Category Archives: Watercolor

Blanket Flowers and Flip-Flops

gallardiaphoto© Jessica Wesolek 2014

It certainly is time for some catching up, isn’t it?

I thought I would do that, and share a little garden beauty with you.

I love and hate this time of year. Love because the garden is at its peak of glory after a season of pampering, and hate because that season is coming to an end in another month or so. Continue reading

Prints Charming . . .

Casita-Studio “Santa Fe Studio with Picture Window” © 2014 Jessica Wesolek

I didn’t quite meet my challenge to create six paintings this week. I only made it to four so far, but so many good things have come of the effort, that I’m not even disappointed about it.

I have gotten my garden room cleaned up and set up as a working watercolor studio.

I have unearthed all the wonderful tubes of paint that have been waiting such a long time for me to come back to them, and I have spent a LOT of time painting.

Because of a puppy dog tummy ache, we got up at 5am yesterday, and I painted for 4 hours before going down to the gallery.

Found out that early morning is a wonderful time to make art – putting it first before anything else but coffee (and dog walking, of course).

I love the studio in the painting above and wish mine was that pristine.

One of the really fun things is incorporating some of the style details that are so unique to Santa Fe, like saltilllo (sal-tee-o) tile floors and vigas (vee-ga) and latillas (la-tee-ya).

The vigas are the large telephone pole-like beams that go through the walls and hold up the ceiling.

Latillas are the smaller sapling logs that cover the ceiling on top of the vigas.

When I have my Santa Fe Retreats, this is the stuff that charms the chile (yes – spelled with an “e”) out of my students because it is so “arty” and fun to sketch. I can still fit a couple people into the September Retreat if anybody else wants to come see for themselves.

Here is a little “reading room” I painted with a Kiva (kee-va) fireplace in it . . .

Casita-Kiva-Fireplace“Casita with Kiva Fireplace” © 2014 Jessica Wesolek

Kiva fireplaces are patterned after horno ovens (orno) which are adobe brick ovens, usually outside, in which the Pueblo people bake bread. They look something like this . . .hornooven

First, you build a fire in the oven in the early morning. When the kindling burns away, you clean out the ashes, put your loaves of bread inside on pieces of stone (so they don’t get sooty) and the retained heat in the adobe bricks bakes the bread. Makes you appreciate our oven’s pre-heat feature, doesn’t it?

I have eaten bread freshly baked in an horno when visiting a friend at one of the local pueblos. It was really delicious and different.

I have never seen a fireplace like this in any kiva (ceremonial room), so who knows how that name came about.

And my fourth painting this week was an outside view . . .

The-Note“The Note” © 2014 Jessica Wesolek

Many exterior patios and porches are flagstone or brick. This time, you see the ends of the vigas sticking out through the adobe wall.

And we also have a chile ristra (ree-stra). Fresh picked chiles are bound together and hung on an outside wall or portal (porch) to dry. The cook then grabs one from the ristra whenever needed.

Blue doors and gates are considered good luck and they are thought to ward off evil.

This morning, I built a web page for my prints, and put them in the Shopping Cart . . .

http://www.cre8it.com/artprints.html

You can see all four paintings together, and you can purchase the prints.

Thank you so much to those who purchased the first print last time.

It is really fun to share the style and culture of Santa Fe with you – and it’s REALLY fun to be painting again!

Wonderful Watercolor

4wellsEverybody loves watercolor.

Now, before you start thinking that you don’t because of how difficult it is, and what a mess you can make if you don’t know what you are doing, here’s more what I am thinking.

Everybody at least loves to look at watercolor.

There is something so wonderful about all those brilliant colors tucked in a box like candy – eye candy for sure.

And watercolor is the most portable of paint mediums so it is very popular with sketchbook and journal people.

And it’s transparent so any white page is going to backlight it and make the color even more beautiful.

But watercolor is fickle.

It is not something you can throw around casually like you can some other types of paint because it has a mind of its own, because it demands respect.

