Taking Pigment Advice

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  • I just posted a money saving cautionary tale — at least it was for me.  The long version is on my blogpost, where I give examples of my bottom line:

    If an artist who writes well or has popularity or is even your teacher tells you that this or that color is a necessity in your palette, do two things:

    1) Look at their work and see if they paint in a manner to which you aspire!
    Bright color palette? Muddy?
    Realism? Graphic?
    Portraits? Landscapes?
    We are not talking good or bad art, but their style —
    do their colors and style appeal to your creative impulses?

    2) Look at the other options in that color range to see if there is one that has more appeal for you, as there is rarely a gotta-have-that-one-pigment!

    well said Kate, it’s so tempting to get all the supplies talked about by a mentor but you can end up inundated with supplies you don’t use!

    I tend to want to try it all, lol but I’ve learned to check those pigment index numbers and research the characteristics of a paint.   Mostly.  Have to admit I’ve bought on impulse and lived to regret it later.

    Sage advice!

    That’s so well said! I’m still building my palette , I’m following many watercolor artists, took some classes too and it’s easy to get overboard. I already end up with few similar colors in my palette because I didn’t do my research well enough! This is a great advise…thank you!

    Great blog post! I’ve definitely gone down this road as well. After many instances of “this will be my final palette selection, so it’s worth the extra investment now”, I’ve stopped adding paints after every new book I read or tutorial I watch. Even if I love the artist’s style and everything about their technique, I have come to realize even if I love it, it may not be something I will create myself.  I’ve even clamped down so far as to wait a few months after testing and thinking I actually need a new color to MAAAYBE purchase it. I’ve been sitting on getting Sap Green now for like half a year. I have a sample, I’ve used it, but do I NEED it? Along your own preferences, Kate, the purchases I’m less likely to regret are the transparent colors I’ve added. Thanks for sharing, this advice is always great to hear, and talk down the inner art supply hoarder in us all. Haha

    I should stop buying paints for a while at least, but I have to say that I don’t believe I’ve ever totally regretted buying any of them.  I might wish they hadn’t cost so much, and decide not to make the purchase again, but I always feel I’m expanded my repertoire so to speak, and found learned something from each purchase.

    I really like to experiment, and want to be able to switch styles at will, so I know I come at this differently than most. I can’t imagine staying with just one set of colors.

    I have to agree with you there Sandra. I don’t mind having variations of colors. On most accounts, I don’t “regret” per say, so maybe that was a bad choice of wording on my part. It’s usually a mixture of hoping to find a new use for a color that didn’t pan out for the use I bought it for or wishing I could have used the money from that purchase (that I may not be immediately using) for another color/supply.

    In the case of stubborn colors (Roasted French Ochre (DS), Viridian (DS), Davy’s Grey (WN) to name a few) I feel like I’d wished I’d know how hard they are to use. Yes the color is nice, but they don’t easily rewet so I need to be prepared to squeeze them fresh or scrub the pan.

    So maybe not regret, but I feel bad not immediately using (or enjoying) the paints I spend money on. But it is a nice feeling indeed when I do find a new use for a color I’d previously been disappointed in or replaced. 🙂

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