Water isn’t meant to be controlled, but a watercolor artist can offer insights into how it might be managed…..
#94 – Each artistic medium has its own energy that the Artist must learn to properly manage. This one is about Water.
I’ve always admired watercolor artists. It is perhaps one of the toughest artistic mediums to master. I worked with watercolors briefly in the beginning of my career and quickly developed a frustration at my attempts to control the watery hues. As a sculptor, I was used to a more resistant relationship with solid materials, until I eventually learned that I had to anticipate the behavior of water instead of trying to dominate it.
After 30 years of daily practice, watercolor artist Sadhu Aliyur knows exactly how to leverage water and make it work to his advantage. “Painting with watercolors is a challenging medium to work in,” says Sadhu. “First, the image has to be made in your mind. Once a stroke has been painted, it is there. If you change your mind, there is no way you can paint over it or remove it. That is also the beauty of watercolors.”
Like the movements of a well-choreographed dancer, each of Aliyur’s brushstrokes has a purpose, creating an intense burst of creative energy on the paper. Nothing is wasted, no paint splattering about the studio. There is only the focus of an artist who has mastered his medium, deftly navigating the watery realms and transparency of colors to bring forth his vision into the world.
Many of Aliyur’s paintings are achieved in the span of 15 minutes, a testament to the precision and dexterity required to blend and layer colors. Black and white are never used as pigments – the “black” in his paintings is an illusion created by the strategic placement of deep violets and blues and the white areas are actually the white of the paper.
While most artists shift to more “opaque mediums” for ease and flexibility of creation, Sadhu Aliyur has chosen to hone his talent on a mutable medium that demands concentration. The results are well worth the effort.
I was one of those artists who moved on to other mediums, but I sometimes return to watercolors as a meditative practice, reminding me to hold focus within the context of fluidity as I continue to explore the subtle balance between letting go and purposeful movement.
Artist Credits for the images included in this post:
Images featured above:
Sadhu Aliyur, India
Watercolor on paper
The 365 Days Project
In 2012, Serena Kovalosky committed to writing an article a day for 365 days as an exploration into the lives of artists and the value of creative thinking in our society.