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The Watercolor Wall

I was exposed to art and art technique at a very young age because I think my parents saw my potential when I would drew on the walls with crayons...or that one time I used the yellow head of a Lego man to draw on my neighbor’s garage door. I got in trouble, of course, but my parents never discouraged me from exploring my artistic ability. Instead, they led me to paper where I could transfer my creative energy without destruction.

When I was given my first watercolor paint set (I must have been 4 years old), I was excited! I left like I had graduated to the next level—and that I could be trusted with not spilling a cup of water. I experimented with the paint, swishing around transparent color on paper, and occasionally the table. But ever since then, I’ve loved watercolor.

As an adult (if you haven't noticed with the trend of my posts thus far), I love that I now have the opportunity to skip paper altogether and revert back to my uninhibited childhood instinct to draw on—and more specifically, watercolor—walls.

Watercolor painting has a long history perhaps dating as far back as the Paleolithic Era with cave paintings. There is evidence of watercolor manuscript illumination during the high Egyptian reign, but the popularity of the medium really begins during the Renaissance. German artist Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) who painted several fine botanical, wildlife and landscape watercolors, is generally credited with popularizing the medium. Many artists followed suit, including poet William Blake who used it to create etchings for this publications during the 17- and early 1800s. During the late 19th century, Winslow Homer, considered the most important watercolorist, used watercolor for all of his paintings and is credited with encouraging his peers to explore the medium. And during the 20th century, artists began to stray from Impressionism and to experiment with abstraction, including Paul Klee, and perhaps the most famous female watercolorist, Georgia O’Keeffe.[1]

One of the greatest qualities of watercolor is its ability to easily create light and shadow in one color because it is not opaque like other paint mediums. Further, the ability to create fluid movement is more natural due to its watery state.

Translated in the home, the watercolor wall gives the space the same whimsical, mellifluous quality as a painting. The wall at once feels lighter and more dramatic than one painted a solid accent color. There are a couple of techniques to achieve the look of the watercolor wall. One is the customary puddles of colors that fade in and out of saturation and swirl into each other. A second technique is ombre in which there is a gradation of a color's tone or two or more colors fade into each other. Yet, like any watercolor painting, the possibilities are endless.

Creating a watercolor wall is simple. Many custom wallpaper companies such as Pixers offer fanciful watercolor murals, but the great thing about the watercolor wall is that anyone can do it. DIYers can find kits at hardware and online retails like Watercolor Walls and tutorials at ehow. (The other great part is that if you feel like you’ve messed up, you can always paint over it.)

Here now are a few of my favorite watercolor walls (clockwise from top left):

1. A room with an ombre accent wall in Designer Guild’s Castellani Wallpaper line

2. Master bedroom designed by Robert Passal, photo by Michael Dweck

3. Sunny beach inspiration wall mural by Pixers

4. I couldn’t find any information on this wall, but all I know is that the image is from, and I love it!

5. Watercolor wallpaper by Black Crows Studio

6. And here’s another image of an amazing room whose source I could not find in the depths of Bodie and Fou.

1. Discover The Great Watercolor Artists Posted by Paul Heaston on May 24, 2013

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