Wet Paint

Artists' Materials & Framing in St. Paul, MN


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Minding our beeswax

I got a text last night after the store closed. It got me thinking about a couple of trends we’ve noticed that have something in common.

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Tell Alex we have wax coming out of our ears. (but we mainly sell the stuff from bees and plants)

Wax is amazing smooth sticky stuff. We carry it for scads of uses and on the main it’s pretty much all the same bee and soy waxes in different formats (power, blocks, granules). It is a removable resist for water based techniques (fiber, batik, watercolor).It’s a mixable medium and finish for oil based media. On its own you can make sculptures out of wax for 3D sketching and for castings (lost wax technique).  It’s also in all the colored pencils in some quantity.

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Hey Paige, there was a bunch of bees in here a little while ago asking for you.

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Wax is a traditional matting and stiffening agent for oil paints and finishes.

Oil painters use wax mediums like these in the paint to get a stiffer texture for brush and knife strokes and in some mixtures the result  can be burnished to a satin luster. They are available ready to use or can be prepared with basic materials and a good recipe. There is a wealth of information on cold wax technique here.  As a finishing touch wax and wax mixed with varnish are often applied to a completed painting for a similar result. Note that the wax finishes will take much longer to cure and will never be as hard, but are easily removed for cleaning. Encaustics are a kind of paint made of wax enjoying a revival ove rthe last couple of years. We wrote about them a little while ago. I think the resurgence comes with the trend of having electricity available in artists studios and also the greater availability of proper surfaces like Ampersand cradled boards.  The colors have to be used hot and most painters can now have a hot plate on their table for heating the color palette or the panel itself to keep it workable. There’s a hot wax aroma in an encaustic studio which some people dig but ventilation is suggested. Boards are the most popular surface for encaustic painting, it doesn’t bend and flex as well as oils. These paintings have a harder finish than the oil mediums and can also be burnished to a beautiful warm patina with amazing depth of color.

We have little cakes of fine beeswax and kistka (the needle used to draw the design on the eggs) on order right now for one of our most popular free demo event, Ukrainian Egg Decorating. Everyone says this particular wax smells wonderful!  We are also getting a few dozen goose and chicken eggs from a local farmer friend that will be already blown out for ornaments and display!

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We have a wonderful sample egg in our display case! Ask to see it!


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Verra’s Paper Pick of the Week: Thai Marble Momi and Japanese Ogura Lace

Thai Marble Momi

I love the feel of paper.  The tactile experience is one of my favorite things about it – so many lovely textures to soothe the senses.  I’ve always enjoyed the Thai Marble Momi group for that exact reason- it’s very fabric like and colorful.  So many swirled color combinations- this line includes 19 fabulous options.  We recently added four new colors to the range we stock…I can’t wait to start working with the one called “Tropical Reef” which has a blend of lime greens, pink, turquoise, and copper.

When you hand-tear this paper, it creates soft edges making it wonderful for any paper arts projects involving glue or layering.

Sheets are 24×36″ hand marbled in Thailand. Made from kozo and wood pulp.

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Japanese Ogura Lace

This paper is a great, fiberous lace that can be used as a collage paper.  I have found it tears easily and creates wonderful feathery edges.  I even used it as a window covering for my basement windows- I just love how it filters the light!

Sheets are available in 3 colors and are 21×31″ in size.  Machine made with manila hemp in Japan.

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verrapaperblogMy name is Verra Blough, and I have been the Paper Department Manager at Wet Paint for 25 amazing years.  Wet Paint stocks over 20,000 individual sheets and 2,000 unique styles of paper, including papers from all over the world: China, Canada, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Philippines, Portugal, Thailand, and the USA.  We have some locally made ones, too!

Whether you’re looking for a surface for drawing, painting or printmaking, or a decorative sheet for bookbinding, invitations, or collage, I have the good fortune of seeing all of them and working with many of them…it would be my pleasure to help you find the perfect paper for your project.   With that in mind, I will be  blogging about paper each week, highlighting some of my favorites, as well as some helpful hints.  Let’s get started in exploring paper!

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Fantabulous floaterframes!

