Friday, April 12, 2013

Watercolor Playtime!

It's a great coincidence that the Sargent watercolor exhibit opened in Brooklyn recently and that I have been investing a lot of time in getting the perfect collection of watercolor paint. It all changed last October after my visit to St. Maarten, where sunshine, water and sand inspired me to work with it.
I enjoyed doing plein air in watercolor so much that I decided that I needed to do this more often! It's funny how one thing leads to another, just before my trip to St. Maarten I enrolled in a workshop that will take place in Cortona, Italy, this June. The focus of that trip will be on egg tempera and plein air painting in watercolor. Now you see where I'm going with all this?
After coming back form St Maarten I began to get my color sets ready, spending a lot of time looking at different colors and brands and figuring out what would work best for me. My starting point were my Kremer watercolor sets, which I took apart and divided the colors into blues and greens, yellow-reds, and earth tones.
As a birthday gift I received an empty watercolor box so that I could fill with new colors for my trip. All this led to nights of putting new sets together and creating labeled color charts...organization is a must for me, at least when it comes to studio practices!
I haven't had this much fun in a long time! Having little pans of watercolor all over my counter was like being in a candy land.
Creating the color charts was fun, I was able to test new colors, some very transparent, some very opaque, and a few that were very gritty. Most colors I purchased from Kremer Pigments, I believe them to have some of the richest colors out there and I like the fact that they are full sized pans at a reasonable price.  Besides, I worked for Kremer years ago, I knew that I could trust the quality.  But Kremer didn't have some colors I needed, and for those I bought Schimincke half sized pans.
Schmincke watercolors are also rich and opaque, and I like that since I would love to do some thick an thin applications just like Sargent did; not that I consider myself to be a good as him. The downside to the Schmincke colors is that they only come in half size pans, at least the ones that I could find. I'm sure a lot of watercolorist out there can agree that it's a sad thing that watercolor in pans are really hard to come by these days. Not even that, but a nice metal box is almost non existent.  How can these beautiful things go out of fashion, I don't know?
Testing out some of the new colors have been fun, but I have not had the chance to take them out in to the field yet, but soon as I do I'll make sure to let you know how it goes. I'm hoping for good results...fingers crossed!
All this talk about watercolor has not made me give up my oils, let's not get crazy  now! This is just something a little extra to help me become a better painter.
Bellow is the scan of the three color charts I created according to the three watercolor sets I put together. What do you think, am I ready for this, or what?

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