Asian Watercolor Expression 2012

April 15, 2012

Gradation and Detail in Watercolor Paintings

By Winarto

"Student" (2004) worked by Houxing Chang (China).

Compare to oil painting, watercolor painting is still subordinated. Not only common people, but also artists themselves and art collectors have not good enough appreciation to watercolor paintings. Perhaps, this is because of some ‘lacks’ of watercolor features.

Firstly, watercolor painting used to be done on paper that is easy to be broken not like as canvas, oil painting medium. Secondly, the size of paper in generally is little. Some artists think that this size constraints their expression.

Technically, painting on paper with watercolor is more difficult than on canvas with oil medium. Watercolor becomes dry out quickly, so to paint with watercolor asks the artist to work quickly too. This is why not many artists want use watercolor or water based medium.

But, it is really that watercolor offers much possibilities for creative exploration. Watercolor presents transparent colors which is so imaginative. Some artists use the transparency of watercolor to create interesting gradation of colors.

Asian Watercolour Expression


During ten days since April 5th until 14th in Jakarta was held the exhibition of watercolor paintings. There were a hundred paintings worked by artists from Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippine, Myanmar, China and Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan.

"Bed of Leaves" (2011) worked by Elizabeth Que Bato (Philippine).

In the exhibition entitled “Asian Watercolour Expression” we can see the power of watercolor. Look at the work of Phunsee Srisuphar from Thailand, “Morning Time” (2010). Also the works of   Sangkom Somboonhua (Thailand), “Phya Naak” (King of Nagas) (2012), and Min Wae Aung (Myanmar), “Towards Monastery” (2012). The three art works present so interesting color gradation.

On “Morning Time” the colors like as blue, green and yellow in so soft gradation is able to present the frozen morning which starts to melt. This gradation like this is not easy to present with oil medium.

Then, Sangkom with his work “Phya Naak” (King of Nagas) create the gradation color to make movement effects. Min Wae Aung in “Toward Monastery” with the gradation of brown, yellow and white colors can builds mysterious beauties of five Buddhist Monks.

Like as oil medium, with watercolor experienced artists can also create amazing details on his works. This can be seen on “Bed of Leaves” (2011) worked by Elizabeth Que Bato. The artist from Philippine is able to create details to make the leaves of croton plant is so realistic. It is not easy to believe that this painting is watercolor. The play of color detail is also seen on the work of D. Tjandra Kirana (Indonesia), “Asak Girls” (2012). Colors details on the costumes of the girls is looked so perfect.

In a condition where common people have not high appreciation to watercolor paintings the Asian Watercolour Expression 2012 was able to create a good hope. The exhibition curator from “Bentara Budaya” art gallery, Ipong Purnama Sidhi, said that with this exhibition held by Indonesian Watercolour Society we can hope that people can see the power of watercolor paintings as same as oil paintings.

After in Jakarta, The Asian Watercolour Expression will be presented in some cities in Indonesia such as Jogjakarta, Surakarta (Center of Java) and Bali.

Leave a Reply

ART BOOKS