Wet Paint

Artists' Materials & Framing in St. Paul, MN


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If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be write

The holidays are the perfect time to give the gift of fine writing…at the very least you can expect a hand written thank you from your friend, colleague or loved one!  We’ve been emphasizing both classic and contemporary pens & pencils at Wet Paint all this year…Scott and I have searched the world over to provide a fun, comprehensive selection for you.  We brought that emphasis to our Holiday Catalog, where we’re featuring a bunch of our favorite utensils…let’s turn the spotlight on a few of them:

resinpensIt hardly gets more classic than Manuscript’s “1856” resin barreled fountain pens.  The translucent resin almost seems to glow from inside, with pattern and light ebbing & flowing as the pen moves.  The medium-sized, steel handwriting nib glides smoothly over the page, applying ink from either a universal cartridge or a converter (both included).  We brought in our three favorite colors: “Northern Lights” – a deep pearlescent blue with yellow marbled stripes…it reminded us of the Wet Paint colors; “Red Storm” – a fiery red with swirling white patterns; and “Oyster Mist” – a handsome ivory colored pen with striations that look like a museum-quality geological discovery.  The person that gets one of these is gonna smile every time they use their pen!  Each 1856 comes packaged in a gift box.  And – did I mention they’re on sale?

If the “1856” is a little too formal, may I suggest Caran d’Ache’s “849 Series” metal barreled fountain pens?  The bold, rounded-edge hexagonal barrels are made of aluminum…they look heavier than they actually are.  Both the barrel and the stainless steel nib are super durable; the pens boast a lifetime warranty for a reason!  The calling card of the “849,” though, is the barrel colors: a range of “can’t miss ‘em” fluorescents; sleek, glossy, contemporary white; and matte, industrial-looking black or blue.  The decision to get one is easy, deciding which one to get is the hard part.  To make it easier, they’re on sale – so you can get more than one.

Blackwing Pencils continue to be hugely popular at Wet Paint.  The smooth, dark graphite lines…the distinctive square ferrule that holds the distinctive (and refillable!) square eraser…the unique, “blink & you’ll miss them” limited edition themed pencils…dreamy!  With this in mind, we brought in two great gift ideas for the Blackwing enthusiast: the Pencil Roll and the Desk Set.  The former is a durable, waxed canvas roll that comes with five pencils and has space for a pad and a sharpener (not included).  (Speaking of pads…we just received some brand new blank and dot grid books from Blackwing…just sayin’.)  The Desk Set comes with eight of each “standard style” Blackwing pencil – 24 pencils in all – plus a coveted long-point sharpener.  This bounty is packaged in the most handsome pear wood box that you’ve ever seen.  Wow, would that box look nice on somebody’s desk.

 

Lamy Gift Sets aren’t in the catalog…but they’re a super good deal, so I will tell you about them.  These sets pair a dashing Filofax notebook with a Lamy fountain pen: choose a red notebook with White Safari (extra fine nib); a magenta notebook with a Black Purple Safari (fine nib); or a lime green notebook with a super rare Charged Green Al Star (extra fine nib).  They’re already in a box appropriate for gifting…your work is done!

Also not in our catalog, but really new and really cool, is the William Mitchell Mapping & Drawing pen with reversible nib.  The short, plastic quill-style nib holder conceals a hidden super-fine metal nib…flip it around when you’re ready to write or draw; flip it back when you’re done.  No more broken nibs or poked fingers!  Now you just need a bottle of ink to dip the pen in…

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Oh, look at that: it’s Herbin’s new “1798” Amethyste De L’Oural ink…right on cue!  This deep, rich purple ink has an appealing silvery lustre…perfect for shimmery, hand-lettered highlights or penning your Minnesota Vikings dream season remembrances.  “Amethyste” is the first in a series of new ink colors that will make up the Jacques Herbin 1798 Collection…get in at the beginning!  The jars themselves are as beautiful as the ink.


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Who’s a cute Acryla tin?

