Tips and inspiration for watercolor painting

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Watercolor paints: Why are they so powerful?

Watercolor consists of color pigment and the binding agent gum arabic. The colourless gum arabic is water soluble. When the water evaporates, it binds the color pigments together to form a permanent color layer that can last for centuries. Watercolor is ideal for artistic production. Because it is basically "pure colour".

Leuchtende Aquarellfarbe
Leuchtende Aquarellfarbe (Giraffenkopf)

Watercolor pigments

Colours for artistic production, whether watercolor, oil or acrylic paints, consist of colour pigments. These colour pigments are produced in various processes. They are not water-soluble in themselves, but remain unchanged in their structure as the finest materials. Nowadays, colour pigments are usually produced artificially, as their luminosity is most intense and they also lose very little of their luminosity ("lightfast"), even if they are illuminated by light. More about the manufacturing process of colours.

The quality of watercolor paint therefore depends not only on the colour shade chosen, but above all on how "lightfast" or light-resistant the watercolor is. In most shops of the specialized trade are extra color plates laid out for it, on which one can read off both.

Leuchtende Aquarellfarbe
Landschaftsaquarell: Fluss-Quelle

Gum Arabic

The watercolor color is held together by gum arabic. The most important characteristic of this binder is that gum arabic is completely colourless. The colour pigments in the watercolor can therefore unfold optimally and are not dampened by the binder or any "diluent".

Gum arabic has another very practical property: it is water-soluble. Unlike other chemical solvents, water is almost always available, and it costs (almost) nothing. The colour pigment of the watercolor paints can thus be pressed together very practically in small paint cups, from which a thin layer can then be removed with a brush with the help of the water. The water of the applied, liquid paint then evaporates - what remains is the colour pigment, which is bound together again by the gum arabic and fixed on the picture ground (mostly paper). Very practical and proven for centuries...

Why does watercolor shine?

The previously described properties give the watercolor a very special luminosity. The colour pigments are very pure, and with the help of the water they are evenly, but very thinly distributed on the paper. As a result, the white paper underneath usually shines through. This interplay of light and colour can be very intense in watercolor paintings.

Leuchtende Aquarellfarbe
Leuchtende Aquarellfarbe (Papageienkopf)

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Watercolor painting Our house (Panketal near Berlin)
Watercolor painting "Our house" (Panketal near Berlin)