Painting is about catching the light! Because watercolour is transparent, the light not only reflects on the pigments, but also on the white of the paper beneath the paint. This gives watercolour work its unique shimmering and transparent look, that can be used in infinite variations by the artist.
Because of the transparency of watercolour paints, one cannot paint light over dark, so it is important to pay attention, not to paint the light away! It therefore needs some planning! Often the working process has a rhythm of periods for planning and decision making and periods with quickly placing the watery paint onto the paper without ‘thinking’.
I use Daniel Smith and Sennelier paints from tubes, but also some Winsor&Newton, Schminke and homemade paints, described in the following text.
My paper of preference is Arches (French), but also Bockingford (British) for dryer work and botanical art and also very rough recycled cottonfibre paper (India) for experimental, loose and more abstract work.
I nowadays almost only use a set of Chinese natural hair brushes and the broader Japanese hake brushes, but sometimes still my old favorite W&N brush no 10.
I have lots of leftover pigments from renovating old windows and houses. Some can be used for watercolour paint, mixed with gum arabic and honey. I love using my own ultramarine and the earth pigments – they are pigment strong and show interesting heavy granulation.
NOTE: I make notes on back of paintings if these paints have been used. You can see it in the text when you click on the images in the galleries.
As a plantlover, of course I love painting with colours coming from plants! I make some watercolour paints from bought plant pigments, adding gum arabic and honey. Green being pure chlorophyll from spinach and nettles! Reds from madder root, yellows from Cosmos, Reseda and Rhamnus, blue from indigo, brownish tones from oak and trees… simply wonderful!
As these pigments are organic, they are more chemically unstable than normal mineral pigments, therefore also more susceptible to the environment, especially light, but also substances in the air. Still – this is the charm and truth of all living – it does not last for ever, but changes in the stream of time and suits my poetic realism style well.
NOTE that most of my work is with ‘normal’ watercolour paint, mostly single pigments and very lightfast! I always make notes on back of paintings, if plant pigments are used and prefer selling those as high quality, archival prints, instead of as originals. You will find notations about it on concerned paintings here on my website!