Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A New Palette

Back in the fall, I took my first ever watercolor class through the Jeanne Oliver Creative Network.  It was an online class and the teacher was Michelle Wooderson.  I had followed Michelle for quite sometime back when she was a leading scrapbooker--her blog MishMash was on my regular blog roll. I was completely intimidated by the thought of sharing my work with others in the class, but she soon put us all at ease by reminding us that "practice is art".  It was one of the best classes I have ever participated in!

Throughout the last few months, I have continued to practice and am enjoying watercolors so very much.  I have been reminded of basic color theory principles that I haven't used since high school and am learning so much through my experimentation.  Although one of her warnings was not to get too caught up in the "supplies" that you forget the art, it is really hard to do.  I love color and I love texture and I love all the techniques that use them.  Prior to this class, my watercolors have consisted of the inexpensive set of paints I have been using for Bible journaling.
These are great, but I dipped my foot into the water of professional paints, and love the intensity of colors and their "mixability" (I'm sure that is NOT a real word, but sometimes you just need to make one up that fits).
Since the course, I have also kept my eyes open for new ways to build a palette of paints.  One of the ladies in the course sent me a small hinged tin from Great Britain to make my first one and I have taken it with me everywhere.  It is only about 3.5" x 3", but it holds 20 different colors.
On my fall trip with Valine, I picked up a vintage cigarette tin at a small antique store.  I think it must be made of brass and has several sections inside it that are perfect for an expanded palette, even though it measures less than 5" x 6" on the outside.
I thought about cleaning and shining it, but for now, I am kind of liking the patina.

In this one, I am able to hold 24 different colors plus a few extra supplies as well.  Before putting in the paints, I wanted to see the best way to arrange them.  I use small squares of paper with color swatches to keep up with the colors I own and can move them around to decide on the arrangement I want in my palette.  (Learned that idea in class)
I used a little bit of sticky-tac (a teacher staple, for sure) to keep the pans in place. When they are empty, I can refill them from the tubes or rearrange them if I decide I want to try something different.
When the paints are dry in the pans, it is sometimes very hard to determine which color is which, so I also made up a small grid with color swatches.  This particular tin is so perfect because it has the little cover that lifts away to reveal the paints inside. I used that little part for the handy chart, as well as a copy of my color wheel on the other side. (I made a new copy for my smaller tin as well)
For the final touch, I decided to do a little paint mixing practice. Even though I understand color theory, etc., it is still difficult for me to know what colors to mix together to get a desired shade with these paints, so I made a little chart to put in the lid of my tin.  I knew there was not room to mix every since paint, but greens are particularly difficult for me and I also have a couple of new tints that I wanted to include.  While I was mixing, I noticed how pretty the colors looked.  I use some vintage bird saucers and coasters that I have picked up over the years and the little dots of mixed colors looked so pretty.
I am going to be taking a new class beginning in October--another one that will take me FAR from my comfort zone--and can't wait to use this new palette!!

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