In the art world different mediums and techniques of paint are used. Most of the mediums are opaque and forgiving.
Take oils for instance – should an artist make a mistake, he may wait for the oil to dry and apply another layer/layers of oils over it and correct his mistake, as the medium itself is opaque.
Using the medium of watercolours is somewhat different. Whilst one does get ‘opaque’ watercolours, artists tend to use them in moderation, in conjunction with the more favoured transparent watercolours. It is the very transparency of the medium on a white paper that produces the translucent, glowing and luminous colours, which give watercolour paintings their very unique and magical appearance.
Opaque paints may be used to bring out detail but are thought to be muddy in comparison. Backgrounds are laid down in large washes of colour and results are not always consistent and can vary with each painting. Where colour meets colour, there is a random blending as these mingle. The degree of blending, depends on how wet or dry the first colour was when applied.
The more skilled the artist is, the more control he has over the final result. Nevertheless, there is always a random element involved. It is highly unlikely the same artist would be able to exactly reproduce the same watercolour ever again. This makes each painting rather unique in its own way.
When it comes to art, I have a particular fondness for watercolour paintings for these very reasons, as well as for the unpredictability of the result. Having dabbled in this particular form of art, I can appreciate the skill involved in creating images using this medium.
One of my favourite places to take the dog for a walk is the local beach and as a result I spend a lot of time on it. Invariably I take a camera with as there is a wide variety of subject matter in the form of varying activity and colour to photograph. Ultimately one gets bored with taking shots of beach detritus and composing haikus to go along with each image.
I recently invested in a variable ND filter for some prime lenses, one of which is a wide angle lens. Having done a lot of close up, wide angle street photography, I have become adept at shooting from the hip. The walks on the beach with the dog coincide with low tide, which means the time of day, the light and the activity on the beach varies a lot.
Being experimental by nature I started playing with low shutter speeds. Even in the brightest sunlight I could introduce enough random motion in each shot to produce an abstract watercolour painting effect in camera.
Using the sea and mountains across the bay as a backdrop these elements form an ideal background wash, similar to a water colour painting. The vivid beach attire helps the human form stand out, even though highly abstracted at times, due to the motion blur. After a number of different twists and turns, combined with pans and differing shutter speeds, the early attempts follow.
But is it watercolour art?
Candle in the wind
Gear matters – Fuji X-T10 , 18mm prime lens , Nisi 1.5 to 5 variable ND filter and a lot of random luck.
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