We sell tons of Ampersand panels at Wet Paint…Gessobord, Claybord, Aquabord, and – of course – Unprimed Basswood (how could you miss the boxes full of ‘em on the pretty orange palettes?).  Many folks like painting on panels because they can be presented without framing…simply paint or stain the cradled edge and it’s ready to hang on the wall.  Unfortunately, this presentation method doesn’t offer any protection to the artwork.  It also doesn’t adequately distinguish the picture from the wall.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a simple, all-in-one solution that would both safeguard and support a painting made on an Ampersand panel while also making it stand out from the wall?  Well, now there is: introducing Ampersand “floaterframes!”  Designed to fit 7/8″ and 1.5″ cradles, 3/4″ canvas (and even flat panels!), floaterframes come in two profiles, three colors and five popular sizes.  These premium hardwood beauties are super easy to use…everything you need to give your artwork the finishing touch it deserves is included: all of the mounting and hanging hardware comes with each floaterframe.

Floaterframes elegantly complete those panels you’ve worked so hard on, and we’re making it easier for you to complete them: all Ampersand floaterframes are priced with an introductory  discount of 25% off!  Stop by to see all of the options…Greg even framed one of his fantastic panel paintings so you can see the magic in action!

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Verra’s Paper Picks of the Week: Decor Blossoms & Amime Lace

verrapaperblogMy name is Verra Blough, and I have been the Paper Department Manager at Wet Paint for 25 amazing years.  Wet Paint stocks over 20,000 individual sheets and 2,000 unique styles of paper, including papers from all over the world: China, Canada, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Philippines, Portugal, Thailand, and the USA.  We have some locally made ones, too!

Whether you’re looking for a surface for drawing, painting or printmaking, or a decorative sheet for bookbinding, invitations, or collage, I have the good fortune of seeing all of them and working with many of them…it would be my pleasure to help you find the perfect paper for your project.   With that in mind, I will be blogging about paper each week, highlighting some of my favorites, as well as some helpful hints.  Let’s get started in exploring paper!

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Decor Blossoms from Nepal

This paper is handmade in Nepal from the fibrous bark  of the daphne cannabina- a bushy herb commonly known as “Lokta.”  Sheets are 19.5×29.5″ and are available in 4 color combinations: Slate on Cream, Gold on Navy Blue, Gold on Sage, and Gold on Black.

This beautiful sheet can be used for many paper art applications- book arts, collage, and decoupage- or with the Slate on Cream style, just add color to it like an oversized coloring book page! You could even just hang it up as art to enjoy on your wall.

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Japanese Amime Lace

I’ve always loved clean lines, intersecting lines, and grids. The entire Amime Lace series (of 13 colors!) really speaks to me- the grid pattern and the range of colors make me very happy.  I would like to highlight a particular favorite with the “hot pink” color.  This color says summer time to me when everything in my weird world revolves around bright colors.  Who doesn’t need a little summer feeling right now?  Hot Pink Amime Lace would also be totally appropriate for your handmade valentine…ooh la la! Whatever the project, I enjoy paring up bright colors with a crisp white paper for a fresh look and adding the various colored grids to my collages to create depth.


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Add (some) Color to Daily Drawing Practice

Chris, on our staff, told me about his project last year to do one sketch a day. At first I thought, “Heck, how hard is that?” Then I tried it. After letting a couple of days get away the coin dropped and I recognized that it’s a very tough challenge. Like New Year’s resolutions to work out every day, to improve your bass guitar playing, to run three times a week, or to learn French with an app on your phone, this is about setting aside minutes every day for practice. Daily practice gets you ready for the race. One-a-day sketches will not be not 365 masterpieces. Like playing musical scales or making time for a walk or a run, hitting the minutes is the goal. The first week or so you may just be doing a few minutes each day before you are fatigued but you get stronger. The trick is trying for one more minute the next day and then more after that.

My goal is to get in 25-30 minutes of drawing practice each day and thanks to the realization that this is training, not the race, I’m finally doing it.

Here’s how I got a good start; toned paper. One of our regular customers came in to pick up a new pocket sketchbook and was showing me his cartoons and caricatures. He draws people he sees outside and in the skyways in his grey-tinted book and uses a white chalk or marker to punch things up. Then a couple of days later I saw a documentary on the Civil War that used illustrations with black and sepia conte on kraft-color brown paper with a yellow ochre rubbed into the backgrounds to pop them out. It was simple and looked good. So I got a kraft color Stonehenge pad-a small-ish one, since I was working with pencils.  To my regular assortment of regular pencils I added a white Pitt marker and made some fun little drawings. I’d do a sketch of random shapes or copy part of a picture from the newspaper and then fill the background with the white Pitt pen. The pop-out effect is like magic!  A couple of days later I added a 30% grey Prismacolor colored pencil, then a cream Conte crayon, then a silver Gelly Roll ball pen. After using white in the backgrounds I started adding dots of white in textures then highlights. (I really like the Signo white pen for those.) Also check out the amazing sketches of Don Colley for more inspiration.

