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The wonders of watercolor

Post Independent Writer

Art SceneBy Sinda WoodWatercolor painting — applying pigment to paper with brush and water – is an art form many artists worldwide practice and enjoy. Though body color, or gouache, can be used with watercolors to provide opacity, what sets watercolor apart from other painting disciplines is the transparency of the paint. Thus the whiteness of the paper that shines through the color, and what the artists choose to leave out, are as important as the brush strokes they lay down.Painting with water-soluble pigments spans known history, beginning with primitive hunter-gatherers who mixed substances such as charcoal with water and applied it to the walls of caves with their fingers, sticks or bones. The ancient Egyptians adorned their temples and tombs with water-based paints, but it was in the Far and Middle East that watercolor painting in the modern sense emerged. Chinese and Japanese masters superimposed calligraphic script upon watercolor paintings of contemplative landscapes. The art of Sumi brush painting is still a meditative journey into the realm of watercolor today.In India and Persia, Muslims depicted religious imagery from Byzantine art in their gouache paintings. In the Middle Ages, to create painstakingly illuminated manuscripts, others applied watercolors to wet plaster to create frescoes, a practice that continued throughout the Renaissance.Though significant developments in watercolors occurred in continental Europe, it was in England toward the end of the 18th century that watercolor became a preferred method of painters. There were artists who revolutionized watercolor painting by experimenting with different techniques constantly, such as creating texture by scraping and scratching. Toward the end of the 19th century, contributions to watercolor painting in the United States began to challenge those of Europe, paralleling a trend in all forms of painting during that period. Each artist at the revolutionary Armory Show in New York in 1913 represented a unique approach to the medium, illustrating the individualism inherent among American painters. Though the emergence of abstract expressionism in the 1940s affected the popularity of watercolors, wash methods came into use on the large canvases of abstract paintings, thus reinvigorating the medium and continuing the tradition of innovation through experimentation. The Western Colorado Watercolor Society epitomizes the spirit and techniques watercolorists developed throughout the ages. The society will hold its annual member exhibit at the Center for the Arts gallery in November. Meet the artists at the opening reception at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5.If watercolor is your favorite medium, you will like this collection of artwork from some of western Colorado’s most talented watercolor artists. We have also extended a special invitation to area watercolorists to join the exhibit in order to include all the talent that this valley holds. The deadline for applications for this exhibit is today. If you are intrigued and inspired, take a class. Watercolor classes are available for registration through the Center. Calendar of eventsNov. 5-28 – Watercolor featuring the work of the Western Colorado Watercolor Society, as well as, the works of local watercolor artists.Nov. 13 – Singer-songwriter Nina Storey Dec. 3-23 – “Gifts”: miniature art, handmade crafts, pottery and jewelry Sinda Wood is the program assistant for the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts. Call the center for applications, tickets or information at 945-2414. Sinda Wood is the program assistant for the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts. Call the center for applications, tickets or information at 945-2414.


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