Tuesday, July 21

Watercolors - What to Consider

Watercolor paint products come in as many different types as watercolor artists and paint styles do. The thing to consider is that your success as a watercolorist can be determined by how 'good' your watercolor paints are.  Does this mean you must spend more than you can afford on the top of the line paints, go into debt over it, and wind up stressed which can show in your painting?  No! Definitely not. Watercolor paints can be found in brilliant pigments at any level and in all different price ranges. That's one reason I started this blog.  I used Windsor Newton paints, only, or Grumbacher for many years.  But, after my accident, I could no longer afford the many colors I wanted.  I know there are limited pallets that can give you the whole spectrum of the rainbow, but sometimes we just want to play with colors like Rose Madder, Dioxozine Violet, and Quinacrodone Gold.  (Spelling?!)

Us artists who've tried out the range - from inexpensive to top of the line - are good tip givers.  Here are the tips for keeping costs down and finding professional results.
1.  The Blick.com catalog - and maybe the website - lists out the grades of watercolors from Student to Professional by brand name so you can check if you are using pro or student grades.
2.  Professional grade relates to a processing of the paint - not neccesarily the quality of the pigments, and not the price, high or low.
3.  Pro looking pigments can be found at every level, and student grade paints can even be more expensive, sometimes.

My tips are these:

Prang watercolors - the set for kids is extra pigmented.  If you only have a few bucks to put to art supplies this month, you don't have to go without aweing yourself with brilliance while playing with your colors.

Shin Hua, found at Amazon.com, is a steal for 30 gorgeous colors - and the processing this brand uses makes them Pro level watercolors.

I struggled for a long time with Reeves watercolors.  I also don't recommend Artist's Loft for watercolor paints.  Maybe some of their other paints - I haven't yet tried them.  I do recommend their Watercolor Wax Pastels, though, with 24 vivid colors.  Just be sure to wet them first, for blending, not after you've created a beautiful drawing or background with them.

Watercolor Pencils are just as fun - and diverse - as watercolor paints.  There are many Youtube critiques on watercolor pencil brands, and if you are planning on investing in watercolor pencils, a look around before you buy will help you end up with a product you love and improves your art just by using them.  (You have to use them, or they don't work at all).  I recommend Inktense Watercolor Pencils by Derwent.  I also recommend reading Amazon reviews about art supply products.  There are often even photograph examples of the colors in use.

Shinhan Watercolors Artist Paint Tubes Set 30 Colors 7.5ml Each
Prang Oval Pan Watercolor Set, 16 Classic Colors with No. 9 Brush (16000)
Derwent Drawing Pencils, Inktense, 4mm Core, Metal Tin, Watercolor, 24 Per Pack (0700929)

Here are some other supplies for watercolorists - new to painting up through professional

My watercolorist bag of tricks includes salt!!  Rock salt (found in the grocery store's spice aisles, used for making ice cream and texturing backgrounds), coarse sea salt (same place), and sand brought home from a salt-water beach works for texturing.

70% alcohol makes a great effect.  Try it with an eyedropper, spritz on with an old toothbrush, or dip in a paint brush and hit it against another paint brush for snow like droplets in your watercolor background.

Masking Fluid - or Frisket
Masking Tape
Cling Wrap or a torn plastic grocery bag
Paper towels, Toilet tissue, are just a few items from around the house that can add texture and new uses in your watercolors.

Watch, here, to see the effect when I use an old candle with watercolor paints:
Batik with Watercolor on Paper

Watch some of these household items and masking fluid with watercolor paint:
Easiest Clouds with Watercolor

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