Sunday, January 14, 2024

Rougier & Plié, materials des beaux arts

Last night I made myself go to the art store, even though it was already
 dark outside. In cold weather, hibernation sets in. Too many Bears 🧸  🐻 hanging around.

Once outside, it feels great. Does that happen to you? Paris at night is well worth exploring.

Rougier & Plé is my closest art store, on 108, bd Saint-Germain. Sales are on! 

Finding anything -70% will is not easy if not impossible.

A very expensive & impractical ‘deluxe’ watercolor paintbox NOT on sale. 
A knock-off of British royal paintboxes. Wood is fine for oils, but with watercolor, you need as much white (preferably enamel) mixing area as possible. That lid, elegant as it is, is completely wasted mixing space.

My old enamel paintbox is in a sorry 😞 state. The enamel finish is very worn down.

Browsing artist’s materials is always fun, 

Even if you already own 5-6 of the item you’re coveting. Most mixing trays are plastic and paint tends to pool because of the finish. Porcelain is much better. You can use an old white dinner plate 🍽️ from around the house. 

Like visiting museums & epiceries in Paris, it helps to be in shape at the art store.

Practicing your squats pre-trip is a good idea.

With all the fancy sable brushes I’ve acquired, I still love ❤️ my Japanese Pentel water brushes, bought ages ago, for drawing in paint. 

The price hasn’t gone up much either. 

I went to Rougier to buy watercolor paper (like I really needed more paper 🙄). The art of watercolor has become hugely popular the last 10 year. 

 King Charles has described how he finds painting so relaxing that it "transports me into another dimension. 
You become increasingly aware of things that may have escaped your attention previously - things like the quality of light and shade, of tone and texture and of the shape of buildings in relation to the landscape”.

Newbies tend to focus on paints. Especially exotic colors with poetic names. What the H… is ‘Parisian Dawn’? 
You really only need 6-12 basic colors to start painting. Yet people buy 24+ pan sets 🫣 

A starter paintbox I like better than W&N Cottman is Daler-Rowney Aquafine. You don’t have to remove paper wrapping on each pan. The pans lift out easily. And the whole tray lifts out for more mixing areas. The paint is creamier too. They are both around 12$. For both sets, get rid of black & white pans.

For me, paper is more important.  Paper is a personal thing. It’s good to get small pads to test out. Find out which paper you really like painting on. They are not all the same.

I was surprised at all the other things available in the art store. Embroidery threads.

Packages of Dried flowers 🌸 

Even robins! 🐦 OK maybe not…

I have a nice set of 6 Paris artists letters for you on Etsy
☕️ Or you can buy me a KO-FI ☕️ 

I perked up after being outside in the fresh air/l’aire frais.
  ❤️ Have a Lovely Sunday dear PBers ❤️
Don’t forget to go out at night in Paris to stroll.


  1. Currently summer here in Australia and I can get caught in the same trap because it’s very hot outside, but you do feel better once you get out for a walk. I’m not a painter but it’s always fun learning things from you, like using a dinner plate for your paints! Hope you find something good in the sales.

    1. Anonymous8:03 AM

      Many famous painters use dinner plates as a palette 🎨
      When you get frustrated you can hurl it at the wall & not worry.
      Another is waiting 👍

    2. The famous artistic temperament! 🤣

  2. Anonymous8:01 AM

    Lovely! Dr. G

  3. I enjoyed visiting the art store even though I am not an artist. I do so admire you for all you do and even going out on a cold night in Paris❤️🗼🎨🖌️

    1. Anonymous11:58 AM

      It’s getting out the front door 🚪 that is key.

  4. Anonymous10:07 AM

    You could spray your palette with white enamel paint. I’ve done this with Altoid tins and added half pans for very portable kits.

    1. Anonymous10:54 AM

      I do that with Altoid tins, also!

    2. Anonymous11:57 AM

      That’s a very good idea. I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks 🙏

  5. I love art shops!I was curious price diff..So I Googled the 24 godets wood box Sennelier.
    Not bad if you convert 1 79 EUROS to would be 256...Anyway not in the market and only checked one place..but all things in art shops..temptations.Thanks for taking us:)

    1. Anonymous11:56 AM

      No one should spend that amount of money for any paintbox, especially a wooden box. Simply not worth it.
      It will not make you a better painter. Only practice will.

