About Watercolor

Watercolor is a fluid, usually water, that has pigment suspended or dissolved in it.  The fluid, or paint, is usually applied to white paper, although other surfaces such as gesso or
plastic film are sometimes used.  When the paint dries, light reflected from its surface is affected by the pigment, giving a look of transparency to the painting. These kind of paintings usually show a good degree of spontanaeity and corrections are very difficult once paint is laid down.

 Pigments used for watercolors have different properties, and can range from those that stain the paper to pigments that remain opaque, sitting on the paper's surface.  Some pigments have properties that are somewhere in between staining and opaque.  Most pigments are light-fast, but a few, called 'fugitive pigments', fade with time when exposed to light. Watercolor paintings therefore should not be hung in areas exposed to long periods of high light or direct sun.   Most experienced artists avoid using fugitive colors.  Paints are sold as Student Grade and Artist or Professional Grade.  Student Grade paints have a filler added and the pigments are more dilute than Artist Grade paints.

Some brushes used for watercolor are made of hair from animals such as sable or squirrel. Others are made of synthetics, or are a blend of natural hair and synthetic.  They should all have the ability to hold quantities of water, and come to a fine point at the tip.  They should also possess a good degree of springiness. Brushes are round, flat or oval shape.

The paper used for watercolor is usually made from acid-free fine cotton fiber. Some watercolor papers, made by hand, are quite expensive but many good watercolor papers are machine-made.  Framed watercolors are usually bordered with a matte, and are covered with either glass, or plastic such as Plexiglass. 

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