So far, I have not found the traditional watercolors to be nearly as transparent as Distress Markers and Water Based Inks, but I haven't tried nearly all of them. I'm simply trying to learn to use what I already have on hand. Since I am not doing Fine Art Paintings, I think the ones I currently have will be more than adequate. Again, these are my observations and opinions only. Everyone needs to use what works for them. I feel like traditional watercolors are just a bit milky and I prefer the transparent color of water based inks and distress markers.
I think Sakura Koi Tube Watercolors might be a good option to try, but I don't have any plans to purchase those. I'm fine with the options I already have. A method not explored so far in this class is using water based re-inkers to paint with. I have a few of these around in some of my more used colors like bright pink, some sea blues, a leafy green, a purple and a coral. To use these, just touch the dropper from a re-inker to your acrylic block and add a mist or some drops of water to dilute it to the strength of color you want. These are completely transparent. You can also use a solution of perfect pearls to add water and shimmer to the color and or to your card stock. I've also found that by using my reinkers, the color is in a shade I already like vs. a traditional pallet where I have to mix my own color or I have several colors that haven't been used at all. Since I don't come from an art background, mixing colors isn't as easy as it might seem. I seldom get the color I was going for, but watercolor is very inexpensive, so I haven't lost more than a penny or two.
Today's class used more traditional water colors and some that I was only made aware of fairly recently. I have a traditional watercolor set like the ones we used in grade school that is made by Loew Cornell. There are 36 different little cakes of color and you can always mix your own colors if you're in to that sort of thing. I am not, but I did mix some greens today. This set contained a purple, so that is what I went for today! I haven't swatched my watercolors yet, but I may consider doing this once class is completed.
Peerless Watercolors are completely new to me in the past month or two. These look a lot like paint chips but there's only one color to a small sheet. Most people swatch these and cut a 1 x 1 inch square of that color with the swatch for reference. When they run out of that color, they just cut another 1 inch square and put it in their swatch book. The color is extremely highly concentrated and activates instantaneously with a touch of a damp brush or a water brush. Just touching your damp brush to the "paint chip", you can take it directly to your watercolor paper and begin painting. You might want to consider a more permanent paint pallet for tube watercolors so you can mix your own colors. I use the same thing Kristina Werner does which is a laminated sheet of white card stock. Mine is about 5 x 8 inches which is good for the number of colors I normally use and you can get a really accurate picture of the color when it's on the white background. Mine has really thick lamination on it so I can run it under water to clean it off. If you could see how messy my studio is right now, you would know that I need sturdy because I have a tendency to push things aside when I am in the middle of a project.
There are things like watercolor cube trays with lids for anyone working on large scale items who need the same paint color through a work of art or who need to store or transport watercolor without it dripping everywhere. I seriously had no idea all of these accouterments existed! My grandmother taught herself to watercolor with the 99¢ crayola variety watercolors several (15 or 20) years ago. They didn't have much money, so that's what she used. Her grandmother was a semi-famous artist from Tulsa and it was something she wanted to learn so she did.
I have traditional watercolors in two different kinds (found here and here), Distress Markers, Watercolor Pencils and SU! Watercolor Wonder Crayons which aren't even available anymore. Simon Says Stamp has a set of 15 available here that includes a brush. As always, you can also use a Water Brush.
I have a few traditional brushes (Size 3, 4, 6 & 9 round) that mostly came in this set from Ranger that are fine quality for the things I am doing. I have just a couple of others including a size 2 script brush and one that is 3/4 of an inch wide for simple color stripes or washes. I tried both and for me, I think the Water Brush was easier with less drying time.
It's been so much fun this week to get to use supplies that I already have but didn't necessarily know how to use. I've learned so many techniques. I also learned that water color is far more about the impression of light, shadow and texture than about actually being able to draw well. For me, this class is a total winner.
I wanted to take a photo mid-process so that you could see my board that I tape watercolor paper onto, and how truly small an amount of color it takes for watercolor. Dawn Woleslagle, owner of WPLUS9, did a vintage storybook painting with the Unforgettable set that she designed and I have wanted to imitate it since then. I used traditional Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors for this. For the gray of the elephant and the ground around him, I used #20-Black with a whole lot of water. For the pink of the cheeks and inside the ears I used #32-Red. For the balloon I mixed the #50-Pale Aqua with a hint of #63-Persian Blue. Just four colors in total. The nice thing about this set is that you can remove the little pans of color to keep only what you are using near you. The rest of them can stay out of the way. The colors are highly concentrated pigments so I'm pretty sure I have enough paint here to last for the rest of my life and then some!
For this card, I stamped my images in SU! Smoky Slate and heat embossed in Simon Says Stamp Clear Embossing Powder. You have to work very quickly to be able to get any embossing powder on the super fast drying ink, but I did manage. That process makes watercolor simple for anyone, not just me. It helps keep the water where it should be and doesn't let it creep beyond the outline of the image. For me and watercolor to get along, this is a must do step! It also helps to choose an image that will be simple to paint or color. I have never really appreciated line images before now and I can't wait to check my stash to see other stamps that I can use.
I haven't completed a card yet, but I did use my Wink of Stella Glitter Brush Pen on the balloon. Today's class used Watercolor Pencils with Wink of Stella to color the images. I haven't tried that yet, but it's on my list to try this week.
There are still several mediums that haven't been explored in this class such as Brushos, Color Crystals, Dr. Ph. Martins Liquid Watercolors and I'm sure there are others that I've never heard of yet. If I haven't talked about it or mentioned it here, then I am not aware of it yet. I'm a card maker rather than an artist so I don't really need more options.
I had another class today so I'll be back with more insights and observations in my next blog post.