Wednesday, October 18, 2017

New Schmincke Palette (Second Order Block)

Hiya, I wanted to update everyone on the New Wet Paint Schmincke Square Palette. Many of you have either received your palette or are awaiting it in the mail. Wet Paint is processing the waitlist as fast as they can. 

If you missed ordering a few weeks ago, don't fret. THEY HAVE A SECOND BATCH coming for Christmas!! YES! you can order one as a Christmas gift for yourself or the artist in your life. What a perfectly wonderful gift. Let me quickly give you the info on the palette. (If you'd like to read all the details go to my previous posts HERE & HERE.)

The tin is filled with twelve of Schmincke's newest colors chosen for their 125th birthday celebration. The colors are:

Perylene Red Dark, Saturn Red, Cobalt Azure, Phthalo Sapphire Blue, Yellow Orange, Rutile Yellow, Potter’s Pink, Perylene Violet, Perylene Green, Hematite Black, Viridian, Mahogany Brown (see swatchs of the  colors in the previous posts!)

Please know, this may be the last time they offer this specific rare square palette that holds 18 half pans (without modification). Also, the price of this incredibly good deal will probably be increasing next year. The price has not increased significantly since they started offering these Schmincke palettes and paint is expensive. It's an incredible deal since just one half pan is $12, and you GET 12 PANS in this palette + the palette itself. That's crazy good.

They ARE TAKING PRE-ORDERS NOW. Click here to pre-order. IF you want in on this rare square palette get in on it NOW. They have HALF the number they had the first time and they sold out in a week. What I'm saying is you don't have time to wonder for a couple weeks. If you wanted this palette then do it now because I'm telling you, they're going, going... GONE.

(They are hoping the second batch comes earlier and they're pushing their shipper but Kate at Wet Paint wants to be clear, they may ship to YOU in early December instead of sometime in November, this is a very recent update from the website link.)



Friday, October 13, 2017

Book Review: "Don't Let Go" by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben's newest stand alone thriller, "Don't Let Go" has just come out on September 26, 2017 and is available as paperback, hardcover or e-book.  Coben is one of my all time favorite authors, I can always count on him to bring the awesome to a new book. "Don't Let Go" is no different, it was really good. I've truly enjoyed the Myron Bolitar character and this new main character will both thrill you and pull your heartstrings a little.  Let me give you a little peak into the book...

Napoleon (Nap) Dumas lost his twin brother when they were eighteen. Leo and his girlfriend Diana died on the traintracks under suspicious circumstances. Was it carelessness, drugs, teenage angst or something more sinister? Nap has been trying to find a satisfactory answer to that question for the last fifteen years. It didn't help that the love of Nap's life, Maura also disappeared the same night as his twin's death.

Now Nap is a police officer, a trained detective. When Maura's finger prints show up at a murder scene the detectives assigned to investigate come to Nap to ask why he's been looking for Maura for years. This incident pulls Nap into an investigation that will eventually lead him to the truth about his twin's death. What he'll have to ask himself is "do you really want to know".

Nap is a fantastic new character and I hope Coben decides to build him into a well rounded series character, he certainly has the skeleton of a great series here. Nap is easy to like and also feel empathy for. He hasn't moved on from the death of his twin and the loss of the girl he loves. He aches for answers. Through the book we learn about his morals, decency and compassion for those who are victims and we fall a little more in love with Nap with each chapter. 

"Don't Let Go" is a slower burn than many of Coben's books but that doesn't mean it's less enjoyable. I found that I could indeed put the book down but I also then desperately wanted to find time to go back to it. I wondered, between readings, what was going to happen. It tweaked my curiosity with a well written plot. It didn't matter that there wasn't a headlong rush to read faster, I still found myself deliberately marching toward a truly satisfying ending, and even better, it was unexpected. I wanted to read more about Nap and that, to me, is the sign of a good, solid five star book.

