ABOUT AQUARIAN PAINTING TECHNIQUE (part 2)
Incidentally, the generally accepted term “watercolor” was first used by Chennino Chennini in his Treatise on Painting (1437), the main point in the described process was the dissolution of paint in water containing vegetable gum – gummi.
So, from the history of technology it is clear that the first method of watercolor writing was painting on dry soil, another way of working, on the wet surface of the paper, was supposedly applied not earlier than the beginning of the 19th century. A more capricious and whimsical way of writing wet was born in England, probably because in a country located on an island surrounded by water in this “foggy Albion”, the increased humidity of the air itself dictated the painting’s character light and soft. Watercolor painting on raw paper is called “English watercolor”. This technique gives the watercolor depth and creates a feeling of sunlight and airy perspective.
French watercolorists call the method of working on a wet sheet of paper: “travailler dans l`eau” (work in water). In order to maintain a stable humidity of the sheet, in order to have a long-term opportunity to work with a complex painting form, easily fusing and mixing paints on a wet sheet, the artists resorted to numerous tricks. For this, different methods of moistening the paper from below were used. It was in England in the 19th century for small landscapes on the open air that a special type of eraser was invented – devices for stretching wet paper without glue. The simple structure consisted of two wooden frames entering freely enough into one another. The first frame played the role of a board: paper was laid on it, which was then clamped along the edges of the second frame, the paper fixed in this way took the form of a canvas stretched over a stretcher. If necessary, moisten the paper below with hot steam.
Another type of eraser made it possible to use a different method of wetting the sheet. It was a frame and a board or tablet included in it. A moistened sheet of paper was placed on the board, its edges were bent over the edges of the board, and a board with a sheet of paper was inserted into the frame. After drying, the paper in the ejector stretched evenly. When working in wet colors with a wet sheet of paper, a cloth or flannel moistened with water was placed in the water, which for a long time nourished the paper with moisture as it dried out from the outside.
All the described methods made it possible to easily maintain moisture in the paper during operation, which eliminated the need for any other means to prevent the rapid drying of watercolor paints. The literature also describes chemical methods of retaining moisture on a sheet. For example, a little glycerin, honey was added to water for diluting paints, a solution of calcium chloride or gumidragant was used. Some antique miniaturists used snail saliva or fig milk for this. These funds were effective, but not safe, since the slowdown in drying was due to their hygroscopicity, and this ability to absorb and retain moisture also later manifested itself in watercolors. In addition, such products made the paint more viscous and thicker, which directly changed the nature of the painting, and it lost its valuable qualities.
In the second half of the 20th century, wet technique was very popular and the tradition was established to conduct such a painting “alprima” (Italian. Alla prima), that is, to do the work in one session. This technique requires great experience and virtuosity from the artist. It is very difficult and even almost impossible to create in one step something that requires a clear plastic solution, elaboration of the form, details and complex solution of the image in space. When painting wet, some pressure of the technique over the image is often manifested, and the charm of the wet technique is so great that it seems unacceptable to break the plastic of the “wet effects”, which sometimes in inept hands become almost the only value and content of the work.
In watercolor, there is a wide variety of painting techniques, trends, styles, schools. It is not possible to describe everything in a small article. However, it is worth noting that their comparison allows you to assess the level of skill, which is manifested in the skillful use and combination of various painting techniques and virtuoso maneuvering within the range of “dry-humidity”.
It should also be noted that there is no technique in itself. Technique is subordinate to the goal that the artist sets himself. That is why watercolors are as diverse and individual as the handwritings of people are diverse and individual.