Deb Ward, GWS, OWS, PWS, WSI - WATERCOLOR/WATER MEDIA - My passion is teaching adult “beginners”. Weekly classes in my home; workshops; classes for Cincinnati Recreation Commission. My work is nationally recognized and published - see “Featured” on my sidebar. I’m a Signature Member of Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana state Watercolor Societies, Cincinnati Art Club, past-President of Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society. Contact info below under “Class Information”
Sunday, January 29, 2012
LITTLE OLD LADIES WHO PAINT
Several colleges had been interviewed in the article as to whether watercolor was taught at the college. Not a one – and these were high level art schools – “bothered” to teach watercolor. Most of the instructors interviewed did not paint in watercolor, did not know how to paint in watercolor, and more than once watercolor was referred to as an inferior medium, relegated to “little old ladies who paint”! (For the rest of the meeting we called him “lady”!)
Can you believe this??? Are you as stunned as I am, that, in this day with all of the advancements in paints, and all of the great watercolor painters we have - especially those “little old ladies” like Ted Nuttall, John Salminen, Mark Mehaffey, Nick Simmons, Charles Reid, George James, Bill James, Fred Graff, Gerald Brommer, Laurin McCracken, to name but a few – watercolor is still considered “inferior”.
Who are these idiots who are supposedly “teaching” in respected institutions of higher learning? To them I say - “Get a clue, people.” Jeepers. All they have to do is look at an art magazine that does not cater to oil or pastel. But, they probably wouldn’t know where to find one of those, right?
My question is, and always has been – if watercolor is so hard to control, so difficult to learn and use – why is an oil painting still valued more than a watercolor of same size and skill level? Usually in life something that is hard to do is valued more than something that is easy to do – think brain surgeon versus store clerk (and I mean no offense to all you store clerks out there, but I think you get my drift).
Is it because one is on canvas and the other on paper? But, both have longevity if handled properly, and you could argue that the one under glass is better protected than the canvas since one could easily cut or punch a hole through the canvas.
So, why is the medium that is so hard to learn, control and handle (watercolor) valued less than an oil painting that can be changed or scraped off ad nauseum?
I’ve asked this question over and over and no one can really say, other than, it all goes back to the “olden days” when watercolors were fugitive, didn’t come in many colors and were considered “ladies’ paint” or just a sketch medium.
It’s not the 1800’s anymore. Watercolor has come a long way, baby. Isn’t it time that it gets its just due in the art world?
What can we watercolorists do to change the art world?
Have today’s watercolorists made watercolor the dark sheep of the family just because of its difficult attributes?
Someone in our watercolor society suggested that watercolor is the medium for “the thinking artist”. Have we become elitist in our attitude? Have we somehow demeaned this medium?
All you watercolorists out there – let’s band together and take the art world by storm. We know what watercolor is capable of, so let’s try to get noticed by the art world!
Let’s create shields of 300# Arches, make some tri-pointed hats out of 140# and bury those oil painters under a mountain of fine cotton paper as we attack with our #6 pointed rounds held high!