wwatercolor or watercolour - Any paint that uses water as a solvent. Paintings done with this medium are known as watercolors. What carries the pigment in watercolor (called its medium, vehicle, or base) is gum arabic. An exception to this rule is water miscible oil paints, which employ water as their solvent, but are actually oil paints.

When made opaque with white, watercolor is generally called gouache or bodycolor. Tempera is another exception.

Colors are usually applied and spread with brushes, but other tools can also used. The most common techniques for applying watercolor are called wet-on-dry and wet-on-wet, along with the dry brush techniques dry-on-dry and dry-on-wet. Colors can be removed while still wet, to various degrees by blotting.

Most watercolor painting is done on paper, but other absorbent grounds can also be employed. The papers most favored by those who paint with watercolor is white, very thick, with high rag content, and has some tooth.

"Watercolor" is the American spelling. "Watercolour" is the British spelling.

 

Examples of works in watercolor:

Listed chronologically by artist's birth year

 

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Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471-1528), A Young Hare, 1502, watercolor and gouache on paper, 25 x 23 cm, Graphische Sammlung, Albertina, Vienna. Albrecht Dürer is considered one of the pioneers in the use of watercolors. See Northern Renaissance.

 

 

Albrecht Dürer, The Large Piece of Turf, 1503, watercolor and gouache on yellowed paper, 41 x 32 cm, Graphische Sammlung, Albertina, Vienna.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftIndian, Mughal dynasty, A Ruler on Horseback Leading an Army across a Battlefield, from the Tarikh-i Alfi, c. 1592-94, opaque watercolor on paper, heightened with gold; Persian text in nastaliq script, Worcester Art Museum, MA.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightSally Miller (American, Litchfield, CN), Mourning picture, c. 1811, silk painted with watercolors and ink, 28 x 32 3/8 inches (71.12 x 82.23 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftJoseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775-1851), Conway Castle, North Wales, 1798, watercolor and gum arabic with graphite underdrawing, 21 1/8 inches x 30 1/8 inches (53.6 x 76.7 cm), J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, CA. See Romanticism.

 

 

see thumbnail to rightJoseph Mallord William Turner, The Lake of Zug, 1843, watercolor with gouache and colored chalks, over traces of graphite; extensive scraping with penknife, 11 3/4 x 18 3/8 inches (29.8 x 46.6 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftJames Duffield Harding (English, 1797 or 98 - 1863), Twickenham, 1839, drawing and monochromatic watercolor on paper, 27.0 x 38.4 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightFerdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798-1863), Saada, the Wife of Abraham Benchimol, and Préciada, One of Their Daughters, 1832, watercolor over graphite, 8 3/4 x 6 3/8 inches (22.2 x 16.2 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See Romanticism.

 

 

Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix, Strolling Players, 1833, watercolor, 9 3/4 x 7 1/4 inches (24.8 x 18.4 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftRichard Parkes Bonington (French, born England, 1802-1828), Verona, Piazza dell'Erbe, c. 1826-7, watercolor and pencil on paper, 20.6 x 26.5 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

 

 

see thumbnail to rightDante Gabriel Rossetti (English, 1828-1882), Lady Lilith, 1867, watercolor, bodycolor and gum, 20 3/16 x 17 5/16 inches, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftWinslow Homer (American, 1836-1910), Boys and Kitten, 1873, watercolor and gouache over graphite on cream wove paper, Worcester Art Museum, MA. Among his first efforts with watercolor, this picture was painted while Homer was vacationing in Gloucester, Massachusetts. His use of watercolor was so innovative and expressive that he greatly contributed to its becoming accepted as a fine arts medium. See realism.

 

 

Winslow Homer, Ship's Boat, 1883, watercolor, New Britain Museum of Art, CT.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightWinslow Homer, After from the Hunt, 1892, watercolor, 16 x 21 inches (40.6 x 53.3 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftAnton Mauve (Dutch, 1838-1888), Entering the Fold, c. 1885-8, drawing and watercolor on paper, 505 x 60.3 cm, Tate Gallery, London. Anton Mauve was an early influence on Vincent van Gogh. This prolific and popular Dutch realist painter's wife was van Gogh's cousin. Mauve and van Gogh worked together for a short time. See pastoral.

