December 10, 2016

Guest Designer For Pink Paislee!

I'm so excited to be featured on the Pink Paislee blog as a guest designer! Head on over there and check out all the winter themed projects I created using their beautiful collections. There are scrapbook layouts, a card and an easy DIY gift bag!
Here are some sneak peaks-


Thanks for visiting and have a lovely day!

November 21, 2016

Watercolor Sets Comparison- White Nights, Cotman & Gansai Tambi

Hi! Today I'd like to share with you a watercolor comparison and review I filmed. I highly recommend watching the video, where I talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each set in detail. 



I am comparing these sets-
I feel that all three can be considered as a go to set that will serve one for many many years. I have to say that since I've first seen and purchased the Kuretake set, the price has dropped significantly. When I bought my set a few years ago I paid around 60$ for it. As of the the day this post is going live on, the set costs less than half on Amazon. For that reason, this set is very attractive, and would be a lovely present. However, I do think it has some, possibly important, disadvantages, and that's why I wanted to introduce the other sets here, because I think they offer more flexibility and convenience. 
Here are the advantages and disadvantages I found in each set.

Kuretake Gansai Tambi 36 pans set-

Advantages:
  • Price. This set contains 36 high quality paints, for less than a dollar per pan. 
  • The colors are bright and vivid.
  • Nice color selection (though lots of greens!)
  • The pans are quite large, their surface area is about double the traditional European watercolor pan, which is great for large brushes.
  • Pans are sold separately so one can replace colors once empty or switch colors in the palette.
  • It comes packaged in a pretty (although not very practical) box. 
  • There are specialty paints included, a pearlescent paint, gold and bronze. This can be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on one's preferences.
Disadvantages:
  • This palette is large. Really big. It measures about 7"x11", so you need a lot of space to work with it. Also, it comes in a rather attractive canvas covered carton box, but there is no mixing space, meaning if you want to mix or water down your colors you need an extra palette, which will take up even more space. This was for me a noticeable disadvantage that led me to search other palettes.
  • Compared to the other two options mentioned, this one is the least readily available, at least for me, in Austria.
  • One is limited only to this brand if one wants additional paints. Other companies' pans will not fit this unique Japanese size pan.
  • The colors are mostly semi opaque, which is typical of Japanese watercolors. I write this as a disadvantage because I prefer my watercolors transparent.
  • There are 8 greens in this set, which is a little excessive compared to other similar sized sets.
  • I couldn't find information online on pigments, opacity, lightfastness, granulation etc. 
St. Petersburg White Nights 36 full pans set-

Advantages:
  •  This set comes in a plastic box, with lots of mixing areas.
  • The colors are bright and vivid.
  • Nice color selection
  • The pans are large, not as large as the Kuretake ones, but still great size, standard full pans.
  • Colors can be purchased individually for a very attractive price (around 2$, cheaper than the other two brands mentioned here)
  • Because this is a standard pan size, one can replace the pans with pans from other brands. It fits both full and half pans, so one has lots of flexibility here.
Disadvatages:
  • This set is smaller than the Kuretake, but still quite large at about 5.5"x11".
  • Some colors are not lightfast (which means they will fade with the years), but I have found that to be true for many of the ├╝ber bright colors in all brands. This doesn't bother me, but might be important to you.
  • I wish they had a lighter pink.... But I'm a little obsessed with that color...
  • I have found these only available in full pans. At their incredible low price it's not an issue, only if one prefers half pans for their compact size.
I have to admit I can't find many disadvantages with these. I love them, I think they are an amazing value for money, and I would recommend them to anyone at any level who wants a wonderful set of watercolors. 
I actually think the best option is to buy the White Nights 24 set that comes in the 36 pans box, and add 12 pans or 24 half pans of your choice to make this the perfect set for you.

Winsor & Newton Cotman 45 half pans set-

Advantages:
  • This set is the most compact of the three, as it contains half pans.
  • The palette is made out of plastic and has lots of mixing areas. The box seems to be a smaller version of the White Nights box.
  • There are 45 half pans in this set, 40 colors, plus 5 extras of certain colors (mine has 2 each of alizarin crimson hue, ultramarine, ivory black, white and yellow ochre.)
  • This set contains all the colors in the Cotman range, and its a great selection of watercolors. Probably the best in this comparison.
  • One can replace each half pan with a half pan from other brands.
  • The Cotman range, which is the student grade range from Winsor & Newton, comes also in tubes, which makes it very economical in the long run. (once a pan is empty, one can buy the tube of that exact paint, which will last a long time).
  • Winsor & Newton are probably the most widely available paints from the three brands reviewed here.
Disadvantages: 
  • These are student grade paints. And indeed when used, most colors are not as vibrant as the other two sets. 
  • These have the smallest pans, so can be less convenient when using a large brush.
  • Out of the three sets, these are the driest. They rewet nicely, but needs a little more work than the other two, which are creamier.
I will edit this post in the future if I find any new information or change my mind ;)
Thanks for visiting, and please leave me a comment if you have any questions!

