Watercolor brings back many childhood memories for many of us. The water-soluble pigment, usually with the color pigment ground in some type of gum (usually gum Arabic), is used with a brush and water. Many use this technique because watercolor is translucent, although certain techniques like mixing with whiting (Gouache) or casein can make the colors opaque.

The medium is quite flexible, as some artists also try the dry brush technique, meaning the brush contains mostly pigment and very little water, which resembles how crayon goes on a surface. For something we have been exposed to since childhood, watercolor is quite the tricky tool, isn’t it?

We discovered an artist on Instagram who seems to have mastered this medium, and it fascinates us. Kyle Edwards, who often goes by “Ed,” creates predominantly watercolor paintings, usually of portraits of famous people.

“I use water and color to create paintings of people that have entertained me over the years in hopes that the paintings themselves will entertain others for years in the same way,” he describes on his website.

While most of his works are in watercolor, Ed also uses acrylic, oil, and even charcoal. His paintings boast of eye-popping colors, interesting contrasts, and wise usage of shading. The California-based artist’s work is so impressive, being able to do both partially realistic and semi-cartoonish creations.

Just recently he was able to present an original painting for Duran Duran which he gave to the band for their Paper Gods tour in Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY. Members of the band seem very impressed and happy about it!

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Watercolor, sometimes referred to as aquarelle in French), is most often used on paper. However, many painters would sometimes use papyrus, bark papers, plastics, vellum, or leather, fabric, wood, and canvas. In addition, specialized watercolor paper has a special texture – made partially or entirely with cotton, watercolor paper minimizes the distortion that often comes with wet pigment.

Various techniques exist too. The most basic are washes and glazes, which means the paint is diluted, with glazes often used on top of a previous layer. Another cool technique is the “wet in wet” style, which basically means you apply the paint to an area of the painting that’s already wet with either paint or water. In itself, it can have various sub-types as well including paint diffusion and cling-film technique.

As previously mentioned, there exists the dry brush technique as well, and related to it is the “scumbling” method where you drag color in order to produce a very textured appearance. There’s also various diluting and mixing methods, as well as the use of minimal palettes (referring to things like the “split primary” and “hexachrome” palettes, each containing 6 very specific colors). These produce very rad results that, while they’re difficult to master, they are very easy to appreciate.

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You can follow Ed’s Instagram and like his Facebook to keep up to date with his newest pieces. You can also buy his original paintings and gallery quality canvas or Giclée prints from his Etsy shop.

Thanks for reading!