 

 

see thumbnail to rightPaul Cézanne (French, 1839-1906), Foliage, 1895-1900, watercolor and pencil on paper, 17 5/8 x 22 3/8 inches (44.8 x 56.8 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY. See Post-Impressionism.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftPaul Cézanne, Still Life, about 1900, watercolor and graphite, 18 15/16 x 24 7/8 inches (48 x 63.1 cm), J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, CA. See still life.

 

 

Paul Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from Les Lauves, 1901-1906, pencil and watercolor, 18 7/8 x 12 1/4 inches (48 x 31 cm), private collection.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightPaul Cézanne, Le Mont Sainte-Victoire, 1902-1906, pencil and watercolor on white paper, 16 3/4 X 21 3/8 inches (42.5 x 54.3 cm), Museum of Modern Art, New York.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftHenri-Edmond Cross (French, 1856-1910), Landscape with Stars, watercolor over pencil on paper, 9 5/8 x 12 5/8 inches (20.5 x 32.5 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See Neo-Impressionism and nocturne.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightJohn Singer Sargent (American, born in Italy, 1856-1925), Venetian Fishing Boats, c. 1904, pencil and watercolor on paper, 48.9 x 34.9 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftJohn Singer Sargent, Muddy Alligators, 1917, watercolor over graphite on off-white wove paper, Worcester Art Museum, MA.

 

 

Childe Hassam (American, 1859-1935). See American Impressionism and Ten American Painters.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightMaurice Brazil Prendergast (American, born Newfoundland, 1859-1924), Large Boston Public Garden Sketchbook: The Huntington Avenue Streetcar, 1895-1897, watercolor over pencil, 14 1/8 x 11 1/8 inches (35.8 x 28.4 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See The Eight.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftMaurice Brazil Prendergast, Low Tide, Beachmont, c. 1902-4, watercolor over graphite and coal on off-white wove paper, Worcester Art Museum, MA.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightWasily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866-1944), Watercolor (Number 13), 1913, watercolor on paper, 12 5/8 x 16 1/8 inches (32.1 x 41 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftEmil Nolde (German, 1867-1956), Papuan Head, 1914, watercolor on paper, 19 7/8 x 14 3/4 inches (50.4 x 37.5 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.

 

 

see thumbnail to rightJohn Marin (American, 1870-1953), Brooklyn Bridge, c. 1912, watercolor and charcoal on paper, 18 5/8 x 15 5/8 inches (47.3 x 39.7 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftPaul Klee (Swiss, 1879-1940), Twittering Machine, 1922, watercolor and pen and ink on oil transfer drawing on paper, mounted on cardboard, 25 1/4 x 19 inches (63.8 x 48.1 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY. See Bauhaus.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightFrancis Picabia (French, 1879-1953), Conversation I, 1922, watercolor and pencil on paper, 59.5 x 72.4 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

 

 

Charles Demuth (American, 1883-1935), Daisies, 1925, watercolor, New Britain Museum of Art, CT.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftGeorgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887-1986), Evening Star, III, 1917, watercolor on paper, 8 7/8 x 11 7/8 inches (22.7 x 30.4 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY. See nocturne.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightEgon Schiele (Austrian, 1890-1918), Seated Woman, Back View, 1917, watercolor, gouache and pencil on paper, 18 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches (46.4 x 29.8 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See Expressionism.

 

 

Stuart Davis (American, 1892-1964), Hoboken, 1916, watercolor, published in the Liberator 1 (August 1918), Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftGeorge Grosz (German, worked there and in USA, 1893-1959), A Married Couple, 1930, watercolor on paper, 66.0 x 47.3 cm, Tate Gallery, London. See Expressionism.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightJohn Steuart Curry (American, 1897-1946), Fire Diver, 1934, watercolor on paper mounted on board, 22 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO. See movement and vertical.

 


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Also see binder, earth art, Index of American Design, seascape, stain, stain removal, wash, water gilding, watermark, waterproof, waterscape, and water-soluble.

 

 

 

 

 

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