Wateris powerful, it travels far and fast and through surface tension gathers itselfinto mass bodies of graceful motion; allthe time lifting up lifeless flotsam and jetsam reshaping and sorting it intoweights and sizes dispersing it at different levels along its margins.
Whenpigments are suspended in water they behave in the same way, the individualcharacteristics of each pigment are exposed by the water. Some finer particles drop straight to thebottom and creep across the surface, some float for a long time pressed intoone spot in the center of the water, some spread in tendrils and many migrateoutwards, pushing other pigments aside and accumulating at the margins and asthe water evaporates they show up as harsh lines at the tight edges of thewater mass. These behaviours depend onthe sizes and weights of the specific molecules inherent to each individualpigment and the saturation and quantity of water.
Thesecharacteristics are what makes watercolour painting such an 'organic' activityand what makes me feel I am dancing with a microcosm of some universal laws of nature when I paint with it.
Oilpaint is my current choice of medium. Itis more plastic in its response, has less personality than watercolour so canbe more easily manipulated without such careful planning and attention totechnique. This means that rather than utilizing the material's natural characteristics to create a delicateeffect, I am free to express a more personal image. In a way this is more of achallenge because watercolour, used carefully, creates naturally attractiveeffects with just the simplest marks and oil paints don't, they must becarefully manipulated with a specific outcome in mind. So I cannot rely on their characteristics todeliver an interesting and successful image. I need to have an outcome in mind, an idea of what the image is tryingto say.