Painting made with a pigment ground in gum, usually gum arabic, and applied with brush and water to a surface, usually paper. The pigment is ordinarily transparent but can be made opaque by mixing with a whiting to produce gouache. Transparent watercolour allows for freshness and luminosity. Whereas oil paintings achieve their effects by a building up of colour, watercolours rely on what is left out, with empty, unpainted spaces being an integral part of the work.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on watercolour, visit Britannica.com.
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