Watercolor Pencils, Hmm
 
Watercolor pencils present a bit of a conundrum, because (perhaps obviously) they aren't actually watercolors. They're definitely water media, and some folks consider them watercolors, but they definitely handle far differently when wet.

Some artists use watercolor pencils because they're repelled by the mercurial nature of watercolor paints, and want something completely controllable. I remember using them at first, and thinking of how much easier they are to use.

Yet these days I've found that I love watercolor paints because they have their own mind—the art becomes a natural expression, a cooperation between fluid dynamics and the artist. 

I'm can't use dry media because pastel and charcoal crumbs irritate my lungs and literally choke me. I love the effects, but I can't deal with not being able to breathe.

If I ever sketch in museums or historic places, I'll want watercolor pencils, so that I can preserve the color & paint it out when I get home. Some places won't even allow ink on the premises, much less any other water media, due to vandalism in the past with sharpies. Additionally, some places won't allow photographs because people always claim to not use the flash—and then use the flash anyways.

(Flashes provide extra light exposure that destroys old paintings rather more quickly than most expect.)

And yet—is that worth it? Could I truly capture what was going on? Watercolor pencils rely so heavily on being worked with water that any dry sketch will be incomplete, and my memory can be so spotty that I might not be able to work on the result at home to my satisfaction.


I love the texture that watercolor pencils can achieve; they can do things watercolors can't achieve. Yet trying to handle them in the same ways as watercolors always leaves me with so much to be desired, especially the more comfortable I get with the flow of watercolors.

Likely in the future I'll only use watercolor pencils for works I intend to be chunky and textured, like the red flowers above, rather than more nuanced like the vegetable still life—or when I'm so exhausted from being ill I need something easier to cope with.

Also this kitten turned out pretty well.


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