December 12, 2017

How to use a mini oil paint palette...

If you haven't visited in a while, I have taken up oil painting.  You all know I love repurposing vintage items for my art so it was only a matter of time before I created something fun for my oil paints.  There are many artists who use tiny oil palettes created from empty Altoids tins so the concept is not my own invention.  I am, however, adding my own creative touches to some old tins I have collected on my  junking adventures.  If you have purchased a miniature oil tin from my shop, thank you so much! If you're interested in purchasing one, check my shop out link HERE.  Okay let's get started. 

If you purchase a miniature oil paint palette from my shop, you'll receive the vintage tin, 10 pieces of gray palette paper, 5 wood panels and 5 pieces of oil paper.  These are all ready to use.  For refills, I will add some wood pieces to my shop from time to time and you can also check craft stores or online art stores for supplies.  
For the paint selection, I always will recommend an artist grade oil paint.  Please do not waste your time on inferior student grade supplies.  I know they are less expensive but they are lesser quality too because there are less pigments in these paints.  Brands I have experimented with and like are M.Graham, Gamblin, Michael Harding, Williamsburg and a few Winsor Newton colors.  You will want a very limited palette because the palette paper area is small and you want to leave space for mixing your paints.  I used 7 colors here: raw umber, azo green, ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, burnt sienna, yellow ochre and titanium white.  You could certainly mix your own brown and green and leave those off your palette.

Other supplies include artist tape for sticking down the palette paper and the painting substrate.  I use very small brushes like a 0 or 2 flat brush and maybe a rigger for fine detail brush.  You don't need many brushes here because you will work small and the brush is easy to wipe off with a paper towel.  I usually draw my landscape using a brush and some paint thinned with Gamsol but for these tiny landscapes I used a pencil because the lines are finer.  You'll also need some Gamsol (odorless mineral spirits)to clean brushes and an oil medium (I use M. Graham walnut oil) if you need to thin any paints.
Here's what my Gamsol and oil medium containers look like.  Very small so that I can travel easily with them.
I'm not here to offer painting lessons because there are so many more artists more qualified but here's my routine.  I start by creating an underpainting which consists of using diluted paint (with Gamsol) to block in the main shapes.  This is like a value painting, painting in the light and dark areas.
 Creating an underpainting helps to establish the main shapes and values so you don't start painting with a blank, white canvas.
 When squeezing out color, use only a tiny dollop.  You don't need much.  I then add my skies to my painting.  This is usually my first step when adding color.
 Next I add in my darkest darks and move on to the more mid tone areas.  You can see I only need a small area to mix my paint.
 I continue painting, building up the layers and adding final details at the end.  I can complete a painting in probably 15 minutes.  When starting out, my best advice is to start small and paint often.  Using a tiny paint palette and substrates definitely helps to work small.  If you'd like to see my 100 Meadows Project, visit my Instagram page at: mishwooderson.  I took on 100 meadows in 4 months on 4 x 6 oil paper to get my oil painting jump started.
 For my inspiration, I used some previous paintings, sketches and photographs.  You can certainly work outside in nature, which is called plein air painting.  It's my favorite way to paint.
 Here's a sample of my miniature artwork.  I believe art can be made on anything and any size.  These tiny paintings are perfect for sharing with friends and relatives, other artists....or just place them in little vignettes around your home for decoration.
I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and if you're new to oil painting, I hope you give it a try.  It's not nearly as intimidating as we all make it out to be.  If you're an experienced painter, try painting small sometime. It's a perfect way to add in some shorter painting sessions and to keep your practice up.  I'll be using my little palette while hiking out in our timber, waiting in the car, at doctor appointments for my mom, on vacation.....anywhere you can set up a few supplies.  Enjoy!

May 20, 2017

How to set up a watercolor palette....

My blog post today is for those of you who have purchased a vintage watercolor palette from my shop and are wondering how to select pigments which order to place them in the palette.  Here we heavy but I try to keep the chat concise and easy to follow along. 
This is a sampling of what one of my vintage watercolor palettes look like.  I use vintage tin cigarette/cigar tins, laxative tins, old watercolor palettes, pencil cases and more. I have lots of options here.
 I glue in unfilled full or half size pans.  These are to be filled with professional grade (the best bang for your buck) watercolors that you can purchase in tubes.  I like Daniel Smith brands but experiment often with others too.
So here's my tried and true method for setting up a successful watercolor palette each and every time. My process takes out all the guess work as to whether you added the right colors in the right pans.  Start by cutting 1" square (or use a square punch) pieces of watercolor paper.  Using water and a 1/4" flat watercolor brush (Rosemary brushes are great), paint a color swatch for each color of watercolor that you have.  Label the back of the swatch with the paint color and manufacture.  You will keep these forever so don't throw them away. 
Once you have made 1" color swatches for each of your paint colors, count how many pans you need to fill in your paint palette.  I selected the colors below to fit in the palette I showed above.  You can set your other paint tubes and swatches aside. 
For storage I keep my 1" swatches in a Ziploc baggy.  I keep another baggy full of blank 1" papers because I know I'll always purchase more colors in the future.  Trust me, you'll get hooked too.  
Next I arrange and rearrange my color swatches until I reach a good layout that I want to use for my palette. Take your time with this step, it will save you so much time if you get it right the first time  you fill your empty paint pans.  Some of the pans will have two colors in one pan because less is not always more for me and I'm indecisive as heck.  Just squeeze two colors side by side.  It's okay.  Don't freak out. 
Next I trim (or tear on the table edge or use a metal ruler) a piece of watercolor paper to fit inside the palette lid.  I don't measure anything. I simply trace the lid onto the watercolor paper then tear the paper a bit smaller.  I then eyeball it and draw on the approximate divisions of the pans.  Again, I don't measure but just make tick marks with a pencil and then a straight piece of scrap paper to make the straight lines. If this makes you cringe and you need to measure and be perfect, then by all means please take the time to do that.  I'd rather get to the painting part.  
Now it's time to paint the color swatch chart that will fit inside the lid of the palette with closed (and your paints are dry).  I start by using a very fine tip waterproof fountain pen to write the color names at the bottom of each color swatch space.  This way you don't forget to leave space for the labels.  Then I paint my color swatches in the order that I laid out the 1" color swatches.  
 You can now put your 1" color swatches in your storage baggy and store away.
Next it's time to fill your palette with professional tube watercolor paints.  I usually purchase my paints online because I live in the middle of nowhere.  I like Blick Art Materials but please research your favorite local and online shops.  Daniel Smith brand fills about 99% of my palettes.  You can go to their site and see all of their pigments to make decisions on colors.

