Tag Archives: watercolor painting

The Origin of American Watercolor

1 Jan
Joseph_Mallord_William_Turner_-_Bell_Rock_Lighthouse_-_Google_Art_Project

Bell Rock Lighthouse by Joseph M. W. Turner (1775-1851) Watercolor on paper

Have you ever wondered how watercolor ended up in America?  This was a recent subject I researched and I’m happy to share it with you here.

To start, watercolor was used in other countries long before it arrived in America.

In prehistoric times, watercolor was used by cavemen to paint on cave walls. The next time it appears in history, it is used in illuminated manuscripts, such as religious texts.

Actually, watercolor didn’t develop as a major medium until paper was invented.  Paper was made in ancient China.  It was then improved by the Arabs and then made in European Mills in the late 1200s.

Thanks to Chinese poet-painters, watercolor painting was now considered as more than merely a decorative craft.  Their paintings were on paper and silk.  Their art was filled with calligraphy with the main image usually being a landscape.  The landscape became a central theme for western watercolor in later centuries.

According to author, Theodore Stebbins, Jr. who wrote “American Master Drawings and Watercolors”, watercolor originally was used as a tool for sketching drawings.  It was for practice and recording information, not for fine art until German artist, Albrecht Durer began using it for his landscapes in the late 1400’s.

Originally a printmaker, Durer found a way to combine transparent and opaque watercolors to make lovely colored drawings.

In 1770, England began producing paper made especially for watercolor paint.  Suddenly an influx of watercolorists emerged with lots of landscape paintings.  As Britain’s power grew, so did the influence of these artists.  Joseph M.W. Turner, a famous English painter from that time, excelled at watercolor experimentation.  He discovered new ways to apply the paint with sponges, rags, knives and brushes.  For a long time, the English watercolorists were considered more skilled than any other artists in the world.

Early watercolorists used to grind their own pigments.  In the 1850s Winsor & Newton and Reeves (two companies that still exist today) began producing paint in tubes and in dried cakes.  The portability helped the tradition spread to America.

Maps were some of the first watercolors to come from America – used as visual aids to the new land.  Gradually more skilled and talented artists began to develop and rivaled the Europeans.

American artists saw watercolor as a primary medium. This attitude was different from that of the Europeans! American painters considered watercolor as an equal to oils.  By 1866 watercolors were shown in galleries here alongside oil paintings.

Famous American watercolorists include: Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent and John James Audubon.

Today, American Watercolor Artists continue to take the lead.  We contribute to the international watercolor tradition like no other country – producing important and varied bodies of work.  We are known for our individuality and artistic expression. We are continually pushing the limits of this medium.

We can expect watercolor development to continue as new products come onto the market.  Although Americans did not invent watercolor painting, I have no doubt we will lead the world in unique and original artistic development. I encourage you to keep watch for new developments.

 

***

Advertisements

For the Joy of It: Watercolor Paintings by Katie Turner

1 Jun

Two or More

This Saturday I will be hanging a new show at the Maxwell Memorial Library.  I titled the show, “For the Joy of It: Watercolor Paintings by Katie Turner” because I specifically wanted to focus on the positive aspects of art.  I find art can fulfil many roles and joy is one of my favorites.  Art can be so much more than just pretty pictures, it brings healing and peace to a challenging situation or it refocuses our minds to a certain time or memory.   This show gives me an opportunity to share joyful paintings with other art lovers.  I hope local friends, family and art aficionados will join me for a reception on Monday, June 4, 2018 from 6-7:30 at the Maxwell Library, 14 Genesee St., Camillus, New York.

For more information go to: www.KTArtStudio.com or www.Maxwellmemoriallibrary.org

The show runs from June 2-30, 2018.

Urban Decay

20 Apr
Urban Decay

“Ring of Fire”, 20″x16″ Watercolor on Terraskin, 2018 Katie Turner

A quick thanks to those local art-lovers who came out last week for my Urban Vibe Art reception.  It was so very nice to meet you.  Those who couldn’t make it – you were missed.  Thanks!

Transforming Reality

23 Mar
Confetti Mountain

“Confetti Mountain” Watercolor by Katie Turner

In allowing greater creativity to unfold in my paintings, I’ve worked hard to eliminate and simplify.  Without losing too many of my white areas, I built an abstract foundation with delicate calligraphic accents to evoke an illusion of reality.  Most of the time I like to use larger brushes because they force me to stay loose.  The reality of the scene in front of me may include many excellent details but the simplification and editing can help me to transform it into more of a feeling.  Transforming reality is my key to freedom.  ~ Katie

Watercolor Show Reception

23 Aug
First Harvest

“First Harvest” Watercolor on Yupo by Katie Turner 16″x20″

The Central New York Watercolor Society has its second Signature Show of 2017 at the Kirkland Art Center Gallery.  The Show reception is this Sunday, August 27th from 3:00-5:00 for those who are located in Central New York area.  It’s a lovely area to visit, with delightful coffee and cheese shop and boutiques.

The Exhibition runs until September 22nd, 2017.  The Kirkland Art Gallery hours: 9-4:30 Tuesday-Friday and by appointment.  Click here for more information on KAC: KAC Link

The CNYWS show will exhibit 41 pieces of watercolor and I’ve posted one of my watercolors that will be on display at the Show.  A second piece titled “Wisteria” will also be on display.  Hope to see you there.

Katie

Paint Chip Challenge

14 Jul
Landscape painting of low moon rising in woods, purple flowers dot the landscape

Low Moon 20″x 16″ watercolor on paper by Katie Turner

Sassy Lilac color

Sassy Lilac #4003-9B

There are two weeks left to view the CNY Art Guild Liverpool Library Show.  “Paint Chip Challenge” will hang until the end of July 2017.  For hours and location click here: www.lpl.org

This challenge was an interesting project and it was fun to see what each artist came up with.  The color was given to me by the show organizer.  It is not a color I would have chosen.  I primarily work with transparent watercolors. This particular color required me to use Chinese white to make it opaque.   After painting several different paintings using this color, I settled on entering the picture above into the show.  It was done on watercolor paper using wet into wet techniques and a palette knife to scratch in some of the texture.

Having parameters can make painting more of a challenge but some rules also fuel creativity.  I enjoyed this challenge and would definitely participate in another one.  I highly recommend a challenge like this for healthy art exercise.

15 Minutes in the Studio

27 Feb

I’m pleased to announce that a short piece I wrote has been included in the NLAPW’s Winter 2017 Magazine.  To purchase one of these magazines, go to the National League of American Pen Woman website or click here: NLAPW PenWoman Magazine Link

inthestd