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A New Watercolour Painting Innovation.

© John Salmon 2006


I am very conscious of peoples attention span and the dread of too much wordage. I'll be as brief as I can and not waste your precious time. If you are in touch with other watercolour painters, please point them to this article as I have interesting news for watercolour painters of all levels.

I am certain you'll find it interesting and hopefully it will lead to you gaining even more satisfaction from using the challenging medium of watercolour. If you'd like to get involved you may need to spend about £4.00 ($8.00) in your High Street on some simple materials to make a new tool.


Watercolour is the most difficult art medium to master. An English art critic recently summed up the challenge of painting with watercolour like this: "To build up a composition in washes from light to dark, while leaving patches of white paper to represent the highlights, requires the forward planning of a chess player, the concentration of a Zen master, and the dexterity of a brain surgeon". It's not until you take this medium more seriously, that you realise how true the previous statement can be. Apart from the beauty that a well executed watercolour can impart to the viewer, a lot of us will also be captivated by the intellectual challenge of trying to control this magnificent beast to create beautiful artwork.

I would like to show you how you can control virtually impossible watercolour techniques with ease, and with economical use of your materials.

A New Innovation

I have always admired the brilliance of our own English watercolour master J.M.W. Turner. Any one of his watercolour paintings leaves me breathless by his technique and craftsmanship considering the crude tools and materials he used in comparison with what we have today. Paradoxically, I also love the excitement, invention and energy of some modern art.

Watercolour is fine for the traditional aspects of my art, but not really suitable for my modern pieces. This was something that I wanted to address. I needed to find a way of making watercolour more responsive to the way I wanted to paint, and find a way of achieving impossible effects in watercolour which are normally reserved for oil painting. I worked with the premise in mind that if I could achieve the impossible, then everything else would fall into place and be easier.

After years of experimentation I think I have cracked it. I have invented an extremely simple device which I think will make a contribution to watercolour painting. I don't want to turn this art into a mechanical process. The artistic factor remains the same. It merely helps you achieve far greater control and you'll still be using brushes, water and paint.

I may have de-skilled some difficult techniques but, at the same time, by making the medium more versatile, an entirely new range of techniques has become possible whereby, the skill factor has been moved along a few more notches into a new area. Apart from my own work where I have used this device, it is not certain yet how it will be used and what new discoveries are waiting to be made. It will only be when it is in the hands of artists like you, that we will begin to understand how it is being used and how it will complement the art of painting with watercolour.

Who will find this tool useful?

Whoever uses watercolour, gouache, cassein, and even acrylics will find this device useful. I am not saying it will suit everyone but there will be times when you will find it to be invaluable. It does not help with drawing, composition, value judgement, perspective or anything like that, you've still got to do all that hard work yourself. But it helps with your handling and control of watercolour. That alone may help towards you becoming a better artist.


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