The dust has finally settled on fall back-to-school and preparations for our annual Holiday Catalog…now there’s time to show off the catalog and all of the cool stuff we packed into it!  I will try to highlight one or two of the products we’re thinking about each week thru the end of the sale, so watch this space, as well as our Instagram and Facebook posts.

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Holbein Acryla Gouache Custom Set Color Mixing Grid by Anna Miller

This week’s “star of the show” is the item we’re most excited about in the whole catalog: our exclusive Holbein Acryla Gouache Set.  Everyone loves Acryla…it’s the gouache that dries permanent like acrylic and the acrylic that is velvety matte like gouache.  It has no color shift from wet to dry, and it’s totally mixable with other gouache, other acrylic, or pretty much any other water-based media you can think of.  And the color palette is large and unique…there’s colors in Acryla that you won’t find in any other paint line.  In fact, this was the catalyst for our exclusive set: combining a range of bread & butter primaries with best-selling, esoteric colors like Ice Green and Horizon Blue.  We think the super sale price for the eighteen 20ml colors alone is enough to make this custom kit a homerun…but wait, there’s more!

 

To make our set extra special, Holbein North America imported these fantastic, cylindrical metal tins – embellished inside & out with the illustrations of Japanese artist Yuko Higuchi – to package the paint.  Durable and eye-catching, these tins have just enough room to add six more of your favorite 20ml Acryla colors…there’s even a color chart included to help you choose your favorites!

If you’re thinking ahead to gift-giving season, consider this paint set for the graphic designer/illustrator/watercolorist/architect/wood carver on your list…it’s only available at Wet Paint!

Plus, check out the little video we made about this awesome set!


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Queen for a day

We’ve just wrapped up our big Sidewalk Sale and the fabulous Painting Best Practices workshop (thanks again to George and Tatiana from Natural Pigments and Jim and Sarah at The Art Academy!), and now we have a minute to catch our collective breath before the craziness of back to school is upon us.  What better time to reflect on all the cool, new stuff that’s arrived at Wet Paint recently?

In 1949, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands – an artist as well as a monarch – made her favorite Dutch paint manufacturer, Talens, “Royal.” The Queen felt that Talens shared the same passion for producing color as artists have for producing artwork, so she made their nobility official!  Wet Paint has no such authority, but we are very excited about the new Royal Talens products that are arriving:

– The 46 brilliant colors of Amsterdam Acrylic Ink are highly pigmented ink, extremely lightfast, and waterproof when dry. It has been flying off the shelf since it showed up a few weeks ago. Check out this teaser video to see why.

Ecoline Liquid Watercolor just arrived. The brilliant, dye-based colors are super intense, super transparent, and – of course – super water-soluble.  Super sweet 30ml glass bottles enhance the presentation.

– To go along with the Liquid Watercolor, we’ve also brought in new Ecoline Brush Pens (the display is en route to Wet Paint at press time). These contain the same Ecoline Watercolor in a hearty, economical brush pen that’s great for making sweeping, gestural marks or teeny tiny details.  Can’t wait!

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One of the big hits from our Holiday Sale was a series of Paper Toys books from Ginkgo Press.  We just received a huge order of these and there are new titles!  These interactive craft books allow children (or the young at heart) to pop out and build their own paper toys. Each volume in the series is designed by a different talented artist, lending a stylized look to their fanciful creations.  Animals, Monsters, Robots, and Fantasy Creatures, themes are now joined by Super Heroes and Speed Demons. Printed on durable cardstock and die-cut, each toy is easy to assemble with no glue or scissors needed.

So many new pens! Here’s a rundown:

– We’ve already sold out of our first order of Pilot Kakuno fountain pens, but – never fear – we got more. This simple, beginners fountain pen is a favorite of new and seasoned writers alike.

Pentel’s Libretto matching rollerball pen and pencil set makes the perfect gift for the sophisticated professional and the conscientious student alike. These nicely weighted utensils feature sleek metal barrels available in three colors and accented in elegant silver trim.

– Also from Pentel, the Tradio refillable fountain pen (not to be confused with the Tradio non-refillable fountain pen) is a stylish and sophisticated, yet affordable, writing & drawing tool. The medium size stainless steel nib allows the ink to flow with smooth control.  The Tradio accepts your favorite International style cartridge, so the world’s your oyster when it comes to ink colors!

