Oh my gee... This is one of those sets that I once daydreamed about but decided against because it's such a lot of money for such little tubes of paint, and who really NEEDS 24 colours anyway?? I've usually been a "primaries + black/white" kind of person, because there are other fun things to spend dollars on. And then I needed some blues because the one I had was a little sad. Then I needed some green because I got tired of mixing greens. And then some brown because I got tired of mixing browns from scratch. And now, after a boxing week sale, here we are.
I've swatched every colour (including ones I already had), and while I did already own a bunch of these, I'm just as happy to have a backup supply. The cadmium red was a bit separated so the swatch looks a bit like blood. Creepy! I've always loved magenta, but I'm suddenly digging that scarlet with the almost fluorescent pink tone.
I think I bought the manganese blue first, hoping for a primary. But it's really hard to rewet after it's dried, and just isn't that strong, you know? Not much better luck with the cobalt blue, my second purchase. Ultramarine was a free gift and was a huge improvement. The 24 set came with cerulean and phthalo, the latter being simply goorrgeeouuuss! My search for the cleanest, most "primary" blue made me pass over what might be the prettiest one so far. Mistakes aren't inexpensive, let me tell you.
When I first tried cobalt teal I was really put off by its opacity. It's like mixing colours with milk, which sent me on the blue goose chase in the first place. It did serve me very well as an interesting shade colour when I was painting plant collages. Seems like an odd choice, but it just pops! Now I like it. Green gold has to be one of the most intense colours I've ever used. It's like drinking apple juice but for your eyeballs.
I was really excited about the neutrals. They are the colours that I always need but always figured buying them was a "waste". The van dyke is just absolutely beautiful, like some particularly luxurious leather.... thing... I don't know fashion. Payne's grey is right up there as well. It's just so DARK, but makes such a pretty, blue grey when diluted. This set came with a tube of white, which I always scoffed at because the point of watercolour is transparency and glowing paper and all that. But look at the little lines on the grey swatches... they're pretty charming. I'm sure I will eat my words.
It seems like I tend to work by themes! Usually, I will be randomly inspired by a thing, and then I will milk that thing all week if I have to. This week, it seems to be cube satellites. How cute!
I didn't film these ACEOs. They are supplementary to a similar painting that I'm doing this week, because there are just too many possibilities for designs to just choose any old one and then move on! Each card features a neat little satellite, and it's hard not to give them names and personalities as you would a pet... The backgrounds resemble chunks of maps of different cities. See if you can locate them!
Here's a sketchbook peek into this week's progress. I've posted the finished ACEOs into the shop already, and the first video is done and scheduled to go up on thursday! Subscribe, if you're into that sort of thing and you haven't already.
Before 2017 ended, I maaayy have ordered a bunch of new paint, which means I'm back to searching for an appropriate palette for them. As usual, I prefer the smaller "travel type" palettes which can be hard to come by empty. Local stores typically don't carry that sort of thing. But then I noticed that people have been making little travel palettes by cutting holes in polymer clay sheets and putting them in little altoids tins.
And THEN, I fell in love with this ceramic palette, which was not only unavailable, but was also a large and open type of palette that I didn't want. Since polymer clay can be used by anyone to make anything, it didn't take long to come up with a plan.
I already had the perfect tin for it. I bought this $11 set of crayons many years ago but never really enjoyed using them. But the tin they came in was the perfect compact size, a very interesting (almost square) shape, and had a very solid fitting lid. Plus, it's metal, which means I can build my clay creation directly inside of it and throw the whole thing into the oven when ready.
While the nautilus shape I fell in love with is pretty common, it felt weird to take an idea so directly... so I decided to sit down and fill a page with ideas anyway, just in case something better came along. In the end, I still went with nautilus as it felt the right level of "challenging, yet realistic" and was what I really wanted.
It took a long time to build up this shape using clay strips (on a bottom flat layer of clay). Polymer clay sticks to itself so nicely. It's much easier than working with real clay - it doesn't dry out while you're working with it, it doesn't become "overworked" and mushy, it doesn't need to be kneaded forever, you don't need to fire it in a kiln, and you don't have to worry about it exploding in the oven. Kids can use this stuff.
Here is my first attempted palette, after it's been baked. I glued on a tiny piece of broken pottery in the "center" of the spiral. If this was a plastic palette, I probably would have built it outside the box, but just the right size to glue it into the box after it's baked. Next challenge! Heh. Each ridge is much more solid than I was expecting, so I am pretty optimistic about how well this will work after I get the paints!
I glued on a laser print of my artwork to the lid of the tin, and coated that with acrylic gel medium to protect it. Now it's a pretty, and extremely personalized paint tin. It's pretty heavy, actually. Polymer clay is not very lightweight! I am very excited, not just to use it, but to make more palettes to try out more design options! You know, for fun.
I filmed the entire process itself. You can watch me make this palette on youtube!
Hello! I'm Melissa, and here you'll find some behind-the-scenes footage of an artful life. Won't you join me?