blue moon

July 4, 2015

Because watercolour basically amounts to taking white paper and staining it with various colours by way of a brush and water-activated pigments, the possibility of texture using a buildup of paint, gesso, gel medium and other ‘helps’ available to painters in acrylic and oil just isn’t there.  IOW, in classic watercolour technique the word ‘impasto’ doesn’t exist.

Some painters get around this disadvantage by way of collage, and apply watercolour to glued on tissue and similar textural material…..

forest forager by shari hills,  “Forest Forager”, watercolour and collage by Shari Hills, source:

Here, the painter, Sheri (Colours by Sheri), used ‘delicate papers’ as a glued foundation to provide textures which then received watercolour paint to complete the effect.  On her site she describes how she also has used organic leaf material at times.

Winters Chill 12 x 9 Watercolours Collage Mixed Media Original -

“Winter’s Chill”, watercolour collage, Colours by Sheri, source: httpwww.coloursbysheri.comcurrent-series.html#sthash.aUBXtd8f.dpuf

If this method is used, painters are required to identify their medium as ‘collage’, or ‘watercolour collage’ if entering the piece in an exhibition or juried show.  Such work falls outside the accepted boundaries of what constitutes a ‘watercolour’.

In order to remain within the rather strict boundaries painters cannot have more than one third be of another medium or it then becomes a ‘mixed media’ work or ‘collage’ or ‘gauche’.   Gauche is watercolour which uses white tempera paint, and thus is opaque, not transparent. Of course, that is perfectly well and good.  Every painter does as (s)he is led to do.


‘Moonrise’, watercolour on art board, 19cm x 24cm, (7.5″ x 9.5″)

Personally, like writers who enjoy the challenge of staying within the bounds of iambic pentameter and composing 14 line sonnets, being ‘confined’ to the rather strict parameters of traditional watercolour is rewarding.  These protocols include reserving paper to serve as white in a painting (such as the moon in the above example) — and the white of the paper is what brings life to the pigments laid over it.   And it means having to discover ways of creating texture which, in the end, remains just an illusion.

8 Responses to “blue moon”

  1. A beautiful illusion. Love your “Moonrise” An excellent post.


  2. Laura I think you’re great and am the more appreciative for your very kind words today. Please do create art every day and keep letting us in on your accomplishments.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never blogged about synesthesia, Lance. I only learned the word a couple of years ago, and like you, I looked it up. It was fun to learn about something I had been experiencing my whole life, but never had the word for it. I think there are some musicians who have theories that certain tones/notes are colors, or that there are parallels to sound waves and light waves of the visible spectrum. One of them even painted the notes on a piano keyboard to go along with his theories, but I don’t remember his name!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lance, you have a distinct style that immediately draws me in to the experience of your landscape. I’m there. I can feel the coolness and see the moon, the experience of the trees, etc. It’s crisp, yet fuzzy. I think Rebecca is right; it’s the depth of texture. And the way you use light, too, also inspirational. I am really trying to study the work of artists whose work I admire and trying to pull these things forward to my work, such as it is at this stage. Anyway, I wanted to thank you for always inspiring me with your posts. I hope you have a terrific weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rebecca, THANK YOU again for stopping by and commenting and sharing. Those collage example are by two different Sheri/Shari ‘s — two different painters. Each have a unique approach. I think you might rather love this form of expression, and do hope you try it out.


  6. I just looked it up, Cynthia, and discovered you are a synesthete, and read this….”There are two overall forms of synesthesia: projecting synesthesia and associative synesthesia. People who project will see actual colors, forms, or shapes when stimulated, as is commonly accepted as synesthesia; associators will feel a very strong and involuntary connection between the stimulus and the sense that it triggers. For example, in the common form chromesthesia (sound to color) a projector may hear a trumpet and see an orange triangle in space while an associator might hear a trumpet and think very strongly that it sounds ‘orange’.”

    How utterly fascinating. If you’ve blogged about this, please guide me to the posting? And if you haven’t, it would be so intriguing to hear (see, touch, smell) more!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rebecca said

    Thank you for sharing this – I had no idea about these techniques, and Sheri’s pictures are beautiful. I also love your Moonrise; so much texture in a watercolour!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. But there is great “texture” in this painting….I touch it with my eyes.
    Synesthesia, or the mixing-up of the senses…hearing colors, touching sounds…seeing the days of the week, or numbers as colors, is something I experience. Maybe not everyone does experience synesthesia, but it probably can work well for the watercolorist….

    Liked by 1 person

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