How all this watercolor painting started…
In 1996, Greg Conley started researching and writing a watercolor book called Watercolor: Tools Of The Trade that focused on only true information about watercolor materials, tools, technique, and history. But the tone of art publishers at the time was geared towards fluff titles like Awash with Light: Amazing Techniques For The Nocturnal Artist or Watercolor: Channel Your Way To Beautiful 18th-Century Paintings. So Conley continued working as a house-husband/freelance artist/fine artist/musician and decided that the book would work well as an internet site. In 1999, to his amazement, the domain www.watercolorpainting.com was available. (Who dropped the ball on THAT one?) Fate had intervened and the obsession began.
Here is an excerpt from the introduction to Watercolor: Tools Of The Trade:
Watercolor has always been a part of my life, but life has its way of getting in the way of where you thought you were headed. My degree in Studio Art prepared me well to be a fine art painter and printmaker but, darn it, the classifieds weren’t full of want ads for watercolorists. Unfortunately, a large majority of fine art graduates leave the field altogether when they enter the ‘real world’. I did. (Damn the computer.)
I like to think most, like myself, keep a real (not virtual) studio space set up and can produce a few paintings or other works a year, just to remind ourselves why we originally wanted to be ‘artists.’ I found a strong attraction to the tools of the trade.
Do you find yourself taking home the same 30-50 books about watercolor and watercolor painters? Each book has that small nugget of information you needed along with the usual technical hoopla, the color wheels, washes, brush exercises, et al. I decided to collect the information and trivia I most wanted to know and kept forgetting over the years.
Such things as: What’s the difference between a Pike palette and an O’Hara palette? How big is a 14ml tube? What size frame and mat do I need if I do a 9″ x 12″ painting? Where did I see that one cool easel? I enjoy studying artists as varied as Dong Kingman, Charles Burchfield, and Andrew Wyeth. I often wondered what brushes and papers they used? How about their choice of colors and palette?
This book doesn’t teach you how to paint, ultimately, you will paint things your own way if you are to be true to the creative urge. But, if you tend to forget which paints come in which size tubes, or wonder why Thalo Blue and Winsor Blue or Blockx Blue all look so much alike, or even what is the best way to arrange a studio area or put together an outdoor painting setup, you should find this Watercolor Reference Guide a useful addition to your own reference library.
I’ve gathered what I wanted to know and put it all in one place. I’ll keep researching at the library I’m sure, there’s always something new that you may need to know or something old you forgot to remember. Good luck in all you endeavor to become.
Who “We” Are
Right now “we” are a team based in Las Vegas and San Francisco, with Conley as advisor. The site continues to pursue the vision of Conley, as he’d say, “I like looking. I like learning. I like ridding people of doubt. I like correct spelling. I like facts and fancy. I heart art.”
This has been said about Conley’s art: “Utilizing the fluid medium of watercolor and a rich palette of colors, Greg fuses the forces of light, shadow, and texture to create his impressions of life and nature.” We hope this site does the same.