New art supplies – Christmas haul
Ever since I write a blog I can’t wait to finally write a “haul” post – art supplies are really pretty after all – the only problem is that I hardly ever do a “haul”. It is in the nature of watercolours that you don’t run out of them easily (in fact I’m still using an old set I brought from home 9 years ago), I buy brushes one by one according to my needs and I cannot quite expect watercolour papers to bear the weight of a blogpost’s success.
However, my SO surprised me with a bunch of art supplies this Christmas, so I’m grabbing my chance. There are a few well-known pieces as well as new ones: a set of 12 watercolours in tubes, some brushes and 2 blocks of watercolour paper. Obviously, I had to test them first thing. So let’s see them!
Hairdressing for squirrels
I believe that my new brushes are made of squirrel hair, even though I cannot be sure. They are 3 flat brushes and a round one, made by the brand Munkácsy (named after the famous Hungarian painter). Apparently the Christmas wrapping left a mark on them, so before using them on a real project I’m going to adjust the hair a bit with a pair of scissors – I actually do this regularly with new brushes, which some might be horrified at. The sizes are perfect, as painting larger surfaces has always been a challenge for me, which requires larger brushes. Yes, I’m not joking, a size 6 brush counts as big for me.
Quality work on quality paper
The sight of a piece of beautiful watercolour paper will always make me sigh with longing – just like a beautiful notebook. These 2 watercolour blocks made by the brand Fabriano had the same effect on me.
Apparently, size does matter with me because the first thing I noticed about them is that their size is perfect. The smaller one is A6 size (4″ x 5,75″) with papers to tear out, the bigger one is 18 x 24 cm (7″ x 9,5″), which puts it between A5 and B5. Both blocks have 20-20 sheets of rather textured paper inside. The backside of the smaller papers is prepared as a postcard, so you can send them as soon as the paint dries – which is rather a generous assumption from my partner as I rarely manage to create The Perfect Piece without a bit of digital editing.
The advantage of the larger block is that the papers are glued to the block on all 4 sides, so it will not buckle even if you use a lot of water. I have been in two minds about this concept: it is of course very useful but I have used a Canson block of the same kind before and the glue was so strong that I kept tearing the edges of my painting when trying to remove it from the block. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the Fabriano block: the glue is not too strong, so it’s very easy to remove the finished piece. The paper inside is 200 gsm, which is just about within the range of thickness that I like to use, but the smaller block has 300 gsm paper inside, which will take on a lot more water.
Colour cavalcade in tubes
Alright, maybe 12 colours don’t make a cavalcade, but they are enough to mix the entire rainbow. Watercolour tubes are something of a new area for me, I’ve used watercolours in pans but my favourite by far was my old set of aniline paint. For years I thought that watercolours in tubes were in fact disguised gouache, until I saw it on Youtube that you can actually get watercolour paints in tubes.
The texture of the tube version is a lot like gouache indeed, but it acts exactly the same as any watercolour you find in a pan. The colours in this pack are not exactly the same as in my old aniline set (more options to mix colours, yay!), and I’ve already picked 2 favourites from this palette: sepia and occer (2nd and 3rd from the left). Not surprisingly, colours coming right out of the tube are far too bright to use, but they mix and blend well, producing really nice results.
I’ve only had time to test these products, so my impressions are obviously not very deep yet, but I might write about them later. Would you like to read about them? Have you tried watercolours in tubes? Share your experiences in the comments!
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