Seeing the Light

08 Aug

Watercolor is a difficult medium for me. It's hard to make the change from oils, because an effective watercolor depends on allowing light to pass through the paint, coming up from the paper and infusing it with a delicate sense of color, while oil is more opaque, and heavy. I rambled around with that idea for several years before I realized that the real problem was not watercolors, but my inability to be patient enough to work with them. Apparently, the trick is to allow a thin layer of paint to dry before adding another layer. It sounds simple enough, but  I was more accustomed to controlling paint in the way that oils and acrylics are applied to canvas. I keep working with oils before the first layer dries, and move around the painting, from one part to another, constantly cleaning my brushes, changing colors, and smoothing things out as I go along. It took several tutorials to realize that I was moving too quickly with watercolors, and making the classic mistake of trying to cover up the light with paint. You can paint light with oils, but it can’t be light in the same way that it is with watercolors. It almost seems like a good analogy to life.

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