Making watercolor by hand


I'm back to show you some pics of my process for making handmade watercolor paint. When I was in graduate school I took a course called "Materials & Techniques" led by my favorite professor. She taught us to make painting grounds {true gesso, hide glue etc.} and all kinds of paint {watercolor, egg tempera, oil, casein, pastels, etc.} from scratch. Well as you can imagine, I loved it! I mean, look at all those jars of color! {That alone sends me, in a good way, but anyway.} It may sound silly to say but I feel connected to my "roots" when making my own paint. The colors when mixed by hand are vibrant, intense, and with watercolor I have flexibility to paint the way I want. I can control how opaque or transparent I want the paint just by adjusting the amount of medium, pigment, or water. I don't call myself a traditional "watercolorist" but I do love making paint by hand, the old fashioned way. And while it is not difficult it does take time, and that makes it even more beautiful.

Handmade watercolor begins with dry pigments, and grinding them into a glass palette with water until it forms a paste. Once the paste is blended I add a medium to bind it, gum arabic. And this grinding, mixing method is continued with each color. Once I have my 'basic' colors made I can then make further mixtures on my palette when working. While I prefer a giant piece of glass for my palette, I want to mention I have had this palette since I was a girl. I remember sitting on the beach taking watercolor lessons and trying to paint the waves. There is even still a small shrimp boat I drew on the front in pencil when I was about twelve.

Tomorrow I will share a few ideas that have been buzzing around my brain, incorporated in these new works and others. The ones you see here on my table are part of a new collection of {affordable} handmade watercolor paintings that I just added to my Gallery Store.

Thanks for reading today,