This would be a fantastic starter for anyone who's never read a Coben. If you never have, what a lucky reader! You have dozens of five star books to read. I'm a little jealous. 


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Price Alert! Sticker Mule

Hiya. Do you like great deals? Do you love stickers & magnets or do you need promotional material like business stickers or magnets? Well, I use Sticker Mule and they have a great deal right now. In fact, I just ordered a set of magnets so I can add one to each order for my new store (coming soon on the new platform!).

They have a spectacular sale on magnets that's good only until Friday Oct. 13, 2017. Usually 50 three inch magnets are $87, Sticker Mule is, for the next few days, giving a deep discount.

50 magnets for $29 

that's an amazing price, that's 66% off!!!! HOLY COW! You can see on the right, that's what my magnets look like. You can upload your art or mascot or anything you want to be a 3" x 3" magnet and Sticker Mule will help you make gorgeous magnets!

Oh, and here's a bonus, if you've never used Sticker Mule before, use this link to get $10 into your account that you can use against your first $30 order. You'll  notice that the $29 is one dollar less than the minimum to use your free $10 credit. What you do is go sign up through the link below...

...then after you sign up, come back here and click the link below...

It'll take you back to Sticker Mule and give you the 50 magnets for $29 deal. You then upload your art and add that to your cart. In the cart it'll say you're buying 50 stickers. Upgrade that by changing the number to 60. In other words, buy ten more stickers. NOW you're above the $30 minimum and your $10 credit will come off the top along with the 66% off too!!! SO you should be buying 60 stickers for around $25ish. YAY. What a fantastic deal, ya?

You're welcome. REMEMBER, you only have about 72 hours to jump on this offer. You can get your $10 credit and not get the magnets though, no problem. Use the credit to buy stickers or something else (within the next three months, then it vanishes!). Have fun!!


Monday, October 9, 2017

Toned Paper: Global Art Materials Kona Pads

Global Art Materials generously sent me both colors of their Kona toned paper pads. Their Kona paper is made from "a unique blend of recycled coffee bean bag fibers and post consumer fibers." This makes for strong paper with a good tooth, perfect for artists who work with dry media like watercolor pencils, pencil crayons, charcoal, pastels, markers and graphite.

The paper comes in wire bound journals, pads and individual sheets. Here's the breakdown of sizes for each:

Global Art Materials send me the 8" x 10" grey and classic tan pad. I really loved the paper. Each piece of paper is micro perforated so you can take it out of the pad easily. All of the Kona paper is 88lb/130gsm. The weight of the paper and the tooth made it perfect for watercolor pencils. I found both colors worked beautifully and I could add layer after layer of color with no preemptive burnishing. I could even move the watercolor pencil color around with the addition of a tiny bit of water and there were no ill effects. For pads, this was my favorite paper and since my mother has already "commissioned" me to do her two large pieces, I see the 14 x 17 pad in my near future. Can you say Christmas present? LOL.

This really is great paper and so fun to work with. I also really enjoyed both colors. I tried the grey pad first. As you can see with the pencil, there was few "holes" left from the texture. With more layers I found that the nooks and crannies filled in beautifully. I left the shadow a little more grainy to give the right impression.

In the next piece, my compass, I used the Classic Tan Kona Paper. This compass took so many layers of Faber-Castell watercolor pencil colors I was surprised the paper didn't scream. I went darker and darker then I threw a little water on it to smooth out the color. Then I added even more color, ink then finally white gel pen. I have to be specific about the ink I added. I tried all my pens but the one that slid over all the watercolor pencils and actually deposited ink consistently was the Staedtler Pigment Liner. I used both the 0.1 and the 0.3. I will be buying more of these in every size. They really worked beautifully on all the toned paper, I was surprised that it made a difference with the brand. On watercolor paper it usually doesn't.

