|This is my old repurposed Prang box, filled with colors of my choice and refilled whenever I like from tube paints.|
How about a nice how-to post this afternoon? We all love our gear, our art supplies, but I love to feel free to make my own combinations and choices. When you buy a palette or watercolor box with colors already in it, they may be what you want, they may not. In most cases, for me, the answer is most definitely not.
|I've posted this before...the first color, from the top, is lifted from the dry paint, the second after spraying with clear water. Quite the difference, eh?|
It’s really easy to do, and have the colors you want in your paint box...I believe it’s even a bit less expensive, too. I was told by one company that their paints weren’t meant to be used this way, they weren’t formulated to re-wet, but I say a resounding “nonsense!” I’ve been doing it for 40 years...
That said, some colors or brands DO re-wet more readily. Horadam Schmincke works well, as does Daniel Smith...but as I say, I’ve used Winsor & Newton for decades and they work beautifully for me.
You just need to spray with clear water a minute or so before beginning to paint. (Yes, that makes a huge difference, as you can see above.)
Lovely as M. Graham paints are, they tend NOT to set up well, under some conditions and in humid conditions, since they use honey as a binder. They may run or “drool” for you, as do other paints that use honey, so you may wish to reserve them for studio work unless you live in the desert. And mind you, your mileage may vary!
|Oh and further simplification...this little set went to live with an old friend...|
If your palette box already has divisions, you can just squeeze however much paint into each one that you want...fill them all the way, just put a dab, or fill halfway, it’s up to you--that's what I do with my folding plastic travel palettes, of course. If it’s a paint I use often, I tend to fill it up.
You can also buy empty half or full pans, made of plastic. They’ll either fit directly into your palette divisions, as in some of the older style of metal watercolor boxes, or you can stick them down with rubber cement or magnets, so you can re-position them.
Jerry’s Artarama has them: http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/painting-supplies/palettes/watercolor-and-fluid-media-palettes/empty-watercolor-pans.htm
Kremer Pigments has them here: http://www.kremerpigments.com/shopus/index.php?cat=14&lang=ENG&product=881011 (full pans)
http://www.kremerpigments.com/shopus/index.php?cat=14&lang=ENG&product=881012 (half pans)
Cheap Joe’s has them here: http://www.cheapjoes.com/art-supply/AJWC-WP_31126_american-journey-empty-full-pans-per-pack.asp (full pans)
Or try your local art supply store!
(The most difficult thing is figuring out how they’re listed on the site! “Empty full pans” sounds weird...)
Start in the corners first and then the middle...the paint will shrink as it dries. You may wish to fill partway, let it set up, then finish filling to minimize cracking.
Allow the paints to set up for at least 24 hours to several days, so they won’t travel when you take them out in the field.
Of course you CAN order pans already full and choose the colors you want--Holbein, Schmincke, Yarka, Kremer, Winsor & Newton and others offer these. Prices may range from just under $5 to around $15 or more for a half pan, depending on the pigment and the brand; and I prefer full pans anyway, so I can get a larger brush in there!
I love being able to reload again and again from a single tube of paint, AND to fill the pan with as much or as little as I want. If I'm just trying out a color, a little bit is good--if I'm trying to save on overall weight of my gear, that's an issue, too.
Give it a try, what have you got to lose? Particularly if you have tube paints on hand and a palette crying out to be filled and taken out in the field!
* I AM looking forward to Nick Neddo's new book, due out in early 2015, The Organic Artist: Make Your Own Paint, Paper, Pigments, Prints and More from Nature