Why I hated the medium I Love...
I am a creative person at heart. How I decorate, cook, entertain, raise my kids… all of it has my unique signature. For making art, watercolor is my hands down favorite medium. I don’t think I can even fully articulate why. In a way, it has always been there for me. As a child, canvases and acrylics were more than my parents wanted to spend money on, but paper, watercolor and a couple of brushes – sure.
I also think it has to do with my fascination with transparency. I love glass, water, fire, mist - anything not entirely opaque. Finally, it appeals to my free spirit – I'm a cook not a baker, I rarely measure ingredients. It may not work out every time, but often enough there’s magic.
Ok, so watercolor makes perfect sense. Those transparent things I love even have a fluidity to them.
Then what’s the problem?
Watercolor is a fussy fickle thing. It can not be painted onto an old barn door. You can’t gesso an old canvas and start again. It looks best on pristine never-before-used paper. Make a mistake and you are on your way to ‘over worked’ as you struggle to make the correction. This is not a big deal to most people. However, this is what you don’t know about me yet. I am a tree-hugging, reduce and reuse, kind of person. I shop second hand, I rinse out and reuse cereal bags, I will try giving an item a face lift before I decide I want to replace it. So watercolor gets on my waste-not want-not nerves.
Here’s another thing. It’s so stinking fragile! It wants to be displayed behind glass. Protected from the very space it is supposed to be enhancing!
This, my people, is what set me on my quest. The quest to make my beloved medium more environmentally friendly.
Melissa Tai is a lifelong creative, nature lover & tree hugger.