Preparing for World Watercolour Month |09 June 2021
The month of July is dedicated to celebrating Watercolour painting – one of the most ancient art forms. In preparation for this, Seychelles NATION contacted Chantale, a Seychellois artist, to learn more about this art form and her ideas for what we can do to celebrate while experimenting with watercolour paints.
Chantale runs an Instagram page called The Art Soothe, which aims at ‘Soothing your way through the chaos’. Her Instagram page consists of a range of colourful artwork and illustrations heavily influenced on botanical themes. She experiments with a range of art mediums mainly watercolour, gouache and pen, and also hopes to promote art as a means of therapy and wellness.
Seychelles NATION: What is watercolour painting and how does it differ to other forms?
Chantale: Watercolour has been the preferred medium for botanical and landscape illustrations for example since the Renaissance period, and has been used by many famous painters throughout history such as Paul Cezanne and Vincent Van Gogh.
Watercolour paint is translucent and fluid, which means it responds in different ways depending on how much water it is in contact with. It can at times be hard to control and so a lot of trial and error is involved when learning how to use this type of paint.
There are many techniques that can be used when creating with watercolour paint and I certainly do not profess to be a master of any! For me watercolour is a medium that allows flexibility and playfulness. You learn how to control how much water to use, how much pigment to extract and how far you can stretch the use of pigment.
The mesmerising aspect of watercolour is watching the pigment swirl around in a water droplet on the paper. Once the paint has dried, you can still see the areas where the paint has either mixed into another colour or dissolved into the water to create an amazing effect.
The paper is also something that needs to be tested as watercolour paper comes in many different forms and textures with different levels of absorption. Generally there are three types of watercolour paper, hot pressed which is best for detailed artwork as the paper tends to be smooth, cold pressed which is great for experimenting as it offers a medium textured surface, and rough paper which is heavily textured and works great with a loose style of paint.
Another great aspect of watercolour paint is that your dried up palette can always be reused! All it needs is some water on the paintbrush to bring the pigment back to life so there is minimal wastage compared to acrylic and oil paint.
Seychelles NATION: How much of the artwork that you do involves watercolour painting and why do you choose to use this particular medium?
Chantale: Nearly all of the artwork I create involves watercolour paint but at times I do mix in a little bit of gouache or acrylic for texture. My choice for watercolour was mainly because it was a medium I had not really experimented with enough at school and therefore I wanted to discover all its wonderful properties. I have always loved the dreamy romantic scenes that have been painted using watercolour. You can almost feel the weather they’re portraying, whether it be a windy day at the beach or a rainy day in the city.
Seychelles NATION: You mentioned that art is a form of therapy and that through World Watercolour Month, you want to encourage our local population to get into a creative phase and start experimenting with watercolour paints. Tell us more about this.
Chantale: In previous articles we have touched upon the use of art as a form of “therapy” and I use this term not in the strict medical sense as I am not a professional in the field. With the world being plunged into a sense of unknowing during the Covid pandemic, such a form of “therapy” is a welcomed outlet for many people.
For me, the form of healing I receive from art is mainly as a way of relaxing, reducing stress and anxiety. When I paint I get lost in my world of colours and state of creativity, and having such a strong focus on doing something that I thoroughly enjoy does wonders to the everyday aggravation that is placed on your mind and body. In short, painting relaxes me. Painting makes me happy. Painting makes me feel calm and centered.
With World Watercolour Month just around the corner in July, I hope to take part in the creative art prompt challenges that will be held online and on social media platforms such as Instagram. What is a creative art prompt challenge you might ask? Well a lot of aspiring artists seek motivational prompts to kick-start their creativity and art experimentation process.
Such challenges can be held throughout the year based on different themes such as inktober. All you need is to access the list of prompts for the coming month and create an artwork based on each prompt. You can then share your artwork with the whole art community through Instagram for example, using specific hashtags created for that art prompt challenge.
The World Watercolour Month challenge is a great occasion to:
- try out watercolour paint using the daily creative prompts
- introduce your kids to watercolour paint and do a family art session
- support watercolour artists by buying their amazing artwork
- share the watercolour artwork of your favourite artist as well as your own creations!
For those who are interested, make sure to follow my Instagram page @the_art_soothe to get updates regarding the official prompts and ways to participate.
A few examples of art prompt challenges I have participated in are:
- ‘Draw this in your style’ by arteza where you need to recreate a piece of artwork in your own style
Seychelles NATION: We know that you have a collection of artwork and would like to encourage people to use your artwork as inspiration. For those that want to embark on this journey, tell us how they can go about this.
Chantale: I currently have some printable templates on my website (https://theartsoothe.wixsite.com/theartsoothe) that can be used as a means of simply adding colour to something, to start the creative process.
The templates can be downloaded for free through a link and can then be printed on which ever paper you prefer depending on your type of painting style. But simple colour pencils on A4 paper will work just fine too.
Should the public show a growing interest in such art templates, I would be happy to continue creating a few more so that everyone can have a way to start using colour and get creative without having to spend a dime!
The blog section on my website also has videos and tutorials that can help you create some fun artwork such as wreaths and bookmarks. I am always open to new suggestions and would encourage those who do visit my website to send me a message regarding what sort of tutorial you would like to see next for example, and also to share any of your amazing creations should you try out a tutorial!
Photo sources: Chantale