Watercolor PURISTS would never ever use Chinese White watercolor paint in their paintings. Not ever. However, in Alvaro's workshop, we were encouraged to paint beautiful paintings, to not be conformed to 'rules' that would prevent us from succeeding.

This morning, I twisted the cap off my big tube of Chinese White and went to work on the painting I'd posted yesterday. Several juicy glazes of white, plus a bit more red and cerulean, resulted in a somewhat better painting. The previous one (see yesterday's post) was oppressively dark. Now this one is a little foggy and a bit mysterious.

Will the Watercolor Police arrest me for using white? Now where's my tube of Lamp Black?



Paul Kasmir said...


Great, the white definitely adds to the piece, I'm not going to report you, LOL.

Zbkuvic uses the white also, I think it adds to his work its never bothered me. A short while ago when I put some digital/watercolor work up on my blog I got some e-mails and comments saying I could not do that!! well I guess there are those people that have to live like that.

I just think of white paint as another tool for a capable artist like you to use:>)

Christiane Kingsley said...

Sandy, the white watercolor paint indeed added a lot to an already beautiful painting. The Impressionists broke many rules...maybe the time has come to break the "no white paint" rule:-)

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Yeah! Be free of those stinkin' rules.

Nice changes. I do love the mysterious look to the new posting.

Teresa said...

White rules... almost as much as lamp black, you're going to hell!

I'm still wondering how you manage to get such rich deep darks without overworking it, love this piece.

Sandy Maudlin said...

White or black, I'll use either one, but seldom do. Lately I've noticed A LOT OF WHITE in otherwise transparent watercolor paintings in AWS shows. Once I started using gouache - about 7 years ago - I quit being a purist for sure. Whatever it takes to make good art ..... It's such a wonderful world when the watercolor police are banished!

Thanks for your comments and encouragements. I so appreciate your stopping by!

Teresa, the darks are put on juicy and dark to start with, then allowed to 'float' a bit, one color charging into another dark color. Good luck with painting your darks.

wayne said...

Hi Sandra, That's a great watercolour with lots of atmosphere! You've created a really strong depth of field. Congrats!!
Cheers, Wayne

RHCarpenter said...

Isn't Chinese White also watercolor? I'm not telling - I think you should use whatever works! I think you learn the rules and then, when you get as good as you are, you can toss them all out the window.

Sandy Maudlin said...

Chinese White is a true watercolor, but purists and a scant few watercolor societies insist that TRUE watercolor can only be done with TRANSPARENT colors. White is, at the most, transluscent. The only people I know who REQUIRE transparency in order to call it a 'real watercolor'are the Transparent Watercolor Society of America, formerly Midwest Watercolor Society, as well as artists fairly new to the adventure of watercolor. Somehow, they think using white is cheating. I do, however, much prefer the true white of the paper over the white of the paint for glow and impact.

Nick said...

It's a different kind of white, for a different effect you can't get from the paper

Sandy Maudlin said...

Yes, Nick, and it's a good white, too:-)