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Watercolour, the unruly medium

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

It's hard to believe, but some quick math tells me it's been over 10 years since I made my first tentative steps with watercolour.

For those who've dabbled with a pan of watercolour paint and paper, its reputation as 'The unforgiving wild horse' of mediums probably seems justified. I still recall my early attempts trying to control what is essentially just a puddle of coloured water. As someone who often still feels like a student after over 10 years of painting in the medium I cannot completely disagree with its reputation as the unruly medium.

What I've realised however is that it's not such an unforgiving beast if you just approach it as the unique medium it is. One can't simply expect to use the same process they would use with another medium. I think the most profound lesson watercolour has taught me is that its limitations are ultimately its greatest strengths.

It's those very limitations that drive creative problem solving. The beauty is in the answers one finds in response to watercolour's flat refusal to be something its not.

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