Strength and Fragility of Watercolor

Thickets & Brambles #2 Watercolor in Progress ©Kristine Fretheim

WHAT’S ON THE EASEL NOW:
Thickets & Brambles #2
Watercolor on Arches Hot Press
22 x 22 inches

One of the things I love about watercolor is it’s fragility. If you own a watercolor, it requires care and protection. Unlike an oil or acrylic painting, a watercolor cannot withstand a rain shower or a snow storm. It will wilt and fade under direct sunlight. I wouldn’t suggest hanging a watercolor in a steamy bathroom either. Your watercolor is a fragile gem, needing careful attention.

If you have limited wall space to display your collection, (as many of us do) you can rotate pieces from wall and frame to storage every month or two. The Royal Watercolor Society recommends storing unframed pieces in an archival portfolio. Museum quality boxes safely store your originals and prints, and they are also a beautiful way to show friends and family the currently unframed pieces in your collection.

Taking care of my watercolors has reminded me of the connectedness and interdependence of all things. Every thing in my life is alive and precious. The water, paper and pigments that I choose to combine in a painting depend on my care and attention for their creative alchemy. They are part of the same earth that I am, warmed by the sunlight, satiated by the rain, born from stardust just like me. When I meet every thing in my life with a certain reverence, care and attention, I am transformed. So in a way, a watercolor may not be so fragile after all. The most delicate of painting mediums may hold the power to infuse you with new reverence and appreciation for your life.