MODERN WATERCOLOR

What is Modern Watercolor?

Perhaps one of the most asked questions I get on my blog as well as Instagram is What is Modern Watercolor & why do you call yourself a Modern Watercolorist? Well, today I’m gonna answer both of those questions and really dive into why modern watercolor is the best art style for me.

SO HERE WE GO…

QUESTION #1: WHAT IS MODERN WATERCOLOR

FIRST – MODERN WATERCOLOR IS A RELATIVELY NEW TERM from what I can gather.  I started to see this term used more frequently in the late 2000s.  But technically it is a more modern way of saying MIXED MEDIA WATERCOLOR – which has been done for a number of years.   So it’s not a very new form of art – it just gained more popularity in online recent years.  

SO WHAT IS – MIXED MEDIA WATERCOLOR?

Well, as the name implies – it’s using watercolor as well as other forms of mixed media or other forms of paint and art supplies.   

COMMON SUPPLIES – USED WITH THIS FORM OF WATERCOLOR INCLUDE

  • INK
  • ACRYLIC PAINT
  • OIL PASTELS
  • CHALK PASTELS
  • COLORED PENCILS

and that’s just to name a few…

BASICALLY WHATEVER SUPPLY YOU DESIRE TO USE YOU CAN – THE ONLY KIND OF RULE THAT I’VE SEEN WITH MODERN WATERCOLOR OR MIXED MEDIA WATERCOLOR IS THAT THE PRO-DOMINATE PORTION OF YOUR PAINTING IS USING WATERCOLOR. 

Now that we have that covered – let’s next get into the juicy stuff….

QUESTION #2: WHY DO I CONSIDER MYSELF A MODERN WATERCOLORIST

  • FIRST – FUNNY ENOUGH…I’ve always painted like this.  When I was a kid I loved to mix my watercolors with markers, inks, acrylic paints, crayons, what ever I had on hand.  So without anyone really explaining to me how to use my watercolors – I just naturally leaned more toward this freer way of expressing myself.  I honestly didn’t know it had a name for how I painted – I just knew that this is the way I liked to paint.   In fact – when I took several watercolor classes in middle school and high school I was yelled at my the teacher for wanting to paint the way I did.   I honestly had no idea that I was breaking some pretty standard watercolor rules.   Looking back on it now – I wish that teacher had explained that there were different ways of approaching watercolor.   But instead, she really made me feel like I had no art talent and even a waste of her time.  Basically I was untrainable.   So yeah – that hurt quite a bit.   At first I chalked it up to just a bad teacher – but after encountering 4 other teachers with the same attitude – I stopped pursuing art and just did it as a hobby in my locked bedroom.   It took many years before I allowed myself to paint with the same confidence as I had as a child.     But over time – I realized that if I couldn’t create art the way I wanted to – then it just wasn’t as fulfilling to my spirit as trying to paint someone else’s way.  

QUESTION #3: SO, WHY DO MODERN WATERCOLOR OVER TRADITIONAL WATERCOLOR?

WELL FIRST – YOU HAVE ALOT MORE FREEDOM

Traditional watercolor is very strict in how you use your paints and what types of paints you use.   One rule is that you should never use more inky or thicker paint ratios of watercolor.   Rather you should only use watered down versions of your paint and build up the color intensity through glazing.   This is what creates those watered down more light paintings.  Which as great if you like that style – but I prefer to paint with rich colors and usually start with thicker paint to water ratios that a traditional watercolorist.   Another rule that is a big NO NO in the traditional watercolor camp is to NEVER  USE WHITE when painting with watercolor.   Rather you use the white of the paper is create your luminous pale colors.    For me – I do try to use the white of the page as much a possible – but I also like to use white ink to first off add details to my paintings – such as dots and other patterns.   But I also like to use white ink to correct mistakes I’ve made.   So- that’s just a few of the reasons why I prefer Modern watercolor over traditional.  

NOW I WANT TO CLARIFY…

There is absolutely nothing wrong with painting with watercolor the traditional way – same as there is nothing wrong with painting with watercolor a more modern way.  They are just two different forms of art style that help the artist interpret themselves on paper.   

THIS IS GONNA SOUND REALLY WEIRD BUT HERE IT GOES – FOR ME PERSONALLY I FELT VERY RESTRICTED AND HINDERED FROM EXPRESSING MYSELF GROWING UP – DUE TO LIVING IN A STRICT HOME LIFE.  SO HAVING THE FREEDOM TO CREATE HOWEVER I DESIRED ON PAPER AND NOT HAVE MY CREATIVITY HARNESSED IN ANY WAY REALLY FELT FREEING TO ME.  SO THAT’S WHY I CONSIDER MYSELF MORE OF A MODERN WATERCOLORIST.  SIMPLY BECAUSE IT HELPS ME FEEL MORE LIKE MYSELF AND FREE TO BE WHOEVER I WANT TO ON PAPER.  

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About Author

Hi there! My name is Carrie and I'm a Watercolor Misfit! What's a Watercolor Misfit? Well, anyone who is willing to try new things and not afraid to get their hands covered in paint! So what do you say, are you a Misfit-ian?

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