Watercolour Calling…

In 2010, when I first ‘heard the calling’ of painting and embarked on a basic, 6-week drawing course, I started with Watercolour. I remember my Mother-In-Law (whom I get on very well with, share the same sense of humour with and who has painted in Oils for many, many years) said ‘why did you start with the hardest medium?’

I shot slides for many years and the transparent effect of Watercolour reminds me of them. They are similar also in that you only ‘get one shot’ at doing them. If you muck them up, they stay mucked up!

Susan’s Family bought me some Student Acrylics for Christmas and off I went in that direction. I enjoyed being a beginner painter with them and sometime later, was lured into having a go at Oils by the local, friendly owner of an art/framing store.

So began my Oils journey, firstly with student paints, then artist paints. In between (as I guess a lover of art and craft does), I’ve managed to accumulate Oil Pastels, coloured pencils, Watercolour pencils, aqua wash pens, Charcoal sticks, a set of drawing/sketching pencils, Inktense pencils and so on…

I should say at this point that my artistic endeavours are not my source of income and I allocate time at night during the week and on weekends to pursue my creative endeavours so self-learning and experimentation have been a bit of slow grind but I am enjoying the journey nevertheless.

In May last year, I purchased a mixed-media A4 Ivory page journal in which I write poetry, sketch, scribble and paint. More and more I have noticed that I was using Watercolour pencil and aqua wash pens in the journal.

I am also gaining inspiration from artists on Instagram in the various art mediums. Over the past few months, I’ve noticed that I am following a greater number of Watercolour artists, and feel that I am being drawn back to that medium.

I still consider myself a beginner and love both Oils and Watercolour for different reasons. Watercolour is becoming an increasing influence, so much so that I purchased a set of 45 Winsor and Newton Cotman Half Pans this past week and have been enjoying using them in my journal.


With Watercolour, I see me doing just small sketches at this stage as there is an immense amount for me to learn. I will still do Oils though on larger paintings. That way, I can enjoy my two favourite art mediums.

David Johnson
25 February 2018

6 thoughts on “Watercolour Calling…

  1. We are two peas in a pod, as I was drawn to watercolors for the same reason — slides.

    In my case, I was working in the multi-image industry at the time and dealt everyday with additive color — which I felt was very similar to the effects of working with watercolor (oils and acrylics being more about subtractive color).

    After a 25-year hiatus, I’m getting back into watercolor… and am very much looking forward to the challenge.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you very much! I was just beginning to put together new watercolor paint swatches to get re-familiarized with all the different tubes I had in storage, using the full range of information that we now have available via the web.

        It’s a different world now with art supplies. As an example, take Winsor & Newton Artists’ Water Colour 054 Winsor Emerald. For painting the glorious greens of spring, it was matchless. And yes, I’m remembering correctly because I have a 30-year-old partial tube of the stuff beside me as I type this.

        Emerald Green has vanished now… as if it never existed. I’ve searched and searched, and it’s long gone (according to Handprint, it was discontinued in 2005). Something called Emerald Green Hue is in their oil line and a different Emerald Green can be found in the Cotman line, but the stuff I used is lost to the ages.

        I looked it up in an equally old W&N artist materials catalog that I kept, and think I discovered why they got rid of it… it was a convenience mix of four different pigments! Phthalocyanine Green 7, Arylamide Yellow 1, Arylamide Yellow 3, and Zinc Oxide White 4. I always knew it was impossible to mix with, but now I know why (the tube I have doesn’t list any pigment numbers like the new ones do; also, it says it was made in England — rather than France as the new ones do).

        So… yeah. A very different world now.

        Liked by 2 people

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