November 20, 2016

The Doctors Are In Series #2- Rejuvenation Therapy to Older Stash

Hi! The weekend clinic is open again! This week Mercy Tiara (Tracy Banks) and myself are tackling our older stash, assembling a mini kit and making two layouts on video from start to finish!
Here are the layouts I created-



here's the video showing my kit-


And the process videos-


Click here to get to the playlist with all the videos in the series, including Tracy's. Thanks so much for visiting and have a great day!

November 15, 2016

Watercolor 101 #2- Favorite Yellows

Hey! I'm back with another video in my watercolor series. If you think I have a master plan, I'm sorry to disappoint ;) In this series I just want to share my favorite experiences with this wonderful medium.

I don't mean to enable you to go and buy everything I mention, I really think it is more than enough to have a few colors, a brush, paper and water to get things going and have lots of fun.

I would like to share my favorite colors in each color group, so in case you're in search of some paint, or want something new to try, maybe this will help to narrow down your choices. So here are my favorite yellows (at the moment)-


You don't need 5 yellows in your palette. A great versatile palette would have a cold (blue-biased) yellow, and a warm (red-biased) yellow. But please remember your palette needs to fit your needs. Maybe you hate lemon yellow and never want to use it. Remember it would be useful to have lemon yellow if you want to mix bright greens, or any green... or dull down a purple. But again, your palette, your call!

So if I had to choose two, I would probably stick to my two Sennelier yellows, on the left in the photo. Lemon Yellow and Yellow Light. They are both luminous, transparent yellows. I prefer my watercolors to be transparent.
My choice for a deep earthy yellow is Daniel Smith Nickel Azo Yellow. Gorgeous paint. Love it in foliage or fall landscapes. 

My happy yellow is Daniel Smith New Gamboge. It is a very orange yellow, and a touch of it brings light to any flower or scene. 

And last, but not least, another one of those magical colors. Daniel Smith Quinacridone Gold. This is a beautiful more neutral yellow. It is great for mixing more muted, not so bright greens (New Gamboge and the two Sennelier yellows are brighter)  and oranges.

The Daniel Smith paint is made of PO49, whereas most other brands use a mixture of pigments. I happen to have the Qor Quin. Gold, it came in the high chroma set, and while there might be a difference (the Daniel Smith one seems more luminous, but I could be imagining...), I love the way the Qor paint flows and spreads.
Watch the video for some chatting about these lovelies-


Thanks for visiting!

November 11, 2016

Watercolor 101 Series- #1 Mixing Colors Using Primary Colors

Welcome to the first installment of what I hope will become an informative series. I chose to start with one of those basic, sometimes complicated and maybe boring subject- a little color theory and color mixing! I created this color wheel using a simple formula (who said math wouldn't be useful in life?!?!). The outer circle shows primary colors and how they mix to create the brightest colors. As we go into the circle the colors become muddier. How? Color theory magic. Grab your paints and give it a go. But watch the video below first!


I am using my St. Petersburg White Nights paints, which I love, for this demonstration.


 I explain everything I'm doing and why in the video, so please check that out for more information. There is also some more written information in this post. Here's the video-


And here's another mixing chart I created-


It is quite obvious that the theory actually works! Amazing, I know. The brightest greens are created by using phthalo blue (yellow biased) with lemon yellow (blue biased). For a more muted green, change up one of those (like phthalo blue with hansa yellow or ultramrine with lemon yellow). And for an even muddier green, choose the two primaries that are red-biased- ultramarine and hansa yellow. And the same goes for the oranges and purples. Bright oranges- hansa yellow (red biased) with cadmium red light (yellow biased). Want a more muted orange? Change of of those to their blue biased version. And for a muddy orange, pick 2 primaries with blue bias, like lemon yellow and carmine/quin.rose. And the same for purple.
As you probably already know, there are 3 primary colors, yellow, red/magenta and blue. And from those one can mix pretty much every other color. Thing is, even the primary colors are not pure, and contain a very small amount of another primary. That is why most basic sets of watercolors come with 2 of each primary. A basic set will usually have 2 yellows,2 reds and 2 blues.
Here are some examples of common primaries, but be mindful that these vary from brand to brand. Some companies carry some colors and some others. Some are very similar. There are other qualities that are important besides the color itself, such as opacity, granulation and lightfastness. But today we're just talking about mixing colors using primary colors. 
So back to those 6/7 colors.
Here are a couple of very useful links I have used before in an older watercolor post, both have great information about primary colors and choosing them for your palette.
Here's a quote from that site, dummies.com-


