When I began seeing posts earlier this year in my social media circles about a new Jane Davenport line of mixed media materials my interest was peaked. I had to see what all of the excitement was about. She had released a whole line of supplies including two sets of watercolour pans, one called Neutral and one Brights. Unfortunately, our local Michaels stores didn’t have them in stock. In hindsight, this was a good thing because it gave me the impetus I needed to do some research first.
I have to admit that I fell in love with the tins straight away. I mean, they are so tiny and cute! And just look at this packaging! But on a serious note: In Canada, I have not found empty tins let alone ones filled with watercolours or even empty pans. Some supplies are just not available here and it seems those are often the ones I am looking for. For a country this big you would think a simple watercolour tin could be found. Then again, the whole population could fit into the state of California and not all of us are artists sooo…
These tins may be cute but I was skeptical when I found the product line at Michaels. The display was located in the scrapbooking section of the Michaels stores and not the art section. If I was going to purchase these cuties I needed to go beyond the hype so I did a lot of online searching for lightfastness ratings and all-around quality. I wanted to know exactly what I would be spending my money on.
This information wasn’t as easy to find as I expected it to be at first (but I am sure there is more out there now that these products have been on the shelves for a couple of months). There is a lightfastness rating on Jane’s site but it doesn’t tell you if one star (*) is Excellent and three (***) is fugitive and so on. I also wondered what colours these really were as the names associated with them on her site are wonderfully imaginative and fun names but do they, for example, compare to New Gamboge or a Phthalo Blue? I also didn’t want to buy colour I already had for the most part. I geeked out and compared the pigments to a list of colour names. This list breaks down the pigments into common names and the lightfastness and toxicity and more. It was very interesting. Of course, this is a guide because these ratings can change depending on the brand and other variables but it was a good place to start.
Why was I being so picky about all this?? I sell my art and I really don’t want my paint colours to fade. If I did buy these would they be the quality of artist paints or for personal use only? The latter is what I expected but wanted to know for sure as it seemed everyone was getting a set. Okay, maybe not everyone but you know…
After much research I did purchase them as you can see. I’ll have more on my results in a moment but first I must digress a bit. These tins are reeaallly tiiiinny and darn cute. Have I already said that? Even the packaging is eye-catching. Good marketing, right?Upon opening them I noticed that one of the lids lay flatter than the other. And when I closed one of the tins it didn’t stay closed but kept popping open. I had to bend the metal a bit (gently, gently) to get it to latch and not pop open. Not a big deal but for all the hype on these babies I was a bit disappointed on that matter. Maybe I am just fussy because I think any product that is on the market should work well.
The tins are sooo tiny (I know I keep saying that!) that even my travel Winsor & Newton and Koi brush don’t fit. No big deal really but it gives you an idea of their size. They also come with a great little introduction to the paints on one side and a spot to add your swatches on the other. Nice touch. 😉 These paper inserts are not the best if you really want to see what the colours will look like on watercolour paper. To remedy that I just simply cut out little watercolour paper squares and stuck them on the inserts. Sometimes I am just simply baffled by my resourcefulness.
I also wanted to if any of the colours stain so I painted each square and then used a tissue to lift off the bottom half of the paint while still wet. The results are clear. Sometimes you want staining, sometimes you don’t. That’s all up to you but there you have it. And see how easily these tins fit into your hand?!Here is a bottom view. You can see the little metal loop for your finger to make holding the tin that much easier. Sorry about the scary big hand and my nasty cuticles. That’s called winter dry season here in Canada.Back to the research. Instead of going into the details of all of my findings, which took many hours, I managed to dig up some great videos with excellent information on these babies from artists who regularly review paints in depth and clearly know their stuff. That’s the kind of information I wanted. Here are some links for you so you don’t have to ‘run around’ the inter web like I did. You’re welcome. 🙂
I also found this You Tube review by The Frugal Crafter very informative. This is a longer video but worth watching as Lindsay compares these paints, in depth, to others of similar quality.
I bought the paints! Obviously I did as I have shown you pictures of them! If you don’t want to watch these videos let me just say a bit of what I found out. These paints ARE NOT artist quality paints and are not the best for lightfastness so do not paint something and then sell it to someone. They will be sad when some of the colours fade. For more detail on that you should watch these videos above or read the links as this blog post is already lengthy. (sorry!)
All in all, I was happy to find a lot of positive reviews. These paints rewet very well and mix easily and the colours are gorgeous. They also compare nicely to other good quality student paints. I’m not sure how I feel about the ‘grey’ Dove hue, however. I love doves but I am not so keen on the grittiness of this one.
I bought these paints to use in my art journal and just for fun because the colours are lovely and sometimes I just don’t want to mix colours! Plus, the tins are a great size as I’ve already noted at least a few times so they are very portable. Just remember to stash a brush of some sort somewhere else before you leave those with your paints!
I am not finished quite yet though!
