What is Watercolor Art?

by Annie Saxena on Mar 25, 2023

What is Watercolor Art?

A painting technique known as watercolor or watercolor, sometimes known as aquarelle (from the Italian diminutive of the Latin word aqua, meaning "water"), uses paints made of pigments dispersed in a water-based solution. Watercolor refers to both the medium and the resulting artwork. Experts refer to aquarelles that were created using water-soluble colored ink rather than current water colors as aquarellum atramento (Latin for "aquarelle made with ink"). But lately, this phrase has tended to lose favour.

Watercolor paint is an ancient form of painting, if not the most ancient form of art itself. In East Asia, watercolor painting with inks is referred to as brush painting or scroll painting. It has long been the predominant medium in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese painting, frequently done in monochrome blacks or browns with inkstick or other pigments. India, Ethiopia and other countries have long watercolor painting traditions as well.

What is Watercolor Art?

Painting with water-soluble pigments to produce stunning, vibrant works of art is known as watercolor art. To make their paintings, watercolor artists employ a variety of tools, such as brushes, paper, and paints. Watercolor paintings can be done on a variety of surfaces including paper, canvas, and even cloth.

The unique properties of watercolors allow artists to create a range of effects such as blending, layering, and washes of color. They are widely used to create landscapes, portraits, still lifes, and abstract works of art.

There are numerous watercolor painting styles, such as wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, and dry brush. Wet paint is applied wet-on-wet to a wet surface while wet paint is applied wet-on-dry to a dry surface. Dry brush includes using a dry brush with minimal water to produce texture and detail.

Examples of watercolor artwork can be found as far back as ancient Egypt and mediaeval Europe. It has been used to make everything from scientific drawings to book illustrations and fine art. Today, watercolor remains a popular medium among artists and art aficionados alike.

What are the Techniques Used in Watercolor Art?

Watercolor art can be created using a variety of techniques, but some of the most popular ones are as follows:

Wet paint is applied on a wet surface using the wet-on-wet technique. The result is a soft and diffused effect that is great for creating skies, clouds, and water.

Wet-on-dry technique: In this technique, wet paint is put onto a dry surface. The end result is a more definite and controlled effect that works well to add texture and details.

Dry brush technique: In this technique, a dry brush is used to apply paint onto a dry surface. This produces a textured appearance that works well for simulating the rough surface of a stone or the bark of a tree.

The glazing process involves building up several transparent paint layers on top of one another to produce a rich, deep color. This method is excellent for adding depth and shadow to a painting.

Salt technique: In this technique, salt is sprinkled across wet paint to create a unique texture. The salt absorbs the paint and gives a crystalline look.

Masking fluid technique: In this technique, the artist applies a masking fluid to the areas they want to keep painted. The fluid is then removed once the paint has cured, revealing a crisp and clean area.

Lifting technique: With this technique, a wet brush is used to lift or remove paint from a painting. This can be used to create highlights or correct mistakes.

These are only a few of the numerous watercolor art techniques that can be applied. Each method can be combined and applied in various ways to produce one-of-a-kind, gorgeous paintings.

How to Make Watercolor Art?

Creating watercolor art may be a fun and gratifying activity. Here are the basic steps to create a watercolor painting:

Collect your supplies: watercolor paper, watercolor paints, water, a paintbrush, and a palette are required.

Create a rough draught of your composition on the watercolor paper using a pencil. This will serve as a guide for your painting.

Mixing colors is as simple as adding water to your palette after squeezing a tiny amount of each color onto it. Mix the colors until you achieve the desired shades and consistency.

Start by painting the paper with a few light washes of paint. Use a damp brush to blend the colors together and create seamless transitions. Work from light to dark, allowing each layer to dry before adding the next.

Add details: Once the basic washes are in place, you can begin adding details such as shadows, highlights, and texture. Use a smaller brush for finer details and allow each layer to dry before adding the next.

Experiment with techniques: To add interest and variety to your painting, experiment with various watercolor techniques such as wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, and dry brush.

Finish your painting and let it dry completely if you are satisfied with it. You can then add a signature or any final touches.

Watercolor art takes practice, so don't be disheartened if your first few paintings don't turn out the way you expected. With time and practice, you'll improve your skills and develop your own unique style.

Which Colors can be Used in Watercolor Art?

A broad variety of colors can be used to make watercolor painting. The three main types of watercolor paints are liquid, pan, and tube. Each form has a unique consistency, and the artist's preference and the type of artwork they wish to produce will determine the color they use. Here are some of the hues that are most frequently used in watercolor artwork:

Red: Red comes in a variety of hues, from vivid scarlet to rich burgundy.

Blue is a common color in watercolor artwork, ranging from light turquoise to dark indigo.

Yellow - The color yellow comes in a variety of hues, from bright lemon to cosy ochre.

Green is a common color in watercolor artwork and comes in a variety of hues, from emerald to olive.

Purple may be utilized to generate a variety of moods, from gloomy and melancholy to cheery and breezy.