This last piece I did for my social media book blog. I found that the use of acrylic white paint curled the edges of the paper around the book. It straightened out when I weighted it down for a while but I'd have to say, acrylic liquid paint isn't really the medium for this paper. Although 88lb is a heavier weight, Kona paper does well only with dry media. But oh how well it does! The best thing is that it's a really great price too. They're such a great price I can afford to get the largest size without the "ouch" factor. But it just might be cheaper to order it from (if you're Canadian) and pay the currency exchange + shipping instead of purchasing off of Amazon Canada. I'm therefore putting both links so you can decide and calculate. (below)

Amazon US
Kona Classic (tan) Field Journal in 5 sizes
Kona Grey or Tan Toned Paper Pads in 5 sizes

Amazon Canada
Kona Classic (tan) Field Journal 8" x 8"
Kona Tan Toned Paper Pad 8" x 10"
Kona Grey Toned Paper Pad 9" x 12"

Finally, here's how I used the book I did above. I "stitched" my bee onto the book so I have a new mascot specifically for my new book blog. The blogs are almost finished and we'll be having a grand opening in the next two weeks, so watch this space.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Book Review: "Modern Watercolor" by Kristin Van Leuven

"Modern Watercolor" by Kristin Van Leuven has just been published on September 19th, 2017 so it's available now to purchase as a soft cover. I will also be giving away my review copy of this book in the grand reopening of Just Add Water Silly in the next few weeks so watch this space!

This is a lovely "how to" book for beginners in watercolor. Do you want to learn some simple techniques to get simple, solid results? Do you wish you had an easy to understand guide that explained all the buzz words you hear thrown around in the more complicated, traditional watercolor books? Do you find yourself a little confused when you go to other watercolor artist sites because you're not sure what they mean by split primary, color wheel, wet in wet, rigger brushes etc? Well then this book is for YOU.

I'm solidly an intermediate watercolor artist but I sure wish, when I started, I had come across this book before purchasing much more complicated, mind bending watercolor teaching tomes. I'll shamefully admit, I have dozens of books on "how to" on watercolor that I've only perused tangentially. In other words, I looked at the pictures and read the "what I use" section, other than that, they gather dust. When I was starting, all those more technical books with beautiful landscapes and boat docks were incredibly intimidating. Even today, I don't paint like that. Now I realize that means they're not my style... yet. Some day I may get there, but right now I love where I am.

In "Modern Watercolor" you'll find a fully and beautifully illustrated book. Kristin actually shows you the brushstrokes, paint mixes and step by step techniques to help the beginner up their game. The book is uplifting, colorful and so easy to follow. Each technique isn't just illustrated with photos, you get descriptions that are not nebulous but instead are "do this". For instance she first teaches how to paint a peony (above), then she shows how to use that technique to create a painting or even a patten (right). Kristin shows every step, she doesn't just assume you'll know how. She shows and talks about how to create each element then how to place them on the painting, why and how to finish that painting to it's best showing. The content is really easy to follow but also comprehensive.

Kristin goes into detail about how to make simple flowers, leaves, wreaths, animals, faces and even lettering. I was intrigued to see her use a water brush to create lettering, I'll be trying that and breaking out my waterbrushes again. I especially liked her description about why she makes a color mixing chart. I've never taken the time to make one but after reading her "why" I'll be doing it this week. This book even helps intermediate painters! 

If you want to move from confused beginner to a more knowledgable and confident artist, then investing in this book as a starting point is a great idea.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Toned Paper: Fabriano Ingres Pad

This is the first in a series of reviews of Toned paper. I have been lucky enough to work with the top brands who make toned paper. Fabriano agreed to participate and sent me a beautiful Ingres toned pad. The 9" x 12" wire bound pad is rare and hard to get but you can purchase Fabriano's Ingres paper from several sellers in individual sheets. I will list suppliers at the end of the review.