The sketch pad is on the kitchen counter and it is filling up because I am picking it up and doing my drawings every day.

The other thing I realized is that even though I started after to first of the year I’m not behind schedule. A year from when I started will be January  16th. If you see me in the store ask me how it’s going and let me know how your year of sketches is coming along.

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Oh Boy! New Daniel Smith Watercolors!

Our number one line of watercolors already has more colors – and more unique colors – than anybody.  Now they have eight more and Wet Paint’s got ‘em:

  1. Rose Madder Permanent: a permanent version of the super popular, super fugitive staple of many painter’s palettes. If the organic pigments like Quinacridone are too intense, Rose Madder Permanent may be just right!
  2. Quinacridone Lilac: Speaking of intense Quinacridones…”Quin” Lilac is vivid, clean, and bright.  Less pink than Quinacridone Rose, less blue than Quinacridone Magenta, it belongs on the palette of every floral painter.
  3. Payne’s Blue-Gray: Bluer than traditional Payne’s Gray, but not as blue as Indigo, this semi-transparent is a nice substitute over black for darkening other colors.
  4. Aussie Red-Gold: This lovely, warm amber color is transparent and non-granulating.  If you like Quinacridone Gold (and who doesn’t?), you’re gonna love Aussie Red-Gold.
  5. Raw Sienna Light: More golden yellow than regular Raw Sienna, this color is reminiscent of the oil paint color Naples Yellow.
  6. Burnt Sienna Light: This beautiful earthy color is more red than Daniel Smith’s Burnt Sienna.  Previously available only in the Alvaro Castagnet set, now available to portrait painters ala carte!
  7. Lavender: This mix of three pigments is a granulating “periwinkle” blue…ideal for florals.
  8. Wisteria: A reddish lavender that’s non-granulating and non-staining.  Another useful color on the flower painter’s palette.

new-wcgs_9861-1Additionally, we’re now stocking Iridescent Gold and Pearlescent White Watercolor Grounds, too.  Folks have been asking us for the Iridescent Gold ground for years; it’s unique properties make it unlike any surface you’ve painted on before!  Transparent watercolors painted over Iridescent Gold ground take on the warm, luminous tone underneath, producing handsome glazes.  Similarly, Pearlescent White ground will impart luminosity and shimmer to the paints applied over it, but without the warm tonality.  Both grounds are semi-transparent, allowing the texture of the paper – or whatever you paint them on – to show thru.

We look forward to seeing you in the store soon!


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The Secret to Fantastic Drawing: Use More Paper

As a kid my mom would make sure my sister and I always had plenty of paper for drawing. She was a teacher so there was always a box of extra mimeographed worksheets to scribble on the backs of and, for a while, a carton of green-striped tractor-feed paper from the school office. We went through all of it. One birthday though, I received a pad of real drawing paper from the art supply store. I decided that it would be for special drawings so I set it aside until I was certain that I’d be doing a fantastic drawing.

Visiting my folks at home last fall I found that pad in a box and it is still blank.  As a kid I wasn’t confident that I’d be creating a masterpiece piece so I stuck to scrap office paper.

Since then I’ve stopped using the backs of German 101 vocab quizzes as sketch paper because I’ve learned that you shouldn’t wait to use good paper. Using better paper makes the drawing work out better. Now I get thick spiral pads with decent, toothy paper and I immediately do something fast, messy, and scribbly on the first few pages so that theres no hesitation about picking it up and adding to it and filling it up. Decent paper and not hesitating to use it is what generates fantastic drawings.

8080960Since I’ve gotten back into the store my new favorite is the 9×12 Bee 808 pad. It’s a sincere-looking, rugged, spiral-bound with 60 thick pages and a heavy board for a back cover.  And Bee makes it in the U.S., which is cool. I like the warm white color of the paper and medium surface. Spiral pads lay flat, which I prefer. It handles fine-point pens, soft pencil, and pastel nicely. It says it’s for multi-media so I’m going to get some ink and watercolor shading going soon.  My kids are each getting one with a promise to replace every full book with a fresh one.

Now thru February 10th, 2017 all pads and journals are 20% off at Wet Paint!

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Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors, Mediums and Grounds

darinheadThis blog post is written by Darin Rinne, longtime General Manager, and now co-owner of Wet Paint.

Wet Paint carries over a dozen different paint options for the oil painter.  Why so many?  We feel that it’s critical to have the tools needed for communicating every painter’s vision, and painters’ tastes in oil paint are as varied as their paintings!

