Watercolor. Also known as 'aquarelle', it is any type of paint made from pigments mixed with a water-soluble binding, such as gum Arabic (an exception to this rule is water miscible oil paints). When made opaque with White, watercolor is generally called 'gouache' (do not confuse with 'tempera'). Watercolor paints can be bought in tubes or small blocks, and most watercolor painting is done in paper. The distinguishing characteristic of watercolor painting is its transparency. The surface of the paper is visible through the thin watercolor pigments, creating an effect distinct from the thick texture of oil painting and other more dense media. The painted papyrus scrolls of ancient Egypt may be considered the first watercolors.

"Vendor of Tapestries" (1870) Watercolor. Mariano Fortuny

Related Terms: Medium, Pigment, Binder, Oil Paint, Acrylic Paint, Tempera, Fresco, Pastel, Gouache, Encaustic.

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