Blackwing Pencil fans, come on down…we just received a very limited number of the new Blackwing 73. The 73 features a silver ferrule, a white eraser, and a vivid blue finish with a raised texture that mimics the topography of Lake Tahoe. The number 73 references Lake Tahoe’s last measured Secchi depth (a unit to measure clarity) of 73 feet. The 73 has the soft graphite found in other Blackwing pencils.

You know what would go nicely with your new, blue Blackwing 73? How about a new Hahnemuhle Skizze pad with an eye catching blue rooster on the cover? We’ve got ‘em in two paper weights, two sizes, and gummed or spiral bound. Nice paper, nice look…perfect for sketching at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.  Also check out the new hardbound Hahnemuhle watercolor books and Grey Books, the plain or ruled Diary Flex, and the back-in-stock-at-Wet Paint Quattro square watercolor blocks.

Our friends at Tara Fredrix have launched their latest and greatest new idea: toned canvas in pads and panels. Now you have more time to paint…no need to tone your own canvas first!  Available in four “go to” colors in a variety of sizes.

Strathmore has added three new titles to their popular “Learning Series” instructional books: Textures in Colored Pencil, Draw Nature with Colored Pencil, and Hand Lettering Basics. The Strathmore Learning Series incorporates step-by-step art lessons, developed by the most popular art instructors, into a pad of quality Strathmore paper. Online video tutorials for each pad create an integrated learning experience that help beginning and experienced artists explore a new art style.

Lastly, the biggest, newest single item at Wet Paint is already almost sold out – the Botanical Illustration set of Schmincke Horadam ½ pan watercolors. Based on the overwhelming response, our friend Marilyn Garber picked some good colors!  If you haven’t already picked one of these up, run – don’t walk – to your phone, screen, or transportation device!

So…no official proclamations imbuing royalty, just lots of excitement around the new creative supplies at Wet Paint!


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Is That a Pencil in Your Pocket?

There’s been a lot of attention paid in the media to the pushback against digital tablets in favor of, well, tablets.  It seems that more and more folks are discovering (or rediscovering) the appeal of making marks on paper.  And while you hear a lot about all the different kinds of notebooks out there, the tools that are doing the actual writing and drawing are sometimes less recognized.  What better way to “fix” that (pun intended and explained below) than to cast a discerning and appreciative eye on our old friend, the humble pencil?

IMG_6447For many people, a pencil has a wooden, yellow barrel with a pink eraser on top.  That describes Dixon’s Ticonderoga, amongst others, and we’ve got ‘em at Wet Paint.  We’ve also got lots of pencils specifically made for drawing.  Artist-grade pencils are like the fancy cousins of the “yellow pencil”…they’re related, in that they have lead encased in a wooden barrel.  The big difference is the very high quality lead they contain and the fact that this lead comes in a bunch of different hardnesses (see the guide below), allowing the artist to make a range of marks from smudgy dark to scratchy light.  Caran d’Ache produces a remarkable artists’ graphite pencil called Grafwood – 15 hardnesses of the nicest graphite you’ve ever used.  Czech company Koh-I-Noor is credited with the creation of the graphite pencil we know today…Wet Paint stocks their Toison D’or line of artists’ pencils.  We also carry high quality pencils from German Faber Castell, Austrian Cretacolor and English Derwent.

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Sometimes a pencil is that thing that clicks when you push down on the eraser and lead comes out.  Those are known as mechanical pencils and we’ve got tons of those, too.  Modern mechanical pencils are available in four standard lead sizes – .3mm, .5mm, .7mm and .9mm – and a variety of lead hardnesses (though not as many as artists’ pencils).  Pentel’s new Orenz actually comes in a teeny tiny .2mm, but it’s the exception!  One of our favorite new mechanical pencils is the OHTO SHARP .5mm wooden mechanical pencil.  It looks like a small, regular pencil, but it clicks!  Available in three appealing colors…I think everybody on staff owns at least one of them!