Watercolor is NOT too difficult if you just take the time to understand it. Because it has a mind of its own, it demands that you give it the respect it deserves, or it will punish you by making a nice mess.

Brand and Quality Really Matter

With acrylic paints, and even oils, you can go a long way with student brands and not get in too much trouble. With little exception, even inexpensive brands behave well enough. They may not last or hold their color over a long period of time, but when you are painting with them, you pretty much get what you expect.

Not so with watercolor.

The pigment load (how much color is in it), staining and lifting qualities, flow and blending results vary tremendously between cheap student brands and more expensive professional brands.

For this reason, when learning watercolor, you are much better off with just a few tubes or pans of good quality paint than lots of colors of a cheap brand. You can mix most colors from just red, blue, and yellow, in fact.

And even among high end brands, there are very noticeable differences in behavior. These are not good and bad differences, however, because all the big brands are great, and only someone with lots of experience would notice the differences.

Most practicing watercolorists have favorite brands based on how the paint behaves in their own working style.

These are some very good brands, and the difference between them is a matter of personal preference (what works best for the way you do things).

Winsor-Newton, Daniel Smith, Schmincke-Horadam, Maimeri Blu, Holbein, Old Holland, Sennelier, and M. Graham.

Most artists have one or two favorite brands, and a few tubes of other brands in special colors that are not available in their favorite brand.

All brands can be used together in the same painting and mixed together on your palette.

After 40+ years of being a professional watercolorist, my favorite brands were Schmincke, Winsor & Newton, and some Daniel Smith.

When we were in Tubac for the retreat in March, I realized I had forgotten my tube of Yellow Ochre, which was absolutely necessary for painting adobe walls.

There is just one small art supply store in Tubac, and they carry just one brand of paint – one I had never tried – M. Graham. Their claim to fame is using blackberry honey as a binder.

Because I had no choice, I bought a tube.

After that, it was a good thing that art supply store was only a half block away from the inn, because I bought five more tubes.

I could not believe that a watercolor brand could be that different!

2greenwellsThe paint is ultra creamy and stays moist so it wets instantly.

There is so much pigment that you need to use very little paint.

It blends like heaven, and lifts beautifully.

LUSCIOUS  is the best word I can think of.

I came home from the retreat and starting filling out my palette – 33 tubes so far . . . and counting.

I got the best pricing by buying sets on Amazon:

M. Graham Watercolor Sets

This is hands-down my favorite, and because it is so different, it makes my “Most Amazing Art Supplies of the 21st Century” list. So far, we have Inktense and M.Graham Watercolors on the list.

I needed a new palette, so I got this one from Amazon

closedpaletteThey have 6 left in stock, more on order . . . ($23.39 – Prime Shipping)

Martin Mijello  33 Well Palette

Open, it looks like this . . .

openpaintboxThe trays lift out, so you have three big mixing palettes if you need them.

I keep my watercolors this neat by doing all my mixing on a separate palette. Some folks like a big messy, muddy palette, but I much prefer pure color – to look at and to use!

Looking at a box of color like this makes my heart leap.

But, it takes more than a beautiful paintbox to make beautiful watercolor paintings.

You also have to know what you are doing. You know what you are doing by learning all about what to expect from this medium and adjusting for it. Because watercolor is doing its own thing while you are trying to make it do your thing, it’s a lot like trying to herd kittens.

There is VERY LITTLE adequate watercolor instruction available for beginners, although there are hundreds of books and workshops on the subject.

Many of those books and workshops have great tips and techniques and sample paintings. Some even have step-by-step, but they are more like “leap-by-leap” instead, leaving the beginner wondering how on earth step B got to Step C. And forget about Step D!

And half of every book is devoted to introducing supplies and materials, providing a bunch of information the beginner is not ready for until they get their brush wet, so to speak.

What you really need is something that tells you to “do this” and then “do that” and “here’s what happens” when you do.

I wrote a workshop like that, and I think it’s the best beginner workshop there is.

You learn how the paint behaves and why, and exactly what you need to do – and why. And even how your own studio environment affects what you can expect from your watercolor.

If I had to rank my workshops according to progress made by the students who have taken it so far, this would be right up at the top.

Read lots more about it here:

Watercolor for the Journal and Sketchbook

Summer is an awesome time for learning watercolor and painting in your little Nature Sanctuary.

I Want to Be An Artist When I Grow Up . . .

yardwork I said that to Mark this morning before he left for the gallery.

He gave me one of “those” looks, but I think he really does know what I mean by that.

I have not been “being an artist” because I have been mostly “being” a business woman and teacher of art. My focus has been on your art, not mine. That’s a weird thing, but it’s true.

During this time of soul searching, I am also searching other people’s blogs, and finding that many of the most widely followed artist’s blogs concentrate on the artist’s own work, and story, and progress and process.

I am not talking about craft and DIY blogs here – they are full of teaching, and they are directed at hobby artists for the most part.

I am talking about the blogs written by practicing artists who are creating and showing and selling their artwork.

That term “practicing” artist is one that I will want to explore sometime soon. It’s a very interesting term when you think about it.

I honestly don’t think that I would be any less interesting of a blogger if I talked about my own story. In fact, statistics show that my tutorial posts get fewer comments than the ones that are about “story”.

There are two things that get said to me all the time.

One is a question: Where do you get your ideas?

The other is a statement: I wish I could follow you around for a day to see how you do what you do.

And maybe that is what this blog should be about.

So, here’s my interesting story for today . . .

Something has happened to my art journaling process.

I have always embraced a couple of ideas about art journaling that play into this change.

My journals are “illustrated” journals based on drawing and watercolor.

I can take as long as it takes to finish a page. I have given myself permission to do that because it’s the only thing in my life these days that is not in a hurry. There is no hurry in my journals, and if I want something perfect, I will take the time to make it perfect.

To that end, I thank my iPad for its help. I ALWAYS shoot a reference photo, even when painting from life, because, by the time I finish the page, the subject will likely be changed or gone altogether – Orchids in the studio for example.

I recently ran into a new brand of watercolor (new to me), and I will share all about that in another post. I fell in love so hard that I went from owning 1 tube, to 33 tubes in one month.

And these watercolors used in the Stillman & Birn Beta and Zeta sketchbooks is something like heaven.

So, what I realized is that I have been creating some of my “real” art in my journals – instead of just preliminary studies.

This creates a big question – how do I sell them?

The originals are not going anywhere because they are in my journal and you would have to tear my arm off to get me to tear a page out.

I am going to have to sell reproductions of these paintings.

That’s ok.

I am a big fan of prints, actually. I think it allows art to be owned by people who can’t afford to own originals, and that’s a good thing.

But, in my opinion, the reproductions can’t be mass produced if they are going to hold their value as art. The artist must produce the reproduction and even sign the prints – the signature should not be printed.

Making a good reproduction is not an easy thing as those of you who have tried it know. You need archival ink and archival paper and you have to get that paper to go through the printer. And there is sizing and trimming and a bunch of other concerns.

But the end result is still a product of the artist’s hands and it’s worth the trouble.

My latest paintings are of strange neighborhoods.

I live in a strange neighborhood to begin with.

And I LOVE houses in art. Not the fancy detailed ones, but the ones that look like a grown-up version of the ones we drew in first grade.

European artists depict houses that have a mystery to them, and I love that. It keeps the houses from being too “cute”. I have been fighting my “cute” gene all my life.

In the ’80s, I was registered with the SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) as a Surrealist, which is definitely what I still am for the most part – even though I love painting realistic flowers.

So, painting “strange” neighborhoods is right up my alley.

My true love is narrative art. There is a story in the painting, and I love to figure out what it is. Even in my own paintings, I have to figure out what it is, because I don’t know what’s going on either.

Also, like Rene Magritte, I think titles are an important part of the work. His titles didn’t necessarily make sense, but mine usually do – and give you a clue to the story. The titles just show up at some point while I am creating the painting.

It’s like a voice says: “Here is the title. Figure this one out.”

I am showing you my two latest paintings today. Both were done in watercolor in my Stillman & Birn Beta Sketchbook, so both will be sold as reproductions and I will share that process with you too, as I go through it.

Both paintings are part of a series called “Strange Neighborhoods”. That’s another thing I often do – paint in series.

The painting at the top of the post is called “Gathering” and your guess is as good as mine what that means. Whatever it means to you is what it means.

This one is called “Mending Fences” . . .

mendingfencesAgain, you can make up your own story.

I think that is the weirdest fence I’ve ever seen anyone put up, and somebody is sending somebody a message. And, it’s not like they won’t be running into each other. But, I’m not sure whats going on exactly.

I have to admit I love this series, and may even try to make those houses in glass one of these days.!

Painting Orchids . . .

orchid2You may remember my excitement about buying and trying my first Orchids from Trader Joes back in December of 2012 (See this post).

I took good care of them – all five that I ended up buying. I repotted them in Orchid mix fed them, and kept them in the garden room all year.

This Spring, I have been rewarded by three of the five re-blooming.

All this time, I thought they were three different types of orchids even though they all had the same leaf (I can be pretty dense sometimes). The flowers were different colors, so they were different, right?

No.

That is the really great thing about drawing – you really SEE something. So, I finally realized that the structure of the flowers was identical, and these are actually the same type orchid - phalaenopsis orchids – the easiest kind to care for.

Above is the page I painted in my Stillman & Birn Beta journal.

The Orchids posed for me and were stellar models . . . compare this one to the top orchid on the page . . .

orchidmodel0The painting is a little less white than it should be, but that is because I hadn’t figured something out yet. This one is on the right of the middle group . . .

orchidmodel1And it turned out much more true to the actual color, and so did its pal on the left . . .

orchidmodel2

orchiddetail

Because I discovered how the use of white watercolor could help.

This was not a DUH! moment. It was an AHA! moment. Here’s why:

You just don’t use white paint in watercolor. You use the paper color to keep whites. You add small bits of shadow colors to model the white flower or whatever.

But, when you work in a small journal format, it is very difficult to blend your subtle shading with water and keep it from tinting the white paper. It just flows too easily.

HOWEVER . . . if you paint the flower petal first with an opaque white – like Titanium white, the added color around the edges etc. does not flow easily, but rather, blends softly into the still wet white. It’s a wet into wet technique just like the other method, but the Titanium white is thicker and creamier, so it slows everything down and makes blending so easy.

This was a lovely discovery and will really help with my flower painting from now on.

Finally, my third model was a greenish color – which was challenging to match. . .

orchidmodel3I used my newly discovered technique on it as well. The painted version is the bottom one on the page above.

I seem to be attracted to botanical realism lately. I know I won’t give up my goofy art or my surrealism, but there is a lot of pleasure in trying to duplicate shapes and colors as they are.

It’s a beautiful Spring Sunday, and I have promised myself that my garden clean-up will be greatly advanced by the end of it. So, off I go . . .

Have a great Sunday.

 

The Leaf Test . . .

leaftestI had seen Cathy Johnson use a water soluble pencil line in her watercolor sketching a few times, and Jane LaFazio using a water soluble marker in her recent Sketchbook Skool lesson.

The idea is to outline your drawing with the soluble lines, and then paint inside the shape with a wet brush or water brush to dissolve some of the line into a sort of automatic shading.

I had tried this a few times before, but had not given the idea a real workout.

No time like the present . . .

I like the look in black & white, but I was more interested in how this trick would work as an underpainting for watercolor.

The tricky part would be to add a wash or glaze over the shading without moving it around too much or polluting the glaze color.

So, I thought of Inktense pencils, because once wet and dried, they are supposed to be permanent. This is a relative thing of course, because if you haven’t actually wet the Inktense thoroughly, it is still soluble.

(I learned more than I ever even wanted to know about Inktense when writing my Inktense Soup to Nuts Workshop, and you can too. If you are intrigued by these pencils, check it out.)

It turned out that in a smaller space, if the whole area got wet, the Inktense would dry into a flat wash, but if you left a white area in the middle of a larger space, you could get nice modeling.

inktenseleaf1And it turned out that my favorite result came from painting a watercolor glaze over the dried Inktense shading . . .

inktenseleaf2But, I did make some other interesting discoveries, and I will give you a close look at them here.

My least favorite leaf resulted from outlining with a Koi Brush marker. They are rich and juicy, and very hard to control once you wet them. Over painting then made a real mess . . .

koileafThis isn’t horrible or anything, but not subtle either!

Because graphite is somewhat water soluble, I tried a #2 pencil with this technique and then overpainted with a watercolor wash.

Subtle, but I think a little too subtle . . .

no2leafFinally, I discovered something really interesting about some inexpensive markers I had been using to paint some wildflower illustrations last summer.

They are called Fibracolor, come from Italy and cost only about $22 for 100 at Amazon.

I think I like them the best of any water soluble marker for this painting technique.

Anyway, we all know black is made up of many colors (all colors if you’re talking pigment).

This shading technique brought out the colors in the black marker and made things very interesting . . .

fibracolorLook even closer . . .

fibradetailI just love that!

This test was done in my Stillman & Birn Beta Sketchbook.

I hope you have learned something useful from my little leaf test. I certainly did!

Creative Process, Part 2

leafdrawingWhenever I create, I watch myself carefully to note the steps I take.

This practice comes from being a life-long teacher. How can you explain how to do something if you aren’t keeping track of the steps?

I am always trying to improve my teaching by making it more and more simple and easy to understand, so I have come up with several methods of art instruction over the years, and my newest is most closely aligned with how creative process actually works.

I was sketching and painting Wildflowers last Summer – meandering from one thing to another along the creative path of that, when it struck me that this very thing I was doing, was the best way for someone to learn to draw and paint.

I learned long ago, in the process of teaching PhotoShop, that it is a more effective thing to learn what is necessary to the task at hand, and put it to use immediately – than to learn “all about” each part of a process and then try to store that knowledge for when you actually need it in the future.

That last sentence was very wordy, but I think you know what I mean.

So, while sketching my Wildflowers, I was thinking how much fun it would be to teach drawing like that – just meandering from one thing to another, and asking the students to just follow along – step-by-step.

In the process of drawing and painting one thing, you may learn a little bit about perspective, a little bit about shading, a little bit about watercolor and color usage – but not EVERYTHING about all those things.

Just enough to get that flower done nicely.

Of this was my Sketch Journal One Workshop born. It  was a great success, and is now a self-paced WHENEVER workshop.

On February 15, I will launch Sketch Journal Two to continue the journey.

It will pick up from where we left off and continue with 15 more lessons over a 30 day period.

My biggest challenge has been to explain to you how fun and effective these workshops are – without actually showing you.

Seeing is believing after all.

So, FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, I am sharing an actual, complete lesson from the Sketch Journal One workshop – FREE for everyone.

I chose a lesson which demonstrates how easy it is to draw an ordinary thing, and how many little pieces of art knowledge you pick up in the process. Of course, some of the knowledge was presented in the lessons preceding this one, but you will be able to follow along just fine.

AND to sweeten the pie even more, I have put the workshop on Special for the rest of January – $15 off the $65 tuition!

To make this  more fair to students who already took Sketch Journal One at full tuition, I am extending the same discount on Sketch Journal Two if you register during January.

That discount is in the Shopping Cart here:

http://www.cre8it.com/category/Online-Workshops-130

AND anybody feeling that they will probably want to take both workshops, can purchase both during January for the reduced tuition.