    2. True true true.I just like looking.I've made paintboxes but usually always revert to my faves..:)

  6. PS always love your thick paper.

  7. Anonymous11:40 AM

    Hello, was just wondering what is your favorite watercolor paper to use? Thank you

    1. Anonymous11:54 AM

      Ah ha, well yesterday I bought Montval by Canson - an inexpensive ring-bound pad.
      I moved to France loving an Arche’s paper I can’t get anymore.
      Hahnemühle Aquarelle Cold Pressed 100% cotton

    2. Anonymous8:51 PM

      Thank you

  8. Oh, I love it when you take us to the art stores! I love paper -- it's my favorite. I don't ever need another paint palette (although I'm often sorely tempted!). I do love the Sennelier paints, though! I can't walk into an art shop without walking out with something. I have a feeling I'd go a little bit bonkers here!

  9. Anonymous12:40 PM

    Last time went to Paris I brought paint and paper but forgot brushes! I found Rougier &Ple and Charvin. It was interesting to explore both and tried to only purchased what I knew I would use. Just as Paris is always a good idea, there is always room for more art supplies! My weakness is small, easy to carry around, hard covered sketch books and if they have the art supply stores name stamped on the cover…even better!

  10. Sukicart1:43 PM

    I love art supply stores though I'm not an artist. They have such a vast variety of colors and papers. As I'm a crafter, I'm a sucker for decorative paper.

    1. Anonymous2:19 PM

      The best printed papers are at Melodies Graphics in my opinion Suki

  11. Bonnie L2:14 PM

    Another vote for art supply shops! 👏🏻 Charvin has little linen “painter’s bags”. I lined one in toile…it makes a cute, lightweight purse. They have linen painter’s smocks as well. I was tempted but no dressing room (bien sur!) to try them on. 😁
    Yay for going out at night when in Paris. City of Lights looks all sparkly at night. ❤️

    1. Anonymous2:18 PM

      What an adorable idea 💡 Bonnie. I’ve seen those bags and they are petit. Their smocks are also at Musee Jacques-mart Andre. They looked very big..

  12. Anonymous3:33 PM

    Oooh, so much good stuff in this post! I am going to look for a waterbrush. This could be the answer to all of my malingering about doing watercolors outdoors (although it does not solve the problem of being self-conscious of others peering at what I am sketching/painting on my pad).
    Love the tip about porcelain vs. plastic for watercolor mixing, and I had a good laugh at your "squats" for shopping!
    Thank you so much for this informative post. And, not that it matters to us Americans, but Charles might be happier if you mentioned that he is now the King. His son Willy is now the Prince of Wales, right?

    1. Anonymous3:12 AM

      Hahaha thanks for the royal correction 👍
      Painting outdoors - not my favorite thing..I always forget a brush or cup 🙄
      What other peep think is so irrelevant. Judging ourselves is not good either.
      Getting focused & into the flow is key..but not easy🙏🤞

  13. Anonymous4:36 PM

    Carol, I only wish I could paint as you do! I have tried a bit. I guess that’s the problem as practice makes perfectish. I like the water pens! Will work well with the 30 tubes if lovely colors I have! I should pick 6 good ones!

    1. Anonymous3:07 AM

      Pick out a warm & cool of each Primary color is the rule
      Cad red or Winsor red - Alizarine Crimson or Permanent rose
      French ultramarine -
      Yellow ochre - Winsor yellow
      Plus maybe burnt sienna, Winsor blue, Sap green
      Just do simple color mixing charts 1st so you get familiar with each color.

  14. Plastic water color palettes are useless - too lightweight. They tend to wander off while you're dabbing your brush! For mixing watercolors - I only use sushi sauce containers! They're porcelain and some come with several compartments for soy sauce, vinegar, mustard, etc. - but you can use them for different colors. They can often be found at a restaurant supply store.

    1. Anonymous2:58 AM

      I love those little Asian dished. It’s also possible to use an enamel small butcher’s tray. My teacher David Dewey got us hooked on those. I got one recently on Amazon for a out 12€ vs. the fancy golding enamel trays from Holbein (have that too)


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