To squeeze the paints into the pans, unscrew the lid and gently squeeze the paint into the pan. You can fill the pan entirely but I have learned from experience that I like to fill the pan about 1/2 full and leave a little area unfilled.  This gives a little wiggle room for wetting down the paints and mixing your paints up.  If you decide to fill the pans all the way full let them set several hours.  You can then take a clean jar of water, dip your pinky finger in and make a small indentation into the paint.  This makes a concave well and helps the water to puddle a bit in the middle of the paint.

Allow your palette to sit open and dry for 24-48 hours.  It all depends on your climate, the brand of paints and how much paint is added.  The paint will dry pretty solid and to rewet your palette when you are ready to paint you just use a small spray bottle filled with clean water.  This reactivates the paint and you're then ready to create.  Use the palette lid for mixing colors.  Refill the paint pans as needed.  Sometimes I decide I want another shade of a blue so I just squire in whatever color I want.  I've learned that paint names don't really matter, it's what looks best for what you like to paint.
So here I have a my filled palette ready to go.  As you can see I've about used up a lot of my paint tubes.  To get the most out of the tube you can purchase paint tube wringers which squeeze out every last bit of paint.  
For storing my paint tubes, I keep them in an old metal tool box in my studio.  You don't need to keep them with your sketch kit unless you have some extra tubes you want to try. 
Here are some of my vintage watercolor palettes that I've created for different uses.  Why so many palettes?  Well I love them for one and secondly each palette was created for a specific use.  I have one for value studies, one for gouache, one for quick studies of landscapes and underpinnings, one that is a brighter color palette, etc.  Once you get into your painting, you'll know more about what colors you might like to add or what different palettes you might want.  
Beautiful right?  My hopes are that you get your palettes fill and take them from the shiny new stage to the used and abused stage like mine below.  The idea is to get creating right?  Don't be an art supply hoarder.  If you're going to buy supplies, use them! Make yourself that promise.  

You might be asking why I didn't clean up my palettes for this photo.  Don't be so quick to clean your palettes.  All those beautiful dried, swirly mixes can be rewet and might just have the perfect mix you're looking for.  I don't clean my palettes very often, I just start right where I left off.  As you can see I also have a variety of sizes and shapes of palettes.  I love collecting the old tins so check my shop often, you' never know what you'll find. 
I'll leave you with some photos of my palettes in action.  
Look at that beautiful purply pink.
So easy to transport and take outside.  Haven't tried plein air painting?  Oh you should.
Painting in my little vintage diary.
Making underpinnings on pastel paper for pastel paintings.
Using lots of sketchbooks outside.
A tiny sketchbook for quick landscape sketches.
Brighter colors for the beautiful flowers in my gardens.
Here is how one of my smaller palettes fit into my handmade travel sketch rolls.  I add these to my shop from time to time but they sell quickly.  
All of my supplies for sketching outside fit into the sketch roll and then I roll it up and secure with the attached ribbon. 
Okay, whew.  I hope this helps you get started with your beautiful art.  Please let me know if you have any other questions or if there's any subjects you'd like me to cover.  Like how to take your supplies outside to paint, how to pack them up, etc. I don't do blog posts too often but I post almost daily on Instagram.  My username is MishWooderson over there.  You can follow my Facebook page also.  Thank you so much for stopping by today and if you've purchased one of my vintage palettes from my shop, I also thank you.  Happy painting everyone! 

I've also done a previous blog post about setting up a palette.  You can check that out here.  

March 15, 2017

Shop updated today...

More items added to my shop today, lots more coming soon.  Shop link is HERE.  

March 14, 2017

Craft items for sale...

Hello friends.  I am selling a lot of my crafty stash in my shop and will be adding items daily/weekly. Please check back often for good deals on vintage items, bundles of craft items like buttons, brads, ribbon, embossing powders and more.  I'll be adding items as I get them cleaned out, grouped together and photographed.  It's a long process to go through 20 years of crafty items so items will trickle into my shop a little at a time.  Eventually I'll be adding stamp sets (Papertrey, Hero Arts, etc) and dies, patterned paper, cardstock, embellishments, wood veneer, Project Life cards and products and more!! I also have a fun selection of vintage journals, handmade watercolor palettes and my travel sketch rolls will be coming soon.  

Here's the link to my shop.  If you order multiple bundles, I will box up and ship accordingly and will refund any excessive shipping costs back to your PayPal account.

I post almost daily on my Instagram account called "mishwooderson" if you'd like to follow along there.  Hope all is well with my online friends. 

October 24, 2016

New to the shop....vintage watercolor travel palettes

My favorite way to carry my tube watercolors now is in these vintage tin palettes.  I've just added a new batch to the shop.  Just fill with your favorite tube watercolor paints. You can find them in my shop HERE.  Please follow along with my Instagram account for more recent art updates and to see what I'm up to.  My account name is MishWooderson. 

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