Deceivingly Simple: Watercolor

Deceivingly Simple: Watercolor

Watercolor is one of the oldest types and mediums of paint there is, despite this, it only seems to continue to gain popularity and even demand. What exactly makes watercolor so captivating for it to thrive up to this day? Amid changes and innovations in the art scene such as digital mediums, it is still common to see people gravitating towards traditional mediums of art. By taking a look at the deceiving simplicity of watercolor we can begin to understand why it still attracts such a great following in this modern day and age.


Unlike other types of paint, watercolor is unique in the matter of its permanence. This is because once you put down a color it becomes virtually impossible to undo that stroke. The characteristics of the paint only allow you to keep adding to your work and arrive at darker tones. For artists utilizing this medium, they have to learn and understand all the different qualities that are distinct to watercolor. They must acknowledge that making mistakes should only be kept to a minimum. And only through experience will they gain the conviction to put down confident brushstrokes onto their canvas.

Layering Watercolor


Seeing all the different layers the artist made in their work using watercolor is one of its distinctive qualities. In watercolor, patience is of virtue because if you don’t want to mix colors you have to wait for the paint to dry. Without knowing this, the paints may start to bleed and leak into each other. Moreover, creating smooth transitions or gradients using the medium can be a whole new order all on its own. Watercolor is a slow, time-consuming process, and for this reason, some artists are attracted to the medium, in hopes that they can relax through the slow and calming nature of watercolor.


The illusion of simplicity watercolor has is like no other. Every brushstroke needs to be made with intention. To complete a work, one must think in terms of values and tones. All while knowing full well that adding just one more stroke on top of one previously made can result in having to start all over again. More often than not, works utilizing watercolor has a calming aura because of the simplicity it displays, yet the artists that made these works had all worked hard to create an impression that tricks the viewer as to how much work was done.

To conclude, watercolor is a difficult medium to master. It is shrouded and masked behind an appearance of simplicity. Combined with its slow nature, it gives the artist time to think about the next stroke they need to put down. To the common viewer, the work seems to be simple, beautiful, and beyond that, nothing more. But to the trained eye, they can see all the different layers and the thought put behind every stroke. Its popularity is all thanks to the unique qualities it holds. Watercolor has a long and fruitful history that future generations will continue to celebrate this captivating art form just as the previous generations have before them.

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