Monday, April 25, 2016
PROGRAM APRIL 6, 2016 - A HISTORY OF WATERCOLOR
Program Chair, Claudia Taylor, introduced our presenter for April, Craig Lloyd. Craig received his degree from
, and Masters from U.C. He is an Associate Professor at Wright State and was the Judge for our 2015 GCWS
Art Show. His topic was “A History of
Watercolor”. We saw many wonderful
slides of paintings which were representations of the subjects and elements of
design that were discussed. Mt. St. Joseph
The first element discussed was “Unity” – that is, repetition with variety, sometimes shapes, or color, or values. Other elements of design include balance, proportion, and a focal point.
The history of watercolor begins about 16,000 B.C. by the “cave men” who drew on walls with charcoal, or perhaps even put paint pigments inside hollow bones, and blew air through them to make representations of their everyday life. Some were found in
The Egyptians were able to create “paper” – papyrus, by pounding stems
of plants, and used a type of watercolor about 275 B.C. Chinese silk painting – watercolor or ink on
silk came into being about 1100-1200 A.D.
Next, the Europeans used egg tempera on vellum (sheepskin). The Limbourgh Brothers created magnificent
manuscripts in the 15th and 16th centuries. France
Chinese paper was used extensively as a trade medium, shipped throughout the known world in trade for other goods. Paper as we know it was developed from about 220-500 A.D. At first,
was the center of papermaking; then
it was made in Sicily , Italy , and France .
Woven paper was refined in the 1760’s, and when the paper-making machine
was invented in 1807, it was so improved and much more abundant, that many
artists could now afford to buy the paper and really begin to paint. Most started as apprentices and worked with
the great artists. Germany
Albrecht Durer was the first real watercolorist, using roundness, shading, and color. He used watercolor and gouache, which was called “body color”. Until about 1781, most artists had to make their own paint, but Reeves was the first to use honey as a preservative to keep the pigment moist. In 1846, artists were finally able to purchase tubes of paint – gum Arabic and pigment and water, by
& Windsor .
This opened the field to another whole round of artists. Newton
, the Royal Watercolor Society still
used the art form of watercolor and gouche.
In 1841-1842, a wonderful watercolor painter, JMW Turner came upon the
scene. He painted landscapes, scenes,
many with large skies, and architecture. Britain
, the artists were chronicling America – the birds, plants, etc. John J. Audubon , who was born in America , but eventually lived in Haiti , worked on a Birds of America folio
book. He owned a dry goods store, made a
fortune, but went into bankruptcy.
Luckily, he went to Kentucky with his large 30” x 36” folio. It was published, and it was a great success. Britain
Winslow Homer painted in the 1900’s; painted the Color Light – Chicago. John Singer Sargent also painted in the 1900’s – 900 oils, and 2000 watercolor paintings. He lived in
Europe, but also had citizenship; was also talented on
the piano. U.S.
Other painters whose work we saw: Paul Cezanne, an impressionist; Berthe Morisot (painted 1872-1882). She was known as a great drawer, and a fast painter. Our
had a show of her paintings
recently. Paintings by Dixie Selden
(1930s), Emma Mendenhall (1960’s), and Ida Holterhuff Holloway (1930’s) were other slides that we enjoyed at this
presentation. Taft Museum
Elizabeth Nourse, a Cincinnatian (Mt. Healthy – 1890’s) went to the
; was a student of Frank Duveneck. Duveneck (1848-1919) lived in Covington, KY,
learned his craft from the Masters in Germany, and a number of his paintings
are displayed at the Basilica Cathedral in Covington and at the Cincinnati Art
Museum. Cincinnati Art Academy
Members of the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society are following a long and very fine tradition of the many great watercolor painters who came before us. Maybe, some day, some of our members will have paintings hanging in museums.
Submitted by Joyce Grothaus, Secretary , GCWS, - April, 2016.