Watercolor housekeeping question

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Watercolor housekeeping question

Postby mjs » Sat Dec 12, 2015 3:58 am

I'm not an experienced watercolorist (or whatever they''re called.) I'm relatively new to sketching and even newer with pastels, but I'm enjoying learning about watercolors, too. I have a Windsor & Newton pocket sketch palette with 12 half-pans in a case for which the lid folds out to make three mixing wells. My question is, once you've finished your out-in-the-world sketch (plein air) and are ready to pack up and move on -- do you:

1) clean out the mixing wells so when you close the lid the watercolors still inside don't drip all over your damp pans on the bottom,
2) stand around and wait for the paints in the lid to dry, or
3) close the lid and let everything mix together randomly -- free-range paints, as it were?

The internet is unclear and for once my daughters don't know. Until now I've painted at my little bench in the farthest reaches of the basement and I've allowed leftover paint to dry in the air as I've read that keeping damp paints closed up can cause them to grow mold. I'd like to move out of the hole now, please, so I'm wondering what to do with my little palette box once I've finished ruining another piece of watercolor paper.

Mike
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Re: Watercolor housekeeping question

Postby Andre Jute » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:53 pm

The procedure is that --
-- with a wet brush or a waterbrush you pick up paint from the pans in your paintbox
-- you can paint with that colour immediately as is on white paper (called masstone), on a dried color on the paper (called glazing), or into a wet color, (called wet-in-wet)
-- or you can put the paint you picked up down in a mixing well on the lid or foldout palette to either dilute it with more water or to mix it with another color until you're certain it is just right before putting it on the paper
-- when you stop painting you can wipe the palette clean with a tissue, or a wet sponge so the liquid doesn't mess up your pristine pans of paint (you hold a piece of kitchen roll or a tissue or a rag or a sponge in one hand anyway, don't you, for wiping the brush, shading by blotting, and so on, don't you?)
-- if you want to preserve the mixed colors (tones, tints, shades, depending on how they're mixed) you must wait for them to dry before closing the lid; this could be a while if you're a wet worker
-- if one or more pans are slightly runny, close the lid and put the tin of paints flat in the bottom of a bag or on the floor of the passenger footwell in your car (I leave the whole thing open in the pannier basket of my bike while I ride home)

Good luck.

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Re: Watercolor housekeeping question

Postby mjs » Sun Dec 13, 2015 4:05 am

Excellent, Andre: very clear. Thank you very much! Yes, I paint with a paper towel or torn-off bit of old cotton shirt in my hand, used to wipe the brush, blotting, etc.

Mike
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Re: Watercolor housekeeping question

Postby mjs » Sun Dec 13, 2015 10:33 pm

Andre, you seem to be good at explaining things. There's something that I'm not clear on and you mentioned it, so...

What's the difference between, tone, tint and shade in the context of watercolor?

If the question is inappropriate to this forum, please let me know.

thanks!

Mike
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Re: Watercolor housekeeping question

Postby Andre Jute » Mon Dec 14, 2015 7:47 pm

mjs wrote:Andre, you seem to be good at explaining things. There's something that I'm not clear on and you mentioned it, so...

What's the difference between, tone, tint and shade in the context of watercolor?

If the question is inappropriate to this forum, please let me know.

thanks!

Mike


Philately gets you a lot of stamps! As it happens, I wrote a popular book on color:

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graphic_design_in_the_computer_age_colour_for_professional_communicators_by_andre_jute_800pxh.jpg

And this page from it explains what you want to know about Tints, Tones, Shades and Greys (which we should add for the sake of completeness):

Image
p33_colour_for_professional_communicators_by_andre_jute_800pxh.jpg

Assuming that you are one of those watercolourists who'll give black lebensraum in your paint tin when you stop painting, almost everything you do in watercolour is a tint, with white represented by the paper. Possibly, if you slap an opaque colour like a cadmium on heavily enough you could get a pure colour. If you use graphites or other greys, you could mix grey, and from them tones. If you work in gouache, which in the best versions (called "designer's" or "artist's") is just much more highly pigmented water colours without too many whiteners or binders, you could also get pure color, and gouache sets legitimately include both black and white, and many watercolorists (Matthew and Alitogata, for instance) add white afterwards to their watercolors or pen sketches, so in fact all these gradations are possible for a watercolorist, though clearly the important one is TINT.
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