Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What are the BEST watercolors on the market?

I'm a lucky girl.  I have a wonderful husband  (I hereby declare my undying love for my husband.  I'm supposed to do that on this blog every once in a while! I'll wait here while you go throw up...)  who REALLY wanted to get me something nice for my birthday. 

Now, with my record as the WORST reciever of gifts ever, you'd think he would have given up on me by now.  There was the time he got me a watch, and I said "Oh no - that's too expensive!" Went to the store to return the watch, and came home with...a more expensive watch.  Then there was the winter coat - told him exact size, color, store, everything.  I brought it back to the store.  (in my defense, it DID have a spot on it) The list goes on, but you get the idea.

So as my last birthday approached, I mentioned that I wanted some new "grown up" watercolors so I could stop using the kids' crayola sets.  He asked what kind, and I said "Oh...never mind.  I probably need to shop around!"

Well he, my devious man, spent a great deal of time on-line researching watercolors and everything there is to know about them, and decided to surprise me with a wonderful set of 12 Holbein tubes of paint.  His searching determined that they are the best water colors.

He also bought me a pad of watercolor paper - and put the entire gift in a re-usable shopping bag, making sure I noted that he does read my blog, and not just to see if I pledge my undying love for him.

So all I had to do was buy a pretty new pallette to put all the paint on, and I was ready to go!  Now, I have done a little bit of watercolor painting before, but never with a good set.  And, I usually use my water color pencils as well - so I was drawing more than I was painting.

These are a few paintings from the first time I tried to just paint from the live model.

These are both quick sketches of the model.  I like the immediacy, the way the colors work together, and how fresh they feel.  I need to practice layering colors effectively, and learn which colors flow together best.  I also need to be sure to wash my brush frequently, because colors got muddy quickly.

The next two paintings were longer, closer to half an hour each.  This was more difficult for me - I did not get the proportions correct in the beginning, and I was too eager to build up darker colors - creating a stark value range instead of a subtle one.

The second attempt was a little better - I think it feels more like watercolor, and the value range is more subtle.  But I have to keep practicing how to mix and layer colors...the dark colors are especially tricky, because I can't "see" the color like I can with a pastel or even a watercolor pencil. 

 But what I love about watercolor is the ability to meet control and serendipity somewhere in the middle.  You can choose the colors and how much water you use, but you can't stop the paint from flowing and joining together in "happy accidents". 

Thanks, hubby, for the great birthday gift.   Now...will you babysit so I can go to figure drawing tonight? Thanks.


Dora Sislian Themelis said...

I've using the MaimeriBlu watercolors and the Holbein and I think I like the Maimeris better. Something about the way the colors flow on the paper..Been blogging about my watercolor experiences, too! You're doing so well!

Krystyna81 said...

Dora...thank you for the feedback! I've noticed I feel like I am "missing" a few colors - like rose, and maybe a turquoise - perhaps I shall look for these in MaimerBlu so I can try that brand!

I'll have to peek at your blog :)