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Watercolor painting is a painting method. A watercolor is either the medium or the resulting artwork. 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.
Carl Larsson, Crayfishing, watercolor, 1897.
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 main group elements of the periodic table are groups 1, 2 and 13 through 18. Elements in these groups are collectively known as main group or representative elements. These groups contain the most naturally abundant elements, comprise 80 percent of the earth's crust and are the most important for life. Economically the most produced chemicals are main group elements or their compounds. It is in the main group elements that we most clearly see the trends in physical and chemical properties of the elements that chemists have used to understand the "stuff" things are made of.