I made some lovely swatches so I could see some of the colours I would get by mixing two together. These mixes are of course by mixing about the same amount of each to get a ‘middle hue’. I made my own chart based on this one on Jane’s site because I wanted to paint on watercolour paper and my laser printer doesn’t like watercolour paper. The single colours are the ones on the diagonal. This is explained more in the attached link.
Just look at all of the lovely colours you can get from these sets! I love them!
Pictured below is my Brights set. They sure are nice and bright! And next is my Neutrals set. Ahhhhh…calming colours..I had such a great time making those charts that I even did if for my travel W&N set. So fun!
So there you have it! I hope this post will spare you some time to paint or go out and get these sets (if you haven’t already or feel that they would be a good addition to your art supplies) instead of surfing the internet looking for answers to your questions. If anything, you will gain some golden nuggets about paint pigments that you perhaps hadn’t stumbled upon before. ? There is always something more to learn, right? I am a strong believer in that.
I’d love to hear what you think of these paints too whether it be as a comment or link to your own post.
Happy creating and thanks for stopping by!
Moongirl ❤ ❤ ❤
I just recently finished a commission for a fellow homeschooling mom who is just the best! She has the wittiest sense of humour and her kiddoes are so sweet. I am thankful that I was able to create a piece for each of her girls for their birthdays based on their own unique personalities.
For both of these pieces I used watercolours, pencil and of course, my dear Posca Pen. Look at those little fingers and toes!! I love the way a .03 lead can create the tiniest of details so wonderfully whether it be fingers and toes or flower stems and little buds! And I will certainly be adding flowers more often in my work. I just love the way they turned out, but then again, there is so much about this piece that I love. Truthfully, it was a little tough to hand this one over! This is a short video I mad to show me adding some pencil detail. I tend to jump all over the place when adding pencil details, depending on my mood. I make sure I have a cloth under my hand so I don’t smudge any graphite marks! And who can resist a little bit of this song? Just try not to dance. I dare ya. ❤
The main element that brings a piece together for my work, or at least for my watercolours, are all of the little details. Once I begin adding in the pencil lines in varying weights, the piece really starts to come alive. All of those little, and sometimes subtle, marks make such a difference. I can create fine, thin lines that turn into thicker and heavier lines so easily with a .03 lead. Oftentimes for shading, I use the same mechanical pencil so that you see consecutive fine lines built up for deeper shadows that flow into lighter markings for more subtle shadow areas.
It was a delight to add spiders and other little critters to this piece for a little girl in love with them all! All those wee legs and fine wings. I just love this little beetle. So lovely! Yes, this one was a toughie to part with as well.
Although I just delight in these creations, please take note that I will no longer be accepting commissions. I have one more piece for finish and that will be my last. As much as I love creating art that is made for someone special, life is quite full at the moment and is becoming busier for me so I have had to be truthful to myself and my need to focus on other things. I have appreciated every amazing person out there who has asked me to make something for them, and all those for whom I have created something special, whether it be for them personally or as a gift. Thank you for thinking of me and including my art in your life. It means the world. ❤
Moongirl ❤ ❤Read More
Here is another share from Olga Furman’s Paint Your Heart and Soul class. This piece was based on a lesson by Jennifer Albin who is a wonderful artist and has quite an inspiring life story. This one really appealed to my inner child. I had to dig a little deep (it had been a long time) to find my spirit animal but once I did I knew I’d found her. I used my ever-faithful black Stabilo All Pencil for the outline. I etched words into the wet acrylic paint in the background and let some of them show through as I added a thin layer over the top. The intense colours on my girl are the Liquitex FW Acrylic Inks. I just adore the luminosity of these inks and they are the perfect hues to use for a unicorngirl. Isn’t she dreamy? ❤
Moongirl ❤ ❤ ❤
I am happy to say that I am now selling on Etsy! For all those who have waited until the next time I post prints for sale on Facebook you do not have to any longer. You can purchase my prints on Etsy! *happy dance* I will be adding more prints for sale as I have the files ready to go (it’s on the to-do list in my BuJo) and as I make more paintings. I may post originals for sale as well if they don’t sell during auctions or if I manage to find more time to create than what goes to auction. That would be a good thing too! *smiles*
You can click on the Etsy icon above to visit my shop or the icon to the right of this post to purchase prints. All prints are either 8×10 or 8×8 depending on the proportions of the original painting. I may go bigger in the near future. And feel free to ‘favourite’ the shop or any of the items available. 🙂 I ‘favourite’ products and shops when there is a piece I want to purchase in the future or a shop I want to keep an eye on, not just when I buy something. It is far easier for me than keeping it all inside my noggin! It is also nice to see which pieces get more ‘favourites’ as it gives me an idea of which are more popular and then I may produce more like it.
I am also in the midst of redesigning my website and am planning to have a ‘testimonials’ page. For those of you who have purchased from me before and were happy with the service I would LOVE if you were able to eek out a bit of time to send me a sweet little tidbit that I could add to my page when it is ready to go. I know we are all so busy these days. It would be greatly appreciated!! ❤ You can use the ‘contact’ link at the top of my blog to send me a note or FB message one to me on my art page, Moongirl Art.
