Blue Anemone


When someone says, ” I’m a painter,” the first media that comes to mind is oil painting, for obvious reason. Oil painting has been around longer than other medium. But what do you call artists who paint in pen and ink with watercolor.  I was first introduced to it as pen and wash. However, the medium is also identified as pen and brush, brush and line, line and brush, brush and wash, watercolor and pen and ink, pen and ink with watercolor; I’ll stop here, you get the point. Let’s not forget our brother artists across the Atlantic who add a letter “u” to watercolour. These “descriptions” from many books on pen and wash.

When you ask an artist in pen and wash what kind of art they do, they would respond, “I paint in pen and wash, “or “I use watercolor and ink” or any other combination above. But this is a description, not a title. So they can’t say, “I am a . . .” I would tell my friends I paint in pen and wash. They would always ask me to explain and I would always say, “I would draw something in ink and then wash it over with watercolor – that’s pen and wash.” Then I would always get one of those, “Ooooooh.”

We have to come up with a name, a title. I doubt the guys who came up with lithographers, sculptors, oil painters and watercolorists aren’t around anymore. I guess we’ll have to do it ourselves.  How about: pen and washer, linear watercolorist, waterinkist, pen and wash painter and atrapingo (latin for ink and paint).I know they sound funny; we have to give it some time to sink in, like 5 to 10 years. I can imagine how the title, watercolorists, was first accepted. In fact, I wonder why the public didn’t call oil painters, oil paintists. Go figure.

I didn’t know it was going to be this hard to find a name for pen and wash artists. Until we find a title, I suppose we’ll have to stick to a description and get funny reaction from our friends, “Oh, you’re a painter? what kind? A what? What is that? Oh, I see. That’s nice. Can you paint my dog, Rufus?”