Toroazul Painting and Fine Arts
Is Rome a "watercolor" city?
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"Rome is not a watercolor city" but rather one meant to be drawn and painted in
charcoal and pastel. So says an architect and drawing professor whose pastels AND
watercolors of The City I admire very much!

When I came to Italy, as a professor also, in August 2008, I had not worked in
watercolor for quite some time. In fact, charcoal, color pencil, and pastel had been
lifelong favorite mediums of mine. So, while I
wanted to put my colleague's curious
tenet to the test, it took me a while!

Watercolor is arguably one of the most challenging of the traditional painting
mediums, mainly because of its instantaneous drying time. In addition, one must not
apply white paint -- but use the
white of the paper surface and let the painting
"breathe," as it were, in the process. This rules out moving backwards and making
radical changes, as one might make in oil or the dry mediums previously mentioned.
In essence, to paint a watercolor that has elegance and focus -- the artist must be
about three steps ahead of the actual paint application (foreseeing clearly what he
does and does not want to paint) and at the same time the artist must be
open to the
unexpected, spontaneous surprises of the water medium!
Well, it turns out that one of the most fortunate friendships I have made in Rome
since I arrived, that of artist Alicia Taboada, has helped me explore the
Rome/watercolor question. One day after looking at my Rome sketchbook of pencil
drawings, Alicia exclaimed: "Your thing is
line, Jose. Forget color!" And she went on
to explain about how colors can drown out the drawing or distort the equilibrium of
a drawn form, in much the same way that too heavy a line result in the misreading
of a form's relative size, texture, or place in a composition. Anyway, together with
my colleague prof's categorical dismissal of the use of watercolor in Rome, Alicia's
admonitions essentially made me go to war over this issue and to explore the
watercolor medium's place not only in the Italian landscape but in my own work!

Leonardo da Vinci says in his notebooks that its is imperative for artists to see and
critique each other's works in order to raise standards of excellence and inspire each
other to work ever better and better in their field. I owe Alicia, an extremely gifted
and outspoken artist from Mendoza, Argentina, lover of Rome and Italy like myself,
and my other friend, the disbelieving watercolorist, whose body or work of Roman
cityscapes is both beautiful and sound, the beginning steps of my return to

CLICK HERE to view several other works of mine in this medium from a
recent trip to the region of Puglia. Or
CLICK HERE for a continuation of this topic.D
Back to Italy Drawings and Watercolors Index page
Temple entrance
from Imperial Forum
watercolor  16 " x  12 "
Temple of Saturn -- Roman Forum
watercolor  8 " x  11 " 2009
Temple of Augustus
watercolor  12 " x  16 " 2009
View from
Aventino Hill
watercolor  8 " x  11 "