The other option (and I would LOVE this too) is to add a review to my Facebook page, Moongirl Art, and I can then copy the review onto my website. Two birds, one stone! You know how it goes! 🙂
Thank you!! Much love!! See you on the Etsy flipside!
Moongirl ❤ ❤ ❤
Earlier this year I signed up for Olga Furman’s class, Paint Your Heart and Soul. I love seeing how other artists create and I know that I just may find a lovely little golden nugget in the form of an inspirational art technique that I never knew about or had forgotten. The first week’s share was a charcoal portrait by Olga. I hadn’t used charcoal pencils since my art school days so it was wonderful to go back to them. You can see her eye here is a little bit wonky but that’s okay, it’s been quite a long time since I have drawn anything remotely realistic and this was a very good exercise for me. I have since incorporated charcoal into my latest painting. It felt so good to get my hands all full of back bits of charcoal again. Yum!
I recently learned a new (to-me) technique from the Jeanne Oliver network mini-class, Sketching and Collage. Gosh, I love her online classes offered by so many wonderful artists including herself! I always find little creative nuggets here too. I love creative nuggets! I have used NeocolorII crayons in my work before but I have never incorporated gesso to make the water-soluble crayons permanent. I was able to add layers of colour without the crayons blending into each other. Look at all of the subtle layers! Love! The flowers were made using an image transfer (from free image files). I have made image transfers before but not using this technique. It was fun to do and I love the detail that the transfer left behind. I could have drawn free-hand flowers (as I did for some of the flowers in the next piece) but I like the option of being able to add another layer of interest in this way.Here is my messy art desk and the finished journal piece. I used a the reference pic of myself that I printed out on our laser printer. The painted image does not look like me at all but funny enough, it reminds me of a Vermeer painting! It does not remotely resemble a Vermeer and his wondrous chiaroscuro ways of course, but I keep seeing The Girl With the Pearl Earring in this one. It must be the headscarf! (That’s my art geek creeping out. Gosh, I love art history!!) This next painting, titled Bloom, was part of one of the Soul Sisters United Art Collective auctions on Facebook. You can see the flower transfer technique used again here in this work-in-progress image.Most of the remaining flowers I drew in by hand and used acrylic paint lightly overtop and then added detail with one of my favourite tools, the Posca Pen. I used Stabilo All Pencil and the NeocolorII crayons for her face. I love it so much I am planning on making another painting using this technique for our April auction.
I love the red edge on the canvas too! The colour is so rich and it nicely balances out the red in the piece plus adds a nice ‘frame’.This last piece was a part of this same auction. This is my version of The Hermit from tarot and it now resides with a wonderful woman in British Columbia. One of these days I will create a full tarot deck!! For this piece I used Inkense pencils. They are water-soluble but permanent when dry and they dry much faster than watercolour. This makes it a bit more challenging for blending but the colours are nice and bright. I used permanent ink marker (Prismacolor) for the outlines and details. The white clouds and mist were made with acrylic paint. And of course, what piece would be complete without a little Posca Pen detail?! Stay tuned for more art to come from another week of Paint You Heart and Soul. I am dreadfully behind with the weekly shares but they are so much fun!
Moongirl ❤ ❤
I truly enjoyed creating The Winter Keeper! I’ve been wanting to incorporate conté and charcoal into my artwork for the longest time and with the help of a little gesso I was able to ‘paint’ with the mediums and not worry about it smudging or rubbing away. The blacks of the charcoal sticks are so deep and gritty and the conté so warm and inviting that I just love using it! I began by etching a rough sketch into wet white paint that had been laid over a multi-coloured acrylic painted base.
As I worked along I incorporated some new-to-me Stabilo 3in1 crayons. They are water-soluble and go on so smoothly. Plus they are huge crayons which make them so very fun to use. I felt like a kid again! I often incorporate wings into my pieces and this time I didn’t want them to be overly detailed so the charcoal and conté worked well.
I love the beauty of Fox. I just had to place one into a loving embrace.
I fell in love with this red oxide colour and it complemented the conté colour perfectly. Painting the edge with this red really made the piece come together. The Winter Keeper is about all of the precious things that sleep through the rebirth of the winter season and those that keep watch over them. ❤ On March 2nd and 3rd The Winter Keeper will be up for auction on the Facebook group Soul Sisters United Art Collective. Our theme for March is Angels and Wings. If you are interested you just simply need to join the group to comment and bid. There are many beautiful pieces available by ten different artists. Everyone is welcome!
The Winter Keeper will be a hard one to let go but it’s been such a pleasure to send every piece I’ve ever created to new and loving homes! Thank you.
I love the magazine Where Women Create. I don’t read many mags but this one is a winner in my books. There are so many wonderful and inspiring articles inside its pages. Sometimes I read a quote that resonates with me:
There is always room in this amazing and magical Universe. Remember that.
Much love and happy creating!
Moongirl ❤ ❤ ❤