A classic and universal technique, watercolour was a key element in the early stages of art and has brought together Asian and European artists over the centuries. KAZoART's watercolour artists are proud to be ambassadors for this diversity, which appeals to all audiences! Discover out selection of original contemporary watercolour paintings!
Watercolour painting was the technique used in caves during prehistoric times, yet the authors remained anonymous, just like the monks in the Middle Ages who used it for their illuminations. The first famous watercolour artists saw the day in the 13th and 15th century in China: Huang Gongwang, Wang Meng and Shen Zhou, painted delicate and subtle watercolour landscapes.
In Korea, in the 18th century, Jeong Seon, from the Southern School, advanced the technique of watercolour by leaving his studio to paint more realistic watercolour paintings, as depicted in The Thinning of Mount Inwang after the Rain (1751).
English artist, Joseph Mallord William Turner brought watercolour painting to Europe in the 19th century. Watercolour paintings were this young talented artist’s favourite medium, because it enhances light and is ideal for representing landscapes. As an innovative artist in the technique, he played on transparency and light. Such is seen in the famous watercolour paintings, Bolton Abbey, Yorshire (1825), Scene on the Loire (1828) and Heidelberg (1945).
Many other famous watercolour artists have distinguished themselves through their pioneering works, such as Paul Cézanne's Still Life in the Blue Pot (1906) or Winslow Homer's watercolour landscapes. Interestingly, watercolour has followed the general artistic reflection that has shifted towards abstraction since the beginning of the 20th century. Vassily Kandinsky's First Abstract Watercolour (1910) brilliantly demonstrates that watercolour painting is not limited to landscapes. The Blue series by Georgia O’Keefe is an equally a good example of this. Watercolour art mixes well with other techniques, including gouache and oil painting. Klee demonstrates this excellently in Fish Magic (1925), as do many other artists: Marc Chagall, Edward Hopper and Helen Frankenthaler, to name the most famous.
The very first uses of watercolour art date back to the Paleolithic period, used to represent daily life in caves. The technique was, however, initially developed in Asia, through the emerging art of calligraphy, and to paint portraits or landscapes. The natural pigments found in Asia were principally brown shades.
Scholarly monks commonly used this technique in the Middle Ages to illuminate their manuscripts. From the Renaissance onwards, the production of paper subsequently developed watercolour painting, which became increasingly popular and appreciated by artists since it was easy to transport, bright and transparent. Watercolour became the medium par excellence for works aiming to capture the most fleeting elements of nature: light and colour.
In the 19th century, several English artists adopted this technique, including William Turner. The wet brush technique, associated with gouache, and the dry brush technique thus begin to coexist, the latter giving a more intense range of colours and ribbed textures.
Many variants are commonly used by watercolour artists around the world, one of which is to add salt to the paint, for example, to convey an impression of imperfection. Unfairly labelled as an easy technique for amateurs, watercolour still has many resources and possibilities to offer, which young artists use to explore new channels of communication, and this starts on KAZoART with a wide selection of contemporary watercolour paintings for sale!
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