Category Archives: watercolours

Paints and stuff

It’s a reflection of how the last few months have been that today, I finally got around to swatching out a paintbox which I bought in London on 8 September. The paintbox is an 18 pan quarterpan box from CassArt. They don’t say what paint is in there which is a pity; it would be nice to know whose paint they do use. I’d guess Daler Rowney though as their set looks almost identical.

Anyway, I don’t know why I wanted it only Shiny, I guess. I like the idea of the little quarterpan box; it’s an enamel box and I have carefully been avoiding buying it. I also own a lot of other paint boxes and mostly use my 12 pain (with three extra added) Sennelier box lately. The fact that it was there, and was instant gratification, was probably a factor.

I haven’t done any sketches with the little Cassart box though. I did manage to make a mess of it, ironically, while cleaning it after doing the swatching but past experience has taught me that’s no big deal.

Quarter pan set

You an see the swatch that comes with the box, plus the little swatch I did as well. There are a bunch of the colours which look a little different for me – the permanent rose and the viridian green for example – but I can see use I would get out fhtme. The Prussian blue is a bit deeper than I am used to with my Senneliers. The selection of colours is not bad at all.

The palette comes in a little case (to the left of the picture above) and a small sable brush which is a bit bigger than the travel brushes which Winsor & Newton include with the sketchbox.

I’m not totally sure what I am going to do with these though. It’s only ever going to be used for small stuff because the pans are so small; so more likely than not, things into the A6 sketchbooks, or postcards, or even the artist trading cards. But it’s probably too small for most of my brushes – I already struggle with the half pans in some cases.

For comparison, here are my three main commercially available small watercolour palettes:

Small watercolour boxes.

Clockwise from Left:

  1. Sennelier 12 half pan set with added quin gold, quin red and light yellow ochre.
  2. CassArt 18 quarter pan set, as delivered.
  3. Schmincke 8 half pan set – in fact I own this and the waterbottle version of this – colours as delivered.

The Sennelier is in my toolbox but my toolbox is causing me trouble as it has missed the original plan for being a toolbox – ie, being portable. The Schmincke is in a small travel kit with a couple of liners and pencils.

Quarter pans are not available so the question will be what I do with the 18 pan set if and when I get to use it – and the speed with which I am going through pans in the 12 pan set suggests this will not be long – the obvious answer is tubes. I own the Schmincke granulating tube set and I use tubes when I am painting with gouache. But I cannot see myself making a wholesale switch to tubes – I simply have too many paints in half pan format that I want, for environmental reasons, to start using.

Painting Paris

I went painting today. I need to get hold of the idea of putting these things up on flickr rather than instagram but I will get there. I pay for Flickr, after all.

Dream Paris

This was from today. It was inspired by a bunch of things in different colours which I saw on pinterest and so I decided to have a go, and there we are. I like it. This was in an A6 sketchbook which I use on and off as a sort of art journal but which has been neglected lately. But I like the idea and the result is, I will probably try and find time (difficult lately) to scale it up and do it in a wall framable size

There seems to be something about Sunday that causes some randomer on FaceBook to decide that today is the day they will troll a watercolour group on FaceBook. Today, we got lectures on how if you used masking fluid, you weren’t a master (well…) and it was cheating (well…) and it wasn’t really art (well…). It caused a lot of discussion, which could be summed up as “You’re a troll” and “You are so wrong, you are wronger than a wrong thing”.

People get irate quite easily on FaceBook. But I cannot blame them when someone wanders in, to put it mildly, to cause trouble in a special interest community. No one really cares for the most part whether you use masking fluid or not (well no one sensible anyway), and yet one person going on about how it isn’t art, and how you haven’t mastered watercolour (while not showing their work) can cause major hassle. I wonder how communities can guard against this, and whether it is really desirable. The question of masking fluid in watercolour is fairly meh, but really, a group of people who think that women should, for example, not be allowed have jobs, might benefit from being challenged a bit.

But that causes ructions too.

Anyway. to the above, the under drawing was down with a PIlot 0.3mm mechanical pencil, the line work was done using a unipin 0.03mm fineliner and the paint was mostly Quinacradone gold from my 12 pan (allegedly – it had twelve when I bought it but I think it now has 15 pans squashed in) Sennelier kit. The exceptions were a little quin red, French Ultramarine Deep for the windows, Paynes Grey and sepia or neutral for the rooves and probably alizeron crimison for the blinds. I used Molotow masking fluid to cover the windows while I painted the buildings. I like their pens and I don’t think I have enough spare so I’ll probably bulk buy them the next time I am in an art supplies shop that sells them.

The 0.03mm fineliner is new. Up until very recently, Unipin’s finest fineliner was 0.05. Copic had 0.03 which were finer, and I liked them for fur but my god they were fragile. You can buy replacement tips. which is handy enough.

The Unipins feel a bit more robust and today’s one at least was really well behaved for the paint. The colour feels a bit darker as well. I haven’t really had time to do a side by side test – I have very little free time and have not had much time to paint at all; the daily kraftbook diary sketch has had to go into catch up mode a lot lately (and I’m about to start a new one there again. I have two months’ supply or so). But at some point I will sit down and do a comparison of the 0.03s –

  • Unipin 0.03
  • Copic 0.03 (I think I have one)
  • Copic 0.03 SP (expensive Copic of which I have half a dozen)

and I might do a side by side comparison of those with whatever 0.05s which I have (definitely Unipin and Molotow) and the XS Faber Castell

Je t’aime

I’m a fan of the artwork of Pascal Campion on instagram, not necessarily because I like the basic techniques he uses, but because every single one of his pictures tells a story, and you can get a very strong feel for the story. I love it and while I haven’t done anything about it, I would, at some point, look at acquiring a print or two. I say the same about Iraville too. I will get this one when her shop is open again and if she makes it available.

Both are very different to the stuff I tend to do.

Anyway.

Today’s piece of work was a watercolour. I spent a lot of time thinking about this. In a way, I struggle with painting lately because I seem to need work space and I don’t always have it.

When I started painting I used to do it anywhere. Including bed. Watercolours in bed. Madness. I don’t do it any more, although that’s mostly because I don’t keep the art stuff by my bed any more. And I don’t use waterpens as often any more which means it’s a far riskier activity.

Anyway, here is today’s piece.

Watercolours

First the technical stuff – because I look for it so I assume other people probably will – I used Saunders Waterford rough white paper because it was the top of the pile of watercolour paper – and then for this version of it, I used Winsor & Newton Artists colours. The brushes are mainly an Escoda Number 8 and a Raphael Number 4. Not sure where I picked that up actually but it’s a nice size.

I did two versions of this and while it’s not so obvious in this version, I had a lot of trouble with the blue of the sea I used French Ultramarine which is a granulating colour and I struggle to control it. The first version, I used my beloved Sennelier paints. Second round I decided to have a go with the WNs. Neither was easier or so than the other and I seriously screwed up the sand above. So this painting will be redone at some point.

But it caused me to think about paints. I have a lot of watercolour media – the standard European paints, Japanese gouache, watercolour pencils, watercolour pastels. I will also buy an Inktense travel set whenever Derwent eventually start to sell them because their pencils are quite intense and travelsets tend to be easy to lug a