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The architects and engineers reading this may have their hands in the air at this point, because there are also mechanical style pencils that hold larger lead sizes than the four I mentioned above.  Lead holders, as these are called, accept lead sizes from 2mm to 5.6mm.  This heartier lead is perfect for the demands placed on it by makers…of buildings and art.  One of our most popular lead holders is the Fixpencil (remember my pun?) from Caran d’Ache.  Available in several lead sizes, color accents, and surfaces, the Fixpencil combines workman-like durability with sleek Swiss design…they are very handsome tools.

Back to the basic yellow pencil.  Some of our favorite writing tools are essentially “regular” pencils, just more stylish.  The Blackwing pencil, for instance, only comes in a few different hardnesses, but in a multitude of limited edition finishes and colored barrels.  The unique square ferrules and replaceable erasers make them stand out from the crowd.  Speaking of standing out, my favorite #2 pencils of all time have to be the Viarco Vintage series pencils.  Both pencils and packaging are faithful reproductions of Viarco products from the 1940s to the 1970s. These boxes are so authentic, a slip of paper had to be added to accommodate a bar code! These six unique 12-pencil boxes are designed in Portugal using long-established production methods, and the quality you’ve come to expect from Viarco.  They are almost too fantastic to use.

Oh, and we’ve got notebooks, too….


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Thinking About Hard Edge Abstraction This Week

Great friend and customer, Dr. Michael Path, dropped by Wet Paint yesterday with a beautiful monograph he’d told me about on a previous visit.  Somehow I had never heard of the California abstractionist John McLaughlin (1898-1976), but seeing the reproductions in Dr. Path’s book made me excited to see the paintings in person.  As it turns out, I could have seen a bunch of them at the recent LACMA exhibition…if I had known about it before it closed on the 16th of April (and I was in Los Angeles).  Rats!

A show I also would have liked to have seen in person was the Carmen Herrera show at The Whitney last winter.  Herrera is another artist that I – and apparently many others – hadn’t heard of prior to her highly acclaimed career retrospective, even though she’s been working consistently for over 60 years, and continues producing new paintings at age 101.

Besides being largely ignored, then rediscovered, by the mainstream art establishment, McLaughlin and Herrera share another thing in common: their work falls into the category of “Hard Edge” painting.  This term was first used by curator Jules Langsner in his catalog introduction to the show Four Abstract Classicists at The San Francisco Museum of Art in 1959 (McLaughlin was one of the four painters exhibited).  Although the phrase was coined in the mid-century, this style of non-figurative, geometric abstraction dates back to the early twentieth century in the paintings of Hilma af Klint, Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian and Josef Albers.  The heyday of Hard Edge painting & sculpture, though, was definitely the late 1950’s thru the mid 1970’s as romantic Abstract Expressionism fractured into “cooler” movements, notably Pop, Mimimalism, Light & Space, and Hard Edge.  Artists like Frank Stella. Kenneth Noland, Anne Truitt, Ellsworth Kelly and Jo Baer created their signature abstract works at this time.

As the recent McLaughlin and Herrera shows demonstrate, there continues to be great interest in geometric abstraction, and a new generation anxious to relearn and reinterpret the modes associated with it.  German born Tomma Abts, the first woman to win the Tate’s prestigious Turner Prize, is perhaps the best known of a new wave of artists interpreting Hard Edge with a contemporary eye (check out her sculpture at the Walker the next time it’s on exhibit).  Closer to home, Lisa Nankivil, Ann Pibal, Ruben Nusz, and Melanie Pankau (all with connections to Minneapolis) are creating art that has traditional Hard Edge painting at its root, but all four are taking their work in unique and exciting directions.

