John’s Blog

I have become hypnotized by watercolor. It’s the only medium where color can take a sideline to other characteristics. Watercolor has an existence of its own, and is capable of making art all by itself.  I have spent the last 5 years trying to lose my addiction to reality by concentrating on shape and value, rather than color.  As it turns out, watercolor is the perfect medium for that kind of experimentation.

I’m more engineer than artist. I spend as  much time testing paints as I do painting with them. Watercolor paints are not like other wet media; when watercolor dries there is nothing left on the paper but pure pigment.  The size of the pigment particles makes all the difference in the world.  Once I realized this, paint selection became less about the color, and more about other characteristics that are unique when pigments are suspended in water.

I have been applying this idea to my work in an attempt to loosen up my paintings by concentrating on shape and value, and sacrificing color accuracy for other characteristics like transparency, texture and edging.



Many Ways to Gray: Introduction

I love grays and muted tones.  Grays emphasize the colors nearby. Jeanne Dobie refers to this as ‘mouse power’.  The ‘mouse’ colors are the supporting cast for the jewel-like colors. Whenever selecting a simple palette for a painting, the first...

read more

Three Blacks for Watercolorists

(Video Presentation) Many artists would never consider black for their palette. Here are some reasons a watercolorist might want to keep multiple blacks. [‘PAPA Members Present’ Zoom presentation, April 14, 2021]

read more

     John’s Blog – Watercolor Tips and Techniques by John McLaren