The use of watercolour has been associated with England for several hundred years. However, it dates back even further in the history of European painting. In the Middle Ages pigments were made from the earth and vegetable fibres that were then ground into powder and bound with gum or egg. These were applied to vellum (animal skin) to decorate manuscripts, paint religious scenes as well as to illustrate capital letters and create ornamental borders.
By the 17th century watercolours began being used to paint a wider range of subjects particularly landscapes where artists found them a versatile medium to use due to their portability. One of the most famous watercolour painters in history is J.M.W turner whose imposing scenes adorn the walls of galleries all around the world.
Today, watercolour paint is available in a pan or in tubes in a wide range of colours. Artists use this medium mixed to different consistencies dependent on the effect they are wanting to achieve. Watercolour paints create some amazing effects and often this occurs when the paint is allowed behave freely on the page. The paint is also easily controlled particularly if the paper or canvas is dry.
Watercolour is a great medium to experiment with but unless you are using canvas it is always better to use watercolour paper or card. The reason for this is that the amount of water used would make thinner paper curl and buckle, making it almost impossible to work on with any accuracy. It is always good to get some practise first on scraps of paper.