Orange: Orange may give warmth and brightness to a watercolor painting. Its hues range from rosy coral to blazing tangerine.

Brown: With hues ranging from pale tan to dark chocolate, browns can be used to add warmth and depth to a watercolor painting.

Black is a useful complement to any watercolor palette, and while it isn't technically a hue, it may be used to provide depth and shadows to paintings.

White is not a color in the traditional sense, like black, but it can be utilized to provide brightness and lightness to watercolor paintings.

In general, the artist's style, the subject matter, and the emotion they want to communicate in their work will all influence the colors they use.

What are the Different Types of Watercolor Art?

Watercolor art can take many diverse forms, each with its own distinctive features and methods that artists might use to produce it. Some of the most popular forms of watercolor artwork are listed below:

A conventional watercolor painting Using watercolor paints on paper to produce realistic or abstract images, this is the most prevalent style of watercolor art. Paintings made with traditional watercolors can be both loose and expressive or quite precise and finely detailed.

Painting outdoors while capturing the scenery or a landscape in real time is known as "plein air" watercolor paintings. For artists who like the challenge of capturing the ever-changing light and ambiance of the natural world, plein air painting is a popular medium.

Wet-on-wet painting: This technique includes putting wet paint on a wet surface so that the colors can combine and mingle. Landscapes and other natural settings can be created using this approach, which produces a delicate and ethereal impression.

Painting with a dry brush while using watercolors on a dry surface is known as "drybrush painting." This method produces a rough, grainy finish that is ideal for giving the appearance of depth and texture in a painting.

Glazing: To add depth and luminosity to a painting, glazing is the process of layering thin, transparent washes of watercolor paint on top of one another. Although it calls for time and accuracy, this technique may produce stunning, bright works of art.

Watercolor paintings can be combined with other mediums like ink, pencil, or collage to create mixed-media artwork. With this method, artists can produce intricate, multi-layered works of art that incorporate a variety of textures and visual features.

These are just a few illustrations of the various kinds of watercolor artwork that can be produced. There are countless opportunities for creative expression due to watercolor paints' adaptability.

What are the Characteristics of Watercolor Art?

The distinctive qualities of watercolor art set it apart from other media. The following are some of the most notable features of watercolor artwork:

Transparency: The ability of watercolor paints to transmit light through the layers of paint and reflect it off the paper makes them well-known for this quality. With other media, it is difficult to achieve the bright, ethereal quality this produces.

Watercolor paints are quite fluid, which enables painters to produce supple, flowing washes of color. Also, because of their mobility, colors can mix and blend in unexpected ways, producing intriguing effects and textures.

Lightness: The fragility and lightness of watercolor paintings are frequently used to describe them. Watercolor paintings are perfect for depicting natural situations like landscapes and seascapes because the thin layers of paint give them a feeling of airiness and movement.

Unpredictability: Because watercolor paints are fluid, they can be unpredictable and challenging to control. Some artists find this unpredictability to be discouraging, yet it can also lead to pleasant accidents and serendipitous discoveries.

Watercolor paints are versatile and can be used to produce a variety of effects, from highly detailed and accurate to free and expressive. Because of its adaptability, watercolor is a well-liked medium among painters of many genres and levels of expertise.

Watercolor paints dry rapidly, enabling painters to overlay colors and produce intricate effects without having to wait for the paint to fully cure between coats.

Generally, watercolor is a preferred medium among artists who respect the spontaneity and expressiveness of the medium due to its distinctive qualities.

Who can Create Watercolor Art?

Regardless of age, talent level, or educational background, anyone may make watercolor art. Both novice and expert painters can enjoy watercolor art because it is a flexible and affordable medium.

The many different techniques and styles that may be used with watercolor painting are a terrific opportunity to explore one's creativity. It's an excellent option for novices because it's a flexible medium that encourages experimentation and exploration.

Watercolor paints can be used by skilled painters to produce intricate and complicated works of art that demonstrate their mastery of the medium. Watercolor art offers countless opportunities for artistic expression, from traditional landscapes to abstract and experimental pieces.

In other words, watercolor art can be made by anyone who has an interest in it. Simple supplies, an openness to learning and experimentation, and a passion for the medium are all that are needed.


From at least ancient Egypt, watercolor painting has been employed as manuscript embellishment, with the European Middle Ages being a particularly prominent period for its use. It may have its origins in the cave drawings of Paleolithic Europe. But its ongoing existence as a form of expression dates back to the Renaissance. Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), a German Northern Renaissance painter, is regarded as having created some of the earliest watercolors. He painted some exquisite floral, wildlife, and landscape paintings. Hans Bol (1534–1593) founded and directed a significant German watercolor painting school during the Dürer Renaissance.

Especially in the early 19th century, many Western artists predominantly employed watercolor as a sketching medium in order to prepare the "final" work in oil or engraving. The term "colored sketches" was used to describe classic watercolors up until the end of the eighteenth century.