Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A New Palette


I sometimes suspect I only paint because it's an excuse to buy art supplies. I was at it again in Rome earlier this year. I treated myself to a lovely little metal box of Schmincke watercolours. That was months ago and the paints were unused because I just didn't like them. Now before Schmincke starts slitting its wrists, I should mention Laura has wonderful things to say about the extend Schmincke range and the proof is in the beautiful work she has been posting recently. Anyway to my taste there were too many opaque colours in the 12 half-pan set so yesterday I took action.

I dug the paints out of a tiny Cotman by Winsor & Newton 12 half-pan box. I don't like those either but I do love Winsor & Newton's Artist Watercolours which I buy in tubes. I put the Schmincke pans in the W&N box and then filled up the empty pans from W&N tubes. Now I have the tin I love with the paints I love!

The inspiration for my new palette came from Australian artist John Lovett who has a fantastic website with lots of inspiring tips. I love his watercolours. JL recommends a basic palette of Indian Yellow or Quin Yellow, Raw Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, Phthalo Blue and Ultramarine Blue. In addition he sometimes uses Cobalt Blue, Indigo and Permanent Rose or Rose Madder. Since I still had some spare slots in my tin I couldn't resist adding Smalt (a gift from Marta), Brown Madder, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Perylene Green and, because I love them so much, Green Gold and Stil de Grain Bruno from MaimeriBlu. So I now have a total of 15 colours in a very portable little tin. Over time I'll discover which of them earn their keep because I have so many other beautiful colours waiting to get into the tin. So much for my resolve to apply the discipline of a limited palette.

Since I've been spending (wasting?) such a lot of time playing with palettes I don't have much to show for my efforts this week. I do have another excuse but that is the subject of a future post.

The tree was painted at last week's watercolour class.

The street (below) is a disasterous attempt at mixed media - watercolour, pastel pencils, white guache and brown ink. I've ordered some 10 minute DVDs from John Lovett, so I'm hoping to do better down the track.

14 comments:

Joan said...

Your new palette looks good. It looks like it has a nice variety of colors.I'm slowly refilling my W&N field kit with tube paints. I even replaced one color totally.

Your painting of the tree came out nice! I like the one of the street too. It takes practice to combine the different media. Good luck with it.

I love to buy new art supplies too. I'm planning on ordering some from Daniel Smith. He has a couple of interesting sample sets I'd like to try.

Ciao!

mARTa said...

I love to play like this! I do like the tree painting from your class. And now on this large computer screen...well, it's Robyn-escish...just lovely! I think I must have remembered correctly what pen you were looking for as the name stuck. I saw lots of them in Paris but wasn't sure if I could get the right parts in the US....silly me. I'm just waiting to get the ink I ordered, not my first choice but we'll see how it preforms. I have no clue how to fill the pen with the converter and that might be the stumbling block with this new pen. So far, it felt nice in my hand.

bec said...

Interesting to hear your opinion on the Schminicke. I just splurged and ordered some for my birthday. --not cheap.
Your tree is beautiful... I love the colors!

Jenny said...

Love your tree painting!

What good are art supplies if you can't play with them, rearrange them, etc? Your small palette is great. I have one that size, and I try to stay with transparent or semi-transparent color. You get extra points for doing charts!

juj said...

That tree is simply stunning. Stunning!

Katherine said...

I'd be interested to know which Schminke colours you didn't like. Mine are very pigment rich and I'm wondering whether this influences your opinion of them. You need a lot less 'pan' to water as it were.

I love looking at other people's palette swatches though - well done for what sounds like a major exercise.

Robyn said...

Bec - TY. But please don't let me put you off your new watercolours. I think palette choices are very personal.

Jenny - Like you I wanted to go will all transparent colours - only the cobalt turquoise light is opaque.

Katherine - The Schmincke pathalo green is very lively. All the colours are very intense in the chart I made before I decided to retire them. There was no Burnt Sienna in the box (which I can't leave home without), the Venetian Red didn't excite me and while the Cad Red and Yellow are bright they aren't colours I use often. There was also a black. I think if I had chosen individual Schmincke colours I'd probably be a fan like Laura.

Robyn said...

Joan - I'd be interested to know what your field kit colours are.

Kate (Cathy) Johnson said...

Robyn, loved your palette saga! I do the same things, customizing and tweaking...I didn't like my original 12-full pan Schmincke set either, but tweaked it till I did!

Thank you for the link to John Lovett, too, wonderful sketches and diaries!

Robyn said...

Cathy - How lovely to have you visit and comment! I've just peeked at your website (not for the first time!) and see that you are making Schmincke look gorgeous. Glad you enjoyed John Lovett - unfortunately, after 2 months, I'm still waiting for my instructional DVDs to turn up - not John's fault, his products are distributed by another company, which I might add, just ignores my emails! I could sob.

Kate (Cathy) Johnson said...

Thank you, the Schminckes are lovely...if you choose the colors you want! I'm with you, Venetian Red is no substitute for Burnt Sienna. Two entirely different entities, and I like them both, but I HAVE to have Burnt Sienna!

Sorry about the wait on your DVDs! I'm running into that with the CDs on CafePress right now...normally they are SO fast I'm having trouble figuring out what the problem is...

Wendy said...

Hi Robyn,
Kate just gave the everydaymatters list the John Lovett link and I love his work too. I see he comes from Currumbin. So does Lucja Ray. I have posted about her in the EDM list and note she will be teaching in Italy later this year if you're interested.
http://www.italyartistretreats.com/

Anonymous said...

I have to agree on the Schmincke Horadam colors--opaque or heavy. I had only them while in Germany. Now I use Maimeri or Daniel Smith. Occasionally Holbein and American Journey (DaVinci relabeled.)

Windsong said...

Isn't it fun to buy new paints and experiment? Just love the Schminke tins. I wish it was possible to buy the empty tin.

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