The pad came with three colors of "Browns". There's a dark brown with a red undertone, a medium brown with a beige undertone and a light brown with a green undertone.
Weight:  90gsm / 48lb
Size: 8.5" x 11.75", 60 sheets
Best For: Dry media like pastels, pastel pencils & charcoal

I found using watercolor pencils on this paper worked well as long as you liked the texture it created. The grain runs both horizontally and vertically on this paper. Reading other artists' experiences with pastels on the paper, I found that it was highly coveted and harder to find. It is now available on Amazon in several colors and sizes. One can buy half or quarter sheets in white, cream, taupe, sand & grey. Unfortunately, since the front of the paper pad Fabriano sent me does not have the colors listed, I'm unsure which colors I have. The mid-tone brown with a beige undertone is closest to the sand color they show. Although I'm also unsure if the photos on Amazon are accurate since when I photographed the art and the above promotional photo, I had trouble capturing the actual tone of the paper. Let's talk about art.

(Click to Enlarge)
The first piece I attempted was the eggs. The paper expertly took many layers and it was easy to use the color of the paper to create shadow and light of the brown eggs. I used the mid-tone paper with the beige undertone for this. I would have to say that the texture of the paper didn't work as well as it did for the other two pieces. I still think it created an aged, antique, earthy look to the artwork. Coincidentally, I happen to have put the shadows going with the horizontal grain of the paper. I think if I had angled the eggs differently the texture would have more negatively affected the piece. I also think the use of watercolor pencils (I use Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer) is not the best medium for this paper. I couldn't use any water to liquify the watercolor pencils as the paper is too thin to handle it. I can see that this paper would work brilliantly with pastels. It is made for that medium.

(Click to Enlarge)
The second piece I did was the Bosc pears. I specifically chose those because I was looking for a subject that nearly matched the color of the paper. I wanted to work on capturing the light and shadow and be able to leave the mid tone for the most part. It ended up that the paper needed extra color in the mid tones to give the pear life. I do love how they turned out. They look like an antique painting that has aged well. This is when I started liking the texture with the watercolor pencils on the ingres. This piece took dozens of layers and had no problem taking more color. I think that's due to the tooth of the paper. 

(Click to Enlarge)
Finally I did the baby pinecone and I think he turned out the best. I absolutely love the dark brown color of this paper. I wish other toned paper came in dark brown. It's warm and luscious looking with the little pinecone. I think this would make an adorable Christmas card. The white Uniball Signo gel pen slid over the paper beautifully and added those necessary highlights that made the artwork jump off the page. Here, working with browns in darker and darker shades then doing the shadow and deepest recesses using indigo, I achieved the depth that worked so well with the Fabriano Ingress brown paper.

I would highly recommend this paper to anyone working with pastels. The feel of the paper, although thin at 90gsm, is soft to the touch, quite luxurious. The Fabriano Ingres paper comes in a higher weight of 160gsm and I can imagine having the thicker paper would be even better to work with.

I want to thank Fabriano for sending this rare pad for me to try, it was so generous of them to want to participate in this toned paper series. Here are places where artists can find & purchase this product.

Fabriano Ingres paper in white, cream, taupe, grey & sand, 1/4 & 1/2 sheets

Fabriano Ingres paper in white, cream, taupe grey & sand,  1/4 & 1/2 sheets.

Fabriano Ingress Pastel Paper, 50 X 70 CM (~20" x 28") sheets in cream, white, sand & grey


Price Alert Canada! Journals

I was looking for something else today but noticed that the price for Journals on was really good on Strathmore Watercolor journal. So, I did a little looking around and there were a few more great deals. Here they are for all of my fellow Canadians!

I know it can be painful to be Canadian sometimes, especially when you're trying to buy art supplies. It's sometimes really, really unfair as the prices compared to the US are exorbitant. But today, if you need a watercolor journal you're in luck! Here's the best selection I can find.