Williamsburg oils are a Wet Paint staff and customer favorite. Williamsburg currently manufactures over one hundred seventy artist quality colors, many of which are unique to them…there’s something here for every oil painter, and likely more than a few surprises and “must haves!” Each pigment is milled in small batches to its own unique standard – ranging from very fine to coarse.  Some colors feel slightly gritty, while others are super smooth.  This approach preserves the range of textures that oil paints have historically had, and insures that the beauty and luminosity of each individual pigment is emphasized.

And they’re not just color…Williamsburg also offers an extensive line of mediums and grounds, too, encompassing everything from the traditional to the contemporary.

viridiancolorswatch viridianfreetubeThru February 10th, you can purchase Williamsburg at Wet Paint for the lowest price anywhere: 40% off!  If you’re already painting with Williamsburg, it’s a great time to stock up.  If you’re new to the line, it’s a great time to try it and see what the buzz is about!  Additionally (and this is huge): while supplies last, get a 37ml tube of Viridian at NO CHARGE when you purchase three tubes of Williamsburg at 40% off!  A fixture on most traditional palettes, Viridian is a semi-transparent, slightly milky green that tints to a soft, minty grey-green.  Mix it with Alizarin Crimson to achieve a muted chromatic black.  Williamsburg gives their Viridian a fine grind that imparts a velvety lusciousness.  With a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $37.29,  this is no incidental give away…don’t miss this opportunity!

Pictured: Scott Fares, Beth Bergman, and Darin Rinne


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Big News from Wet Paint

As Wet Paint enters its 41st year on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul owner Beth Bergman is excited to announce her retirement at the end of 2016. Long-time employees Darin Rinne and Scott Fares will become the new proprietors. After 33 years provisioning artists in the Twin Cities and across the country Beth intends to move to the other side of the counter and focus on making art herself.

Wet Paint is renowned for its excellent selection of over 35,000 high quality art supplies and papers and the knowledgeable staff that supports artists of all levels of intention. Located at the corner of Grand and Cambridge, Wet Paint has grown from a small storefront serving local students into a nationally and internationally recognized center for quality and expertise. In 2015 the store expanded to increase the framing department and add space dedicated to classes for kids and adults on everything from origami and printmaking to watercolor techniques and mat cutting.  Bergman and Wet Paint are both well known for their support of the arts, artists, and independent business, a distinction that will continue under Darin and Scott’s direction.

For questions please contact Scott Fares or Darin Rinne at 651 698 6431. Email: darin@wetpaintart.com, scott@wetpaintart.com.


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Gift Ideas from Wet Paint Staff

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VIRGINIA- Artist, teacher, & Programming Manager at Wet Paint

Virginia’s Gift Picks

8 and up Manuscript Dip Pens…Harry Potter fans -check out the fancy feather dip quill! Paired with a pot of the Herbin “1670” Anniversary Ink deep brown color with light red reflections and sparkling gold effect.  Add a Nostalgie sketchbook for the perfect surface to set down your dreams, doodles, magic potions and more in ink.

Teen/young adult Speedball or AKUA Monoprinting Starter Kits paired with Strathmore blank Greeting cards and envelopes. It’s easy, and everything you need to start printmaking immediately.  Plus, there’s fast clean up and a basic YouTube tutorial.  All your Valentine’s Day, party invites, and holiday card dilemmas solved! 

Family gift 12 Months of Paper 2017 calendar paired with the Awagami Washi Packs and you have an instant monthly family or friends night activity all year (excellent instructions and video help included).  Why not add a gift card to Wet Paint? Plus, it is light to ship too.

 

 

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MEG –Painter, illustrator, metalsmith, & Wet Paint Floor Manager

Meg’s Gift Picks

For the art appreciator:

This handsome desktop calendar features reproductions of vintage prints by master printmaker Serizawa Keisuke. A perfect gift for the one who appreciates beautiful objects and loves staying organized!
For the young artist: 
The Faber-Castell My World of Art activity kit comes with over 90 pieces to create and customize your own globe! It’s a perfect blend of educational and creative, and will yield results any youngster will be proud to display.
The beginning painter:
The Liquitex Basics Acrylic Tin is the perfect setup for a beginning painter.  It’s a great selection of colors at an amazing price!  Pair it with our Intro to Acrylics class happening in January to get the aspiring painter well on their way!
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LIZ –Watercolorist, illustrator, teacher, & Wet Paint Salesperson

Liz’ Gift Picks
For any artist
These items together make the perfect gift for any artist. Just add water for hours of fun or studious value studies. ArtGraf is a medium you can draw and paint with!