Archive for the ‘Art Supplies’ Category

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Easy-Peasy Way To Add Color To A Journal

04/28/2016

Adding a little color to a journal is easy with watercolor dots, a brush and some water. Contrast or complement with fountain pen ink for a unique twist to doodling in a journal.

American Journey is a line of watercolors from Cheap Joe’s and rumored to be produced by DaVinci. Whatever the source, it is artist quality and reasonably priced. Not long ago Joe began offering small dots of paint to get acquainted with the colors. Then last week one of the Essentials Sample Color Sets jumped into my shopping cart just to show me what I had been missing. At less than $6, it was an offer too good to refuse.

The packaging is simple but functional with a box that feels like a cardboard egg carton and a paper label that slides on easily to keep it closed. It is very portable though it lacks a mixing area. That can be overcome with a piece of Yupo trimmed to fit inside the lid. Or just allow the colors to mix together on a journal page by placing them next to each other for a variegated effect.

There is a sheet of paper inside the box with the names of the paints, characteristics, and pigment codes with enough room to paint a small sample of the color. It is printer paper so use a minimal amount of water, but it is a handy way to know which color you are grabbing.

The paint dots are small so a round brush is best for lifting color. The website claims it’s enough to make a painting. Heh, maybe a small one. However, it is enough to see the color though limited for making mixes when you consider how many you can create with a dozen colors.

Single pigment colors are preferred by most watercolorists and there are six in this set. The six multiple pigment paints are fine, but can make color mixing more complicated.

  • Aureolin lacks the brown/gray aspect of other brands of Aureolin and for me that is a plus. It’s more true yellow which is better for mixing purposes, the primary use for yellow. It is a multiple pigment paint, but the two pigments are both in the yellow family. So Aureolin behaves more like a single pigment paint.
  • Joe’s Yellow is benzimidazolone, a watercolor sold by Winsor & Newton as Winsor Yellow. It’s a good mixing color and useful as is for florals.
  • Gamboge (hue) is a double pigment color that is achieved with a single pigment in the Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton lines. At least both pigments are yellow and the combination does produce a more even color transition from orange to pale yellow than what some companies produce. I could get used to the AJ version.
  • Raw Sienna is slightly less red than many brands, but it is single pigment and makes very smooth dark to light gradients. When diluted to its palest form, it can be used for skin tones in landscapes where features are not defined.
  • Rambling Rose is made from the same pigment as Daniel Smith Quinacridone Rose and Winsor & Newton Permanent Rose. It is a versatile color that can be used in place of red and mixes well with a wide range of colors.
  • Joe’s Red is pyrrol red like Winsor Red and is closer to a true red than Rambling Rose.
  • Brown Madder (quinacridone) is similar to Transparent Red Oxide though a touch more orange.
  • Quinacridone Gold Deep is more golden than some similarly named paints. Like Raw Sienna is can be diluted to make a flesh tone for landscapes. This version is made from a yellow and a red pigment so if you add blue, it will produce gray.
  • Ultramarine Blue is exactly what it should be. It mixes well with the yellows in the set to create lovely greens or with Raw Sienna to produce gray. Try it with the reds for some lovely purples.
  • Blue Stone was reluctant to release color and never became as saturated as the other paints. It resembles Daniel Smith Lunar Blue though more green. It is not an essential color. Joe’s Blue (phthalo) or Cobalt Blue would have been better choices.
  • Royal Amethyst is a beautiful dioxazine purple and rightly called amethyst. Add yellow to make neutral and warm browns.
  • Skip’s Green is a yellow biased spring green and is a novelty color rather than an essential. I think the set would have been better served with a more useful green.

Add a #4 or #6 travel brush or a waterbrush to the Essentials Sample Set for a simple kit of basic tools to decorate your journal. Dots, dashes and doodles are all it takes.

Note: Daniel Smith offers watercolor dots on 8.5″ x 11″ sheets that aren’t nearly so portable. However, if you really want to fool around with a lot of different colors, it’s another way to go. There are three other American Journey sets, if the Essentials selection isn’t right for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Roundup Of Watercolor Links And Art Supplies Resources

04/01/2016

Ana at The Well-Appointed Desk has written a post called “Art Supply Review Blog/Podcast” that deserves a look if you are interested in painting and supplies. Thanks for the nod, Ana.

