s, though women had very few rights at that time. One last thing that I was surprised by was the fact that watercolor painting became “unfashionable” around the late 19th and 20th centuries, and remerged from its decline only in the 1970s and 80s.

    It was hard to pick just one watercolor, but I chose this painting: because it reminds me a lot of what I’m doing now with painting the flowers. I’m not exactly sure of the authors name, but I really like their precision and attention to detail. I also like their use of light and dark tones, which added a lot of dimension to the piece.

  11. I think that it is amazing that the first watercolor paintings were painted in prehistoric caves. It is also cool how they were used in many Egyptian wall and funerary paintings. watching the time lapse video was interesting and it helped me see how to make lights and darks and to add water to give it a more realistic look.

  12. I find it so interesting how women seemed to flock to watercolours, probably for their sense of flow. I never knew that honey had been involved in the process of making watercolours and I never even considered the first cave murals to be watercolours!
    I really liked Kahlo’s painting and Anaisnin’s was very interesting with it’s light and wispy form.
    This is my favorite watercolour piece that I was able to find online. I find that it has somewhat of a soothing appeal to it:

  13. I really like the painting of Hanya Fojalco, My favorite is “Gerbera”. It is look kind of easy to paint but i think it is not because the color tone of the flower and leaf is really obvious and i think her technique is very cool.
    And For me, i interest Kahol’s painting the most, it interesting.
    My favorite water color painting is the one that i find in the internet. This piece is about the temple.,r:23,s:93,i:77&tx=117&ty=71

  14. I thought it was interesting that in the late 19th century, at the pushing’s of Louis Prang, watercolor moved into the United States and started art as a school program. Prang trained many of America’s first art teachers. I also liked how women capitalized on watercolors as a means of expressing themselves through art. The medium allowed women the freedom to explore their artistic capabilities and was a major first step for women’s rights in media. I was drawn to the styles of Arthur Melville. I greatly enjoy the realism of his painting. It’s sometimes difficult to form realistic watercolor paintings, but his take on a realism of their own. they are very moody, each piece has it’s own feel. I would like to use his technique of having a varied background that continues through the picture, occupying the negative spaces and creating texture.

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