''Each one of the primary colors — red, yellow, and blue — is biased, meaning that it leans toward one of the other two primary colors. When mixing watercolor paints to get a secondary color — orange, green, or purple — use two primaries biased toward each other. Otherwise, you get a gray, muddy color.
For example, to get purple, be sure to mix a blue biased toward red such as ultramarine blue and a red biased toward blue such as alizarin crimson. When mixing colors, refer to the following list:
  • Reds with a blue bias: alizarin crimson, carmine, crimson lake, magenta, opera, rhodamine, rose madder, scarlet lake
  • Reds with a yellow bias: cadmium red, chlorinated para red, chrome orange, English red oxide, fluorescent red, Indian red, light red, permanent red, perylene red, phioxine red, red lake, red lead, sandorin scarlet, Venetian red, vermillion, Winsor red
  • Yellows with a blue bias: aureolin, azo, cadmium yellow lemon, cadmium yellow pale, Flanders yellow, lemon yellow, permanent yellow light, primary yellow, Winsor yellow, yellow light
  • Yellows with a red bias: aurora yellow, brilliant yellow, cadmium yellow medium and deep, chrome, gallstone, golden yellow, Indian yellow, Mars yellow, Naples yellow, permanent yellow medium and deep, raw sienna, Sahara, yellow lake, yellow ochre
  • Blues with a red bias: brilliant, cobalt, cyanine, indigo, mountain blue, ultramarine blue, verditer blue, Victoria blue
  • Blues with a yellow bias: Antwerp, cerulean, compose, intense blue, manganese, monestial blue, Paris blue, peacock blue, phthalocyanine blue, Prussian, Rembrandt, speedball, touareg, turquoise, Winsor blue''
Note**** Many recommend the shade Aureolin for a primary yellow, but it has been found to fade to brown or grey, so consider avoiding it.
 
Thanks for visiting and I'll see you soon with more videos and tutorials!

November 4, 2016

Art Journal- Golden High Flow Transparent Acrylic Paint

Hi there! I've had this gorgeous set of Golden paints land on my craft desk yesterday, and I had to play and see how the colors look and behave! I got mine from Blitsy, where I often find good deals on art supplies (their brushes section is also great). Beware that they work with different suppliers, and I have had 2 incidences already that items I ordered turned out to be not available. I was promptly refunded, but with shipping costs, sometimes even if one item is not available, it would be nice to have the option to cancel the order (though I haven't tried contacting them with this issue, so there might still be that option). OK, back to the paints. Here's what I created-


I started with just spreading color after I sprayed some water on my gessoed surface. Since I wanted to move the paint with my fingers, I used a barrier cream from Winsor & Newton called Artguard.


The art journal I'm using is one I got at my local art supplies store. It has a really porous paper and has to be primed with gesso. I picked it up because of the binding, the signatures are stitched, and it lies down flat nicely.


After my first layers were dry I added more paint with a brush. I use cheap brushes for my acrylic paints (because I can't be bothered to properly clean them...). 


Final touches were added with a white Uni Ball Signo broad pen, and this platinum Carbon pen, which I'm in love with!  
Here's the video-


Thanks for visiting!!

November 2, 2016

Qor Watercolor Color My Page Challenge

Hi! I have something a little different for you today, which I'm hoping will eventually become as common as my scrappy adventures, because I have to admit- I am obsessed with watercolors. This medium is the most beautiful, fun, unexpected and just glorious. I can't get enough of it.
I decided to take Mandy van Goeije's challenge and create something using just 3 colors from the Qor high chroma set- Quinacridone Magenta, Transparent Pyrrole Orange and Cobalt Teal. These are favorites anyway, so I thought this would be a lovely challenge to take!




This is the color chart I created with the colors of this challenge. You can see all the lovely shades one can mix from these 3. And because they are so lovely and bright, it's really hard to get a muddy color. The top 3 rows are mixtures of 2 colors. The fourth row shows mixtures of all three with lots of water. The fifth and sixth rows show mixtures of the colors in their stronger saturation.


I used a 1/2" angular shader brush by Princeton and a Princeton Neptune #8 round. I do a lot of painting and sketching in watercolor on this paper from Ken Bromley in the UK. After I finished painting I added details with a pencil and a white Uni Ball Signo Broad pen.


Here's the video-


And some close ups of these lovely layers-





 Thanks for visiting!