Without further ado, here is Lesson 10 from Sketch Journal One. I hope you have a lot of fun with it:

http://www.wisdomwoman.com/whatever/?page_id=1963

If you want to learn to draw and paint – particularly for the sake of your art journal, this is the workshop for you. If you know how to draw and paint, but want new idea starters, tips, and incentive, this workshop is for you also.

Sketch Journal One, Drawing and Painting for the Art Journal and Sketchbook.

 

 

Art Journaling at Walmart . . .

lynnwalmart

Lynn Pauly fell in love with Santa Fe during the Art Journaling Retreat last month, and has already come back for a visit!

We had a field trip planned to the little town of Madrid, and a good place to meet up was the Walmart parking lot near the highway.

When we pulled in, Lynn was sitting on her camp stool working in her art journal. Something about this just struck me so funny. You come all the way to Santa Fe to journal because it is such an unusual and exotic paradise for artists, and you end up journaling at Walmart!? What kind of hostess am I?

At least, it’s an adobe version of Walmart – vigas and all. (Vigas are those big logs that stick out at the top of traditional adobe walls.)

I was excited to see some of Lynn’s finished pages from the retreat. They are really great, so I will share a few with you . . .

Lynn1

We drew some of our art supplies at the beginning of the retreat, and Sandy Bartholomew, CZT extraordinaire, did a whole ebook on the common design elements found in Santa Fe, which she gifted to our students. Lynn’s right page is embellished with some of those design elements.

Sandy’s book, The Tangles of Santa Fe is available for purchase and download here:

The Tangles of Santa Fe

It’s a wonderful book – check it out.

Here’s Lynn’s sketch of the Horno at the Pecos Historic Park. An Horno is a traditional oven which is still used by Pueblo people today for baking bread. Lynn loved being quiet and alone with the history of the moment, and what a gorgeous spread!

Lynne2

Here’s a spread of an afternoon on the Santa Fe Plaza, which is the center of downtown. There is always lots going on . . .

Lynne3

I love layouts like this, where so much information is artfully arranged in one space. Here is a detail close-up so you can see how complex this is . . .

Lynne4detail

And here’s a spread dedicated to an unusual variation of a treat we all love . . .

Lynne5

Yes, they put Chile in chocolate here.

I commend Lynn on creating a fabulous journal that truly captures the moments.

So, we met in the Walmart parking lot and headed off for lunch – at a very amusing place called the San Marcos Cafe. It is located next door to a feed store along what is called the Turquoise Trail, and is as rustically charming as can be.

Part of the charm comes with their big cinnamon rolls, and another part is the fact that Peacocks and Turkeys wander freely on the grounds. Like this guy . . .

Peacock

Betsy decided to share a bite of her cinnamon roll with a couple of turkeys who happened by . . .

betsybirds1

And then another couple came along . . .

betsybirds2

OK – some for them too. And then . . .

betsybirds3

She better grab a bite for herself before it’s too late!

betsybirds4

Lynn figures we ought to document this.

betsybirds5

We don’t even have a final count, but when they chased Betsy back to the van . . .

runningbirds

We knew it was time to get out while we could. A couple of these cinnamon-sugar-crazed whackos tried to get IN the van. Shades of Alfred Hitchcock!

More adventures in paradise to come.

REMINDER . . .

Sketch Journal One online workshop starts tomorrow. You can start from the beginning, or join this workshop in progress anytime during the following month. If you want to have a lot of fun learning to draw and paint in your journals, this one’s for you!

Sketch Journal One

 

Click here to receive an email notice of each new Whatever post.

Magnetic Watercolor Box

3pans

I have been a watercolorist for 40+ years.

For many of those years, I used nothing but tube watercolors, painted only in my studio, and only on 300 lb Arches watercolor paper.