Strathmore Watercolor Journal
(400 Series)
Hardbound Journal
Size: 5.5" x 8.5" Landscape
# Pages: 48
Paper Weight: 140lb/300gsm

Strathmore Watercolor Journal
(400 series)
Softcover Journal
Size: 7.75" x 9.75", Portrait
# Pages: 48
Paper weight: 140lb/300gsm

Moleskine Art Plus Watercolor Album
Large, Black, Hard Cover Journal
Size: 5" x 8.25" Landscape
# Pages: 60, cold pressed
Paper Weight: 135lb, 200gsm
I have used this one many times, it's a great journal

Pentalic 100% Cotton Watercolor Journal
Brush Holder @ top of Journal, Hard Cover
Size: 5" x 8" Landscape
# Pages: 48
Paper Weight: 140lb/300gsm
Cover is midnight blue, kinda cool.

Pentalic Watercolor Field Book
Spiral bound Hard Cover Journal
Size: 7" x 10" Landscape
# Pages: 48
Paper Weight: 140lb/300gsm

Pentalic Watercoor Field Book
Spiral bound Hard Cover Journal
Size: 11" x 14" Landscape
# Pages: 48
Paper Weight: 140lb/300gsm
Great price for a large journal as long as you're ok with Wire bound!

Strathmore Visual Journal
Spiral Bound, Hard Cover Journal
Size: 9" x 12" Landscape
# Pages: 44, cold pressed
Paper Weight: 140lb/300gsm
I've used this, the paper is lovely. I took the pages out of the wire bound as I'm a lefty.

I'll be back very soon with a review of the first Toned Paper of a series I'm doing. Enjoy the shopping!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Price Alert! Journals

There are some spectacular prices on at Amazon for Journals. I've done comparisons with the cheapest places to buy these same brands and Amazon wins out this week! Free shipping for Prime Members and free shipping for all others over $25. Here we go!

Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Journal
#Pages: 64 pages
Paper Weight: 190gsm/90lb
Size: 8.5" x 11"
Media: Excellent for watercolor, gouache, Acrylic, Graphite, pen & ink, colored pencil, marker, Pastel & collage
Price: $17.66 US

Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor Journal
#Pages: 48 pages
Paper Weight: 300gsm/140lb
Size: 8.5" x 5.5" Landscape
Media: Excellent for watercolor, cold pressed surface
Price: $13.84 US

Stillman & Birn Beta SoftCover Journal
#Pages: 52 pages
Paper Details: Cold Pressed, White
Paper Weight: 270gsm, extra heavyweight
Size: 5.5" x 8.5"
Media: Dry & Wet Media, Watercolor, Ink
Price: $14.39 US

Stillman & Birn Zeta Softcover Journal
#Pages: 52 pages
Paper Weight: 270gsm, extra heavyweight
Paper Details: Smooth, White
Size: 5.5" x 8.5"
Media: Dry & Wet Media, Watercolor, Ink
Price: $14.39 US

Stillman & Birn Alpha Softcover Journal
#Pages: 92 pages
Paper Weight: 150gsm
Papar Details: Medium Grain, White
Size: 5.5" x 8.5"
Media: Dry Media, Light Wash, Ink
Price: $14.39 US

Stillman & Birn Epsilon Softcover Journal
#Pages: 92 pages
Paper Weight: 150gsm
Paper Details: Smooth, White
Size: 5.5" x 8.5"
Media: Pen & Ink, Dry Media, Light Wash
Price: $14.39 US

Stillman & Birn Alpha Hardbound Journal
#Pages: 124 pages
Paper Weight: 150gsm, 
Paper Details: Medium Grain, White
Size: 5.5" x 8.5"
Media: Dry Media, Light Wash, Ink
Price: $15.99 US

Stillman & Birn Beta Hardbound Journal
#Pages: 52 pages
Paper Weight: 270gsm, extra heavyweight
Paper Details: Cold Press, White
Size: 5.5" x 8.5"
Media: Dry & Wet Media, Watercolor, Ink
Price: $17.59 US

If you'd like to check out other Strathmore Journals or Stillman & Birn Journals just follow the links to the pages.


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