Recently, I've been asked by several of my readers – why I call myself a Modern Watercolorist and not a Mixed Media Artist?
Well, in all honesty – it’s mainly due to the supplies I use, how I use them plus a pretty traumatic story of how I learned I wasn’t a traditional watercolorist. But I’ll get to that in a second…
In my previous post [CLICK HERE TO READ] I actually discussed the difference between modern watercolor and traditional or regular watercolor – so if you didn’t watch that video or read the post please please make sure to check it out.
Some of you were curious after that video aired why I didn’t call myself a Mixed Media Artist but rather a Modern watercolorist which is how this video came to be.
SO HERE’S MY STORY OF WHY I DON’T REALLY LIKE TO REFER TO MYSELF AS A MIXED MEDIA ARTIST…
College was pretty rough for me – I honestly struggled ALOT in school and it was one of the most emotional roller coaster rides of my life – with really awesome highs and really depressive lows. During that time – to just kind of help me kind of process – I often would draw or paint in my dorm room. And one particular year I made what I deemed some pretty awesome art. So – I decided to take my art to the local county fair and showcase it just for kicks.
I had often done this as a child and entered my art into age categories based on grade – but now that I was an adult I needed to specify what medium of art I would be entering in. The categories were photography, watercolor, oil, acrylic, and mixed media. I of course labeled my artwork under the category of watercolor – thinking that’s what I had painted. My art piece was composed of watercolor, graphite pencil, and a bit of white gouache for highlights.
After standing in line for some time to submit my work under the watercolor category – I was met with well some not positive responses. As soon as the lady working the desk took my painting in her hands she immediately shoved it back into mine and said with disgust – “wrong table.” Confused, I said – but it’s painted with watercolor. She then proceeded to say – “Is that all you used?” Confused – I told her I had used some gouache for highlights but before I could finish she pointed to the mixed media table and said in a very demeaning voice, “Over there.”
Needless to say – I was really confused – but walked over to the mixed media table and once again waited in line to submit my work. Looking around – most of the art in this location was a mixture of mainly acrylic and ink. No watercolor to be seen. After some time – once again I was standing before another woman to submit my piece. After filling out the necessary paperwork – I then proceeded to ask – why my work was considered mixed media instead of watercolor. The lady was a bit confused as well – staring at my work and the others that had been submitted. She then called over the preview woman who had shooed me over to this table and asked her the same question.
The woman then proceeded to inform me that only “true” watercolor paintings could be submitted into her category and that mine was not considered a “true” watercolor painting since I had used gouache. With that short and albeit curt explanation – she then stated “rules are rules.” and walked away without any further explanation.
Now I get “rules are rules” and she wanted her watercolor category to be “pure.” But that day – I learned a pretty hard lesson from the art world. Many what I would deem “purest” artists – or artists who want to stick to the more traditional side of their art medium – viewed mixed media art as the trash art category of their world. And as a result – I really felt like trash just being associated with that category. So I went home feeling pretty lame after that whole ordeal.
Needless to say, the whole ordeal was pretty well discouraging and I was really sad that my art wasn’t considered watercolor. I loved watercolor and I loved painting with watercolor – but that day I hadn’t felt wanted – well actually I was downright ostracized from the group and placed into a category that they deemed “trash art.”
THE SUM UP…
Now – I do want to clarify – I don’t think of Mixed Media art as “trash art” and there is absolutely nothing wrong with painting with watercolor the traditional way. This was just my first impression of this world and while I do consider myself a Mixed Media Watercolorist today I still prefer the term modern Watercolorist mainly due to this particular event. For years I really struggled with the term Mixed Media but I’ve come to accept it better now.
This is also why I started calling myself a Misfit when it came to watercolor. I just decided to take a different approach and well “break the rules of watercolor” and just have fun. I think that’s more what art should be about – creating stuff that makes you feel good about yourself no matter how you go about it.
Most people won’t encounter the same experience that I had – but it does still happen based on the comments from my previous video it most definitely still happens.
So yeah – that’s my story and hopefully, this answered some of your questions from the previous video. If you have any more questions or would like me to answer any other topics make sure to leave a comment below – and let’s keep the conversation going.