Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Watercolor Review

I'm throwing in a little watercolor review here, while I'm off in Maine...
In the window of the pigment store there are banks of display cases full of colored pigments. I've been wanting to record them and then come home and try to match the colors with paint.
First to match the pigments on my palette,
which by the way, is an old enamel kitchen tray found on Ebay.

And then to match the colors swatches on a test sheet of paper. The next step is to make a painting.
My watercolor teacher, David Dewey, used to say, the painting is first of all, set up on your palette. Get your colors down there first. I used to take pictures of his palette mixings.
Then put it down on the paper.
I'd love to select a few of these bottles and make a painting from just those colors...what's known as doing a "limited palette" painting.
Another Dewey trick - use dirty water to put the washes down on the paper. It's much easier to see where the water is on the white paper if there are bits of pigment in the wash. For most watercolor painters painting with clean water is like religion.
Here's a watercolor palette I'd love to have. A client of Wendy Brandes Jewelry designed this for herself using a poison ring bezel. Claus Oldenburg of the Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture, said he does most of his idea sketching at the dinner table. Wouldn't this palette ring be a tremendous help painting in Maine?


  1. Anonymous9:32 AM

    David Dewey was your teacher? Wow! What a dream. I just pour over his book which was suggested by handprint, http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/water.html

    You make that palette look like fun. I use a half pan paintbox and mix on the page. Now you've got me wondering...that looks like a real dance on the palette. I am just about to paint my biggest painting 22x30 and I am really wondering how well this is going to work with my paintbox...maybe I will get a tray. I love to work on white porcelein it is just so darn heavy and fragile.

    1. Anonymous3:12 AM

      The trays are much better! David Dewey is a great teacher & still teaching👍

  2. Great post, Carol! I love seeing all the test color swathes--they're so beautiful to me. That ring is great! Neat idea! I remember you saying David suggested using the old water to lay down washes--interesting.

    1. Anonymous3:13 AM

      I love the loose washes best!
      David LOVES painting with dirty water?!

  3. GORGEOUS!!!!
    I usually a porcelein plate for a palette on location Holdover from my days with Patricia Tobacco Forrester. I mix a lot on the paper too.

    I used to use one of those huge divided palettes that I bought at an art store. But really it is whatever works as long as the brush and colors can play.

    Yours DOES dance. Have a delightfully Dewey day. :)

    1. Anonymous3:14 AM

      Thank you Janice ❤️

  4. Great post. Hope your having a ball out there painting with the elements. Cant wait to see what you worked on.

  5. The wall of pigment jars is my idea of jewels. Can't wait for you to paint them. Went to your spoon collector blog. Beautiful reflected colors on the bowl with red box and tin.

    1. Anonymous3:14 AM

      They are so inspiring ❤️

  6. Anonymous9:10 PM

    Bless you for leaving town and giving my diet a break! My habit of sitting down for a nice PB read after dinner is killing my diet! You make a very NICE excuse! And thank you for posting this oldie but goodie! The colors are just so wonderful - time for a confession: While in NY, I hoofed it over to Kremer to see if the sample jars are really as wonderful as the photo - and they ARE! Can't believe they're out of the samplers!
    Enjoy your summer camp! And no ghost stories around the campfire, but somemores are OK!

  7. i WANT
    ~all those colors~
    in the little bottles.


    even if
    i never opened the bottles
    they are like magic to me
    in their clearness
    and purity.

    {{ your links are often like
    taking an Independent Study Class,
    did you know?
    so thanks for that, too}}

  8. Thanks for the mention! Jean, my client, does have a tiny paintbrush to go with her tiny palette.

  9. So many *yummy* colors (at least these don't make me bolt for the fridge like your chocolate and macaron posts do!). Luuuurrrve the pigment jars.

    The palette ring looks like a gadget for Super Painter (like Batman's belt of cool stuff - just in this case, in ring form :-). I think one may BE a superhero if one had one - just maybe without the cape.

  10. Anonymous9:55 AM

    I SOOO want one of those palette "poison" rings! I often use a paint brush as a chopstick-style holder to hold my hair up off my neck! Between paint brushes as hair accessories and rings that are really palette's I'd be set for painting any time I'm out and about!
    Wonderful idea!
    The Antiques Diva

    1. Anonymous3:16 AM

      Me too! Costs a fortune

  11. Ho, I love this ring! I wish I had one!

  12. Oh, Carol....those colors! I SO want to take watercolor lessons! The colors in this post are so vibrant. Like I think heaven must be like!

  13. Love it Carol. Every room in my home is a different color. Color makes me happy.

    I hope you get a secret color decoder ring for your birthday.

  14. Anonymous2:26 PM

    I love the pictures of the windows with all the pots....but the "paint ring" is truly fantastic ! I really enjoy your blog and come back frequently to admire your work.

  15. Very cool post! I don't use watercolours... but I do some watercolour technique with acrylic... these are rally great pigaments! How fun to work in a paint shop... I think I would love that... we have nothing like that around sad to say... I guess I live in the wrong town!
    Have fun in Maine... can't wait to see what you paint!

  16. What an amazing array of pimgent colors, an artist's paradise of tools! I look forward to seeing what you paint in Maine.

    I've enjoyed your work and your blog and have sent you an award and a thanks. Have a great week!


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