|Chateau by Joseph Mallord William Turner|
|Alpine Scene by Turner|
|After the Hurricane by Winslow Homer|
Some people think they know what a watercolor should look like but a painting executed in water media can look anyway the artist wants it to look.
|Crayfishing by Carl Larsson|
|Watercolor by Paul Cezanne|
|Turtle by Lian Zhen|
From the New World Encyclopedia on line:
Watercolor, also known in French as aquarelle, is named for its primary component. It consists of a pigment dissolved in water and bound by a colloid agent (usually a gum, such as gum arabic); it is applied with a brush onto a supporting surface, such as vellum, fabric, or—more typically—dampened paper. The resulting mark (after the water has evaporated) is transparent, allowing light to reflect from the supporting surface, to luminous effect. Watercolor is often combined with gouache (or "bodycolor"), an opaque water-based paint containing a white element derived from chalk, lead, or zinc oxide.
The technique of water-based painting dates to ancient times, and belongs to the history of many cultures in the world. In the West, European artists used watercolor to decorate illuminated manuscripts and to color maps in the Middle Ages, and to make studies from nature and portrait miniatures during the Renaissance. When the Western world began to mass produce paper, the medium took on a whole new dimension of creativity.
The advantages of watercolor lie in the ease and quickness of its application, in the transparent effects achievable, in the brilliance of its colors, and in its relative cheapness.