Water(colours) under the Pottery Road bridge

Painter Donna Wilson says that painting with watercolours is about freedom. As an example, she described the techniques she used for her work, “Winter Blizzard with Skier.”

“You don’t have a lot of control with this method of painting,” she said. “What I did was I put down a thick layer of paint and then squirted water while tilting it. When you have a lot of freedom, you have a little less control.”

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The Toronto Watercolour Society held its Aquavision 2011 art show at the Papermill Gallery inside Todmorden Mills Heritage Museum on Pottery Road, concluding last week.

It was a juried art show with ribbons and plaques for the winners. Alejandro Rabazo won first prize with his piece, “Osgoode Hall, Toronto.”

Rabazo is a seasoned painter, and has won the award three times before. He has been painting Toronto for the past 13 years. He says the City of Toronto has eight of his paintings in its collection.

“I think watercolour is an incredible, beautiful medium,” he said. “Big oil paintings are powerful, but this is very elegant.”

Art enthusiasts Barbara Forest and David Roman went to the gallery during the show, looking for a nice piece to purchase for their own collection.

“While we were standing here looking at this painting, the artist came over and he was saying that a painting like this takes around 25 minutes,” Roman said. “We were both surprised and impressed.”

“I think the power of watercolour is to be spontaneous and fresh,” Forest said. “If you go in and overwork it then, for me, you lose the excitement.”

Knowing the colour wheel and how to mix colours together is important when painting in watercolour, Wilson said.

“Watercolour is a very transparent medium, so the whites of the paper come through. Whatever is on the bottom layers can change the overall effect,” she said. “Acrylic cannot create this effect unless it is very watered down.”

Although using watercolour can be tricky, Wilson said that it can also be fun and free.