Watercolor painting (”watercolour” in British English and “aquarelle” in France) is a painting method. A watercolor is the medium or the resulting artwork, in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-soluble vehicle. The traditional and most common support for watercolor paintings is paper; other supports include papyrus, bark papers, plastics, vellum or leather, fabric, wood, and canvas. In East Asia, watercolor painting with inks is referred to as brush painting or scroll painting. In Chinese and Japanese painting it has been the dominant medium, often in monochrome black or browns. India, Ethiopia and other countries also have long traditions. Fingerpainting with watercolor paints originated in China.
Although watercolor painting is extremely old, dating perhaps to the cave paintings of paleolithic Europe, and has been used for manuscript illumination since at least Egyptian times but especially in the European Middle Ages, its continuous history as a art medium begins in the Renaissance. The German artist Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) who painted several fine botanical, wildlife and landscape watercolors, is generally considered among the earliest exponents of the medium. An important school of watercolor painting in Germany was led by Hans Bol (1534-1593) as part of the Dürer Renaissance.
Among the many 20th century artists who produced important works in watercolor, mention must be made of Wassily Kandinsky, Emil Nolde, Paul Klee, Egon Schiele and Raoul Dufy; in America the major exponents included Charles Burchfield, Edward Hopper, Charles Demuth, Elliot O’Hara and above all John Marin, 80% of whose total output is in watercolor. In this period American watercolor (and oil) painting was often imitative of European Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, but significant individualism flourished within “regional” styles of watercolor painting in the 1920’s to 1940’s, in particular the “Ohio School” of painters centered around the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the “California Scene” painters, many of them associated with Hollywood animation studios or the Chouinard School of Art (now CalArts Academy).
The California painters exploited their state’s varied geography, mediterranean climate and “automobility” to reinvigorate the outdoor or “plein air” tradition; among the most influential were Phil Dike, Millard Sheets, Rex Brandt, Dong Kingman and Milford Zornes. The California Water Color Society, founded in 1921 and later renamed the National Watercolor Society, sponsored important exhibitions of their work.
Modern watercolor paints are now as durable and colorful as oil or acrylic paints, and the recent renewed interest in drawing and multimedia art has also stimulated demand for fine works in watercolor.
Gerald Brommer grew up in Northern California, studied at Concordia University, Nebraska; University of Nebraska, Lincoln (MA) ; Choulnard Art Institute, Otis Art Institute, UCLA and USC.
At the beginning of his career he taught geography and painted whenever possible. Gradually, he phased out the geography classes to allow more time to paint and teach art.
Since the 1950’s, he has produced watercolors on a regular basis. Many of his early works were very carefully planned and executed watercolors. On occasion, he added paper collage to give added textures. He paints on location (Plein Aire) and works more spontaneously, responding directly to the subject he is viewing. The subjects he has chosen to paint vary widely from California coast views, to desert landscapes and European city scenes.
Brommer has also become a recognized teacher of watercolor painter and is the author of over 20 art instruction books and numerous articles in art magazines. He served as president of both the California Watercolor Society and West Coast Watercolor Society. He is in over 4300 private collections in forty states and nine countries overseas.
Through the years he has actively exhibited watercolors, holding 160 one-man shows from Alaska to Florida and including Hong Kong and Bermuda. His work is displayed in over 200 group exhibitions, both competitive and invitational. Since the 1960’s, he has been in demand as a instructor of watercolor workshops and has traveled all over the world conducting classes.
Kevin graduated with a BFA in Illustration from Art Center College of Design. A freelance illustrator for 3 decades, he is applying his remarkable drafting skills in the use of watercolor on Yupo, a surface that is not paper at all, but plastic. While he has painted on traditional watercolor paper, he now uses yupo almost exclusively, often plein air. He is a member of SOCALPAPA, LPAPA, a juried member of Watercolor West and the Orange Art Association.
Tom Fong, Artist-Instructor, a native Californian, graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Design.
Know for paintings that are bold, spontaneous, and directly applied, his watercolors have been juried into national exhibitions. Tom’s work has been featured in The Artist’s Magazine, Watercolor Artist, American Artist, and was included in an article “20 Great Teachers” in the collector’s edition of Watercolors by the American Artist. He was also featured in “North Light Books, Splash 6″ and in “My Friends, Today’s Great Masters”, Jack Richeson Fine Arts Series.
Jim Salchak has been captivated by the medium of watercolor for the over thirty years. His paintings have been shown in numerous local and national juried exhibitions, including the American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society, and Watercolor West.
Jim is a signature member and past president of both the National Watercolor Society and Watercolor West and has also achieved signature membership in the Nevada and San Diego Watercolor Societies. His paintings have been published in the Best of Watercolor, People in Watercolor, and Watercolor Expressions. He has served as a juror for both national and local art exhibitions.
Judy Schroeder is a recognized painter and author whose career has spanned several decades. She opened Schroeder Studio Gallery in April 1998 and has since expanded it to represent the work of more than 100 studios. In 2003, the adjacent space was acquired for art studio and classroom use.
Over the years Judy has studied with notable watercolorists including Roger Armstrong, Rex Brandt, Gerald Brommer, Keith Crown, Millard Sheets, Robert E. Wood and Milford Zornes. Her primary subject matter is the landscape preferably painted on location. In addition to painting in the United States, Judy has traveled to England, France, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, Western Samoa, and French Polynesia.
Judy’s work has been featured in both individual and group exhibitions, and is collected by both private collectors and corporations. She was one of 17 artists selected worldwide to pen a chapter for Work Small, Learn Big: Sketching with Pen & Watercolor, a book published by International Artist Magazine in 2003. In 2006, at the invitation of the Orange Public Library Foundation, Judy created 13 paintings representing the history of Orange for the new main library History Walk. She is currently collaborating with author Elisabeth Deffner on a publication of a book that explores the history of early schoolhouses throughout Southern California.
Judy received a B.A. with a Special Secondary Credential in Art from the University of Redlands.
Brenda Swenson’s paintings and sketches have been featured in Watercolor Magazine, Watercolor Highlights, Quarterly Magazine, Wheels of Time and numerous other publications. She is the artist author of 2 books, Keeping a Watercolor Sketchbook, an Award of Excellence Finalist and Steps to Success in Watercolor. An active participant in the arts community she has received numerous awards for her paintings. Brenda is in demand to demonstrate and teach her painting and sketching techniques to groups nationwide and abroad.