Watercolor has fascinated me for years. Late in the day when it’s time to wind down, visiting my favorite sources for watercolor inspiration is a welcome shift from the day’s activities to a few minutes of relaxation before sleep. I never tire of seeing how creative people can be and I also enjoy learning about the processes and techniques that make them unique. Some of the links and images I’ve collected can be found at

My posts and reviews are available through the Watercolor link in the sidebar. Further down there are lists of art resources, blogs and supplies. Hardly comprehensive, but hopefully useful nonetheless.

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Swatches For The Color Addict

03/22/2016

A few watercolor swatches…

Daniel Smith, Winsor & Newton, American Journey and Jackson’s watercolors.

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Playing With Color

02/14/2016

Color is seductive and playing with it mesmerizing. Ink and pen are wonderful tools for exploring the possibilities. However, in recent weeks, transparent watercolors have monopolized my playtime.

Watercolors are rated transparent, semi-transparent, semi-opaque and opaque. This kit is comprised of transparent colors only and will get months of modification and winnowing to a smaller, more manageable number.

Yesterday, I accidentally discovered that Quinacridone Rose and Quinacridone Gold can be combined to make a flesh tone that is perfect for distant figures in landscapes. Such a valuable mix is like discovering gold. Note that in this kit both Quinacridone Burnt Orange and Burnt Sienna can be diluted for flesh tones, but Quin Rose with Quin Gold has a little more depth.

Another recent experiment, this time creating neutrals, was equally productive and confirmed that Burnt Sienna belongs in all of my palettes. Combined with Phthalo Blue or Ultramarine Blue, it produces neutrals with dimension and subtlety as did Transparent Pyrrol Orange with Phthalo Blue.

Yesterday, I paired an unexplored color from Daniel Smith called Mayan Red with a variety of transparent paints to see what would happen. The resulting brown and some of the orange colors were especially attractive finds.

The point of all this is that making your own colors whether with paint or ink is a mini-adventure worth the time and effort. Though not looking for anything in particular, some good things certainly turned up. They are reminders to think in new terms and be playful with my toys. Second childhood anyone?

 

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Speedball Elegant Writer Is A Cheap Thrill

01/15/2016

Playing with the Speedball Elegant Writer is a lot of fun. Just grab a wet brush and make it dance around the paper. The more water the better so a paper of at least 150gsm will make the best surface and yield the most satisfying results, but Midori and Tomoe River paper like it, too. Four pens for less than $10 makes this an inexpensive tool for journal decorating or mixed media art. I predict much doodling ahead.

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Brush Pen Writing Samples

12/20/2015

Brush pens are fantastic for swirls and doodles as well as lettering and sketching. My small collection earned a bit of exercise this week with the Midori providing the platform. The birds were intrigued, but kept their opinions to themselves.

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Goodies From Jet Pens

02/14/2015

Received some goodies from Jet Pens this week.

The Midori MD Notebook paper is very promising with no show-through, bleed-through or feathering from nine inks tested so far. There is a small degree of ghosting on the back of the paper, but it’s very acceptable, even attractive. The plain cover begs for decoration and I have washi tape and Decopatch waiting in the wings. The simple grid allows for any use. More on this no frills journal in future. However, of the three grid format journals I’ve tested this year, the Midori MD Notebook is the most fountain pen friendly of the lot.

The Midori stickers are tiny and about twice the height of my handwriting or one to two 5mm grid blocks in the MD Notebook. Cute for putting a little charm to a journal entry. I purchased a small Kuretake Waterbrush to try my hand at some lettering and for small doodles in my daily journal. The Kyoei Orions Shitajiki Writing Board will be used to protect underlying pages when I use any sort of brush in a journal. This is the A5 size which should work in most of my notebooks. For larger formats, it can be turned sideways to cover half a page at a time. I would have preferred a grid style, but was unable to find one in suitable dimensions.

A small order to be sure, but one that hit all the right notes to encourage writing with a fountain pen.

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