NIJT-Nichiban-251-TapeEvidenced by the breadth of approaches from just the handful of artists above, there is no one Hard Edge style or technique.  There’s also no one particular material required for creating hard edge art.  That said, there are a few supplies that we’ve seen artists return to over & over.  The “edge” in Hard Edge usually arrives from masking one area from another, and our favorite thing to do that with is Nichiban Masking Tape from Japan.  As our friend Roz Stendahl once said: “This tape is so good, it should have its own name (besides masking tape).”  Super thin (no “ridge” to your “edge”), fantastically adhesive, and easy & clean to remove, if you use tape anywhere in your painting practice, you should use Nichiban.  Eliminating the “hand” of the artist – the gestural brushstrokes associated with a more expressionistic approach – is a hallmark of many Hard Edge paintings.  Golden Artist Color’s Self Leveling Clear Gel produces an even, transparent film when added to acrylic paint, so your color fields are smooth and distraction-free.  Finally, unlike our sister stores on the coasts, we don’t have as many canonical artists dropping by for paint.  30-ArtistTubesGRPHowever, we have supplied two famous Hard Edge painters and both chose the same paint: Lascaux Artist Acrylic.  Seemingly every acrylic says it has a creamy, oil-like consistency, but Lascaux really delivers…gorgeous color that handles like a dream.

 

I hope that, like Dr. Path and me, you find inspiration in the work of these artists.  I look forward to seeing you at Wet Paint soon!


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Wax on, wax off

Encaustic, a mixture of wax, pigment, and resin, is unlike any other paint…it’s not wet or dry, it’s hot or cold.  This makes it easy to start, stop, modify, and layer.  Encaustic does require a little more preparation than other paints – you need a heat source to warm it and decent ventilation for dispersing the fumes & gasses (generated when you heat something).  However, once you’re set up, the painting possibilities are nearly limitless.  It can be polished to a high gloss, carved, scraped, layered, collaged, dipped, cast, modeled, sculpted, textured, and combined with oil paint. It cools immediately, so that there is no drying time, yet it can always be reworked. Besides its versatility, encaustic is also very durable.  Wax is a natural preservative, so it protects its substrate.  It’s also very flexible, so it won’t crack or chip.  Just don’t leave your wax-based painting in the back seat of your car in August after you’ve been rejected from the State Fair…I’m not saying that happened to me or anything.

Painting with pigment & wax is a practice that dates back to antiquity.  The Greeks were painting their ships with wax as early as the Fifth Century BC…first to waterproof them, then – adding pigment – to decorate them.  The process of painting with encaustic reached its apex in the paintings that are known as the Fayum Mummy Portraits.  Beginning in the 1st Century AD, panels bearing the likeness of the deceased – painted in encaustic –  were mounted to the bands of mummified bodies prior to burial in Roman occupied Egypt.  This practice continued for nearly 300 years, until cultural and economic changes brought on by the fall of the Roman Empire – as well as cheaper, more immediate paint options – led to its disuse.  Encaustic mostly languished in obscurity until curious 18th Century antiquarians rediscovered the paint of the ancients.

Encaustic painting has had a real renaissance in the greater Saint Paul/Minneapolis area over the last dozen years.  A huge part of that can be traced back to our old friend – and accomplished encaustic painter – Jeff Hirst.  Many artists have had their introduction to painting with wax in workshops in Jeff’s Northeast Minneapolis studio.  These folks have gone on to become notable encaustic painters and instructors themselves, including former Wet Painter Jean Wright (who just taught a sold out class of her own at Wet Paint a few weeks ago).  If you want to turn out good like Jean, get yourself enrolled in one of Jeff’s workshops here…they’re all over the country!  Back to classes at Wet Paint: Saint Louis based artist Julie Snidle will be back this summer to teach her hugely popular encaustic, cold wax, and Pigment Stick classes.  If you haven’t signed up yet, you should…Julie’s classes have never not sold out!  Finally, if you don’t live nearby, but are interested in hot wax, Saint Paulite Clare O’Neill teaches online encaustic workshops at photoencaustic.com…check ‘em out!

RFhandmadePaints__beauty_cakesAnother fun thing about encaustic right now?  We just unpacked a box with twelve brand new encaustic colors from R&F in “easy-to-try” 40ml size blocks.  Check ‘em out here!  These join their “big brothers,” R&F’s 104ml encaustic blocks, and Enkaustikos Hot Cakes, in the encaustic department.

RFhandmadePