Watercolour painting – The story so far

I thought it would be fun to ask my twitter followers for suggestions for my next post.  One of them (@MillRoadCambs – worth a follow if you are on twitter, also their blog is interesting too) suggested that I should post an update on my watercolour painting.

Looking back at my posts, the last time I wrote about my painting was October 2011, so it’s definitely time for an update.

I began taking watercolour classes in September 2011 and continue to attend classes on a Tuesday evening.  The class is taught by Sarah Spruce, who makes the classes a fun and interesting way to learn the medium.  Like me, most of the people who attend have also been going since the classes started.

It’s a lovely way to spend a Tuesday evening 🙂  Classes are held in Barrington Social Club, a Wednesday afternoon class is also held for those unable to attend on a Tuesday evening.

Sarah’s teaching style ensures that we are encouraged to learn and progress at our own pace.  Classes are structured to incorporate a short demonstration and class discussion, in the remaining time we spend time working on our  projects, with Sarah offering advice and guidance on a one to one basis throughout the evening.

I have learnt that I am not very patient when it comes to painting, so I have been trying to overcome that.  It doesn’t always work and sometimes I feel that a few of my paintings would have looked better left as drawings!

Below are most of my paintings so far.  The first one (below) was my first ever attempt, as you can see I have improved since then, which feels like a big achievement 🙂 A few paintings are pictures I have drawn from magazines and then painted my own version of, others are from photographs I have taken.  Some paintings are still a ‘work in progress’ (some have been in progress longer than others!).

The painting at the very top of this post is from a photograph of my village church, which I painted for my mum and gave her for Christmas last year.


I thought I would also add a short history behind watercolour painting to this post. I have ‘cheated’ a little with this.  I submitted an article about the classes, and the history of watercolour, to a local website but it didn’t get published…so I am pasting part of it in to this post 🙂

Here is what I wrote..

Watercolour is a very versatile medium which has existed since pre-historic times; the earliest use can be traced back to our ancestor’s caves.  Primitive versions of watercolour, a mixture of natural minerals such as ochre and charcoal, became an outlet to depict wild beasts they encountered daily.

Over time the medium began to evolve thanks to greater technical awareness, improvements in pigments and innovations in paper manufacturing from China.  Watercolour painting eventually became popular with 12 century western artists who were also swayed by Chinese decorative use of paint.

However, an important breakthrough in 1832 further improved the life of the watercolour artist.  William Winsor and Henry Newton, using their background in science, formulated an enhanced version of the paint.  Described as ‘moist’, this new version meant that artists could apply paint with a wet brush for the first time.

In 1841 the innovative pair, known in the trade as ‘colourmen’, discovered metal tubes developed by an American painter.  Winsor and Newton realised the tubes would be an ideal aid for storing their paint and quickly patented it, eventually adding screw caps.  Storing the paint in tubes ensured it could be kept in larger quantities whilst also keeping the depth and strength of the ‘wash’ intact.

Watercolour techniques and styles have continued to evolve, ensuring it remains a popular genre in the 21st century.


About Maria Explores...

Blogger and Freelance Writer
This entry was posted in Cambridge, Crafts, History, Hobbies, watercolour and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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