Seven years ago, I began painting in art journals and everything changed. Moleskine sketchbook pages were smaller – and did not handle moisture that well. Portability became a big thing  - whether I was painting in the garden or sitting on a knee wall on Canyon Road, or on a rock in some National Park.

So, I switched to half pans.

As is my wont and weakness, I collected and tested every pan watercolor known to woman, and began the quest for the perfect portable paintbox.

If you have followed this blog for a long time, you have been privy to some of that.

Like HERE: http://www.wisdomwoman.com/whatever/?p=404

and HERE: http://www.wisdomwoman.com/whatever/?p=340

Never satisfied!

So one day, while reading the Artist Journal Workshop blog (where I am a contributor), I came across a post about a wonderful little magnetic paintbox in a business card case, created by expeditionary artist, Maria Coryell-Martin . . .

magnetic palette

These are wonderful, they cost $28 and you can buy them from Maria here:

Maria Coryell-Martin

The bottom of the case is magnetic and the pans can be rtearranged. The inside of the cover serves as a palette of sorts, and you fill the pans yourself from tubes.

I bought two and I love them for carrying along some very esoteric colors that are not part of my everyday palette.

But they are tiny (business card size), and I also have many already filled half pans that are way too expensive to abandon. There just had to be a way to apply this idea to my bigger palette.

I bought a package of those business card size adhesive magnetic sheets at an office supply store, and I cut a piece to fit the bottom of all my half pans. You can see how that looks here . . .

labelhalfpans

Winsor & Newton and some other pre-filled half pans come with the color name printed on the sides or bottom of the pan. My favorite brand, Schmincke, does not, so I wrote the color on the outside of each pan with permanent marker. Of course, any pans you fill yourself will have to be labeled as well.

Empty half pans are sold at a reasonable price at Daniel Smith.

Half pans in a metal paintbox are usually held in place with metal tabs which are a pain, in my opinion. But that insert lifted right out of the Schmincke box I was using, so I just put the half pans, now magnetic, back in the plain metal bottom of the box.

And, I did a journal page about it . . .

magpalettepage

I was able to add more pans than the box had been holding with its tabs, and this worked fine for awhile.

Two things were bothering me, however. The colors were so crowded in the box that I kept slopping some of one onto the next, and I could rearrange the colors, but it was hard to get hold of the edge of the pans – especially when the paint was wet.

Well, three things, actually. I also wanted more room because I wanted to add more colors! There it is again – that color oinky syndrome. We all gotta have a syndrome of some kind, right?

I wanted a metal box that was not aluminum (magnets won’t stick), AND that was very thin so it would slip in my journaling bag (show you later) with my journal and iPad.

Just thick enough for the height of the half pans, but no thicker.

Off to the art supply store I went to look at colored pencil sets that come in tins.

You can get them for about $6 and the 12 pencil set is just the right size.

However, I found that if the bottom of the box had any indents, which many of them do, you can’t move the pans around as easily, nor fit as many.

This Prismacolor box was perfect . . .

prismacolor

It was not inexpensive (about $25), but I used a coupon, and I will put the pencils in a pencil case and sell them in my gallery as a set. So, not as wasteful as it might at first seem. If you don’t have a store and don’t need the colored pencils, they would make a great gift for an artist friend in a decorated pencil cup!

This box is the perfect size and the bottom is absolutely flat.

Here are the same pans that were jammed into that Schmincke box . . .

new-metal-box

I can slide them around and group them into any set I might be working with at the moment.

I can get hold of them easily to lift them and read the color if need be, and I can put space between them so I don’t slop one into the other.

AND there’s lots of room to add more colors – as long as I leave plenty of sliding room.

The cover also serves as an easily washable mixing palette.

And, an extra benefit – the palette can sit in its own cover, making a neat little unit. Those hinged covers flopping around drive me nuts. (It’s not a long drive.)

I have been using this for about two weeks now, and I can’t imagine a more perfect solution.

But, who knows. There could be something better to imagine out there some day.

For the moment – I am very happy.

Have a great Sunday.

 

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