Many people associate watercolors with paintings done by Kindergarten students. The truth is when done right the medium is quite suitable for the mature artist. The result of a well-done watercolor painting is in turn primitive and very modern. Outlines in watercolor tend to be vague, creating an image where the colors play together instead of being separated into their own fields. It is a bit chaotic, but it is controlled chaos. Watercolors can represent the oxymoron that is life itself.
The effect of watercolor paintings can be replicated in the art form of tattoo, in the hands of a competent artist. Watercolor Tattoos are an exacting art. Imitating a painterly style with a completely different canvas and medium is not an easily learned skill and should only be done by a tattoo artist who has perfected the trade. Do your research. Ask to see examples of the artist’s work. Ask for photos of work done on actual skin rather than paper or even practice flesh.
The Birds and the Bees and the Flowers and the Trees
Natural themes tend to be a popular subject in watercolor tattoos. The colors of nature are very vibrant and can easily melt into each other. Many flower petals are not one color but a gradient of color. Some flowers, such as pansies and tiger lilies, will have mottled petals. Many birds and insects are celebrated for their vibrant colors. Graceful limbed trees are also a favorite subject in watercolor.
The Champagne Supernova in the Sky
The sky is a popular subject for watercolor tattoos. The technique, after all, is as free as the sky. Rainbows, the Aurora Borealis, sunrises, and sunsets are all colors blurring together in a glorious visual symphony. The sky seems a nebulous subject, (indeed, the word “nebulous” comes from the Latin for “cloudy”) but is a perfect one for the freeform style that watercolor is.
The Tide is High But I’m Holding On
What better subject for watercolor than water? You can have a crashing wave a la Hokusai or something more placid in the style of Monet. Water can be mesmerizing to look at and so is a favorite subject for artists. To quote the philosopher Lao Tzu “Nothing is more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.”
Let Me Be Your Muse Tonight
Finally, if you know your tattoo artist well and are feeling adventurous, tell them to just follow their muse. You’d be surprised how well a free-form watercolor tattoo will turn out. What’s more, you will have something that is one hundred percent unique.
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