Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Paint Boxes

I love paint boxes... ever since I was old enough to have my first Crayola paint set (and then a Crayola "Caddy" once a year for several years, thereafter), I have never ceased to take delight in opening a paint box and seeing those little jewels of colour laid out within.

Earlier this year, when I took up watercolour painting again, I dug out my various paint boxes and set about preparing a field / sketch / plein air kit. Most of the artist's quality paint manufacturers make a vast array of travel and field paint boxes or paint sets, suitable for every occasion. I own several, of which Winsor & Newton are likely the best-known brand.

I like metal paint boxes, and so I have recently been looking at buying an empty box with the idea of filling it with full or half-pans myself, but nothing had caught my eye - until I found some wonderful metal paint boxes on the Natural Pigments website!

Natural Pigments formulate artist's watercolour and oil paint using rare, traditional pigments, which make for a more subdued, classical palette (you won't find Quinacridone Magenta here). The Natural Pigments paint brand is Rublev, and I was excited to see Rublev Watercolors pre-packaged in heavy duty enamel paint boxes - here was a perfect opportunity to get the metal paint boxes I wanted, and also experiment with a different type of watercolour paint in a classical palette.

I went a little overboard and ordered three paint boxes, two are shown below:
  • J.R. Cozens Travel Palette
    A muted and warm palette comprised of 8 half-pans (box can accommodate 12 half-pans), in a black enamel Bijou-style paint box with an built-in water bottle (35ml), integrated water dish and two mixing wells inside the lid. (I was ecstatic to find this paint box, as I have admired the W&N version for some time.)
  • 18th Century Palette
    A beautiful and natural palette comprised of 12 full-pans, this large paint box has a flip-out mixing area as well as four mixing wells in the lid.
  • Introductory Palette
    An expanded natural palette comprised of 16-half pans, this paint box also has a flip-out mixing area, and three mixing wells in the lid. (Not pictured.)
All of the Rublev boxes have a thumb-loop and v-clips to secure the pans - they are very well-made and sturdy. As I already have my W&N Bijou Box for an 8 half-pan palette, I decided to modify the Cozens palette slightly:
I replaced an earth red, plus the blue ochre and black for paints with broader mixing capabilities, as well as adding a couple of essentials.

(PS: That travel paint box really *is* as adorable as it looks!)

Drawing: Keem Bay, Ireland

A half-finished drawing from class this week. We focused on creating a tonally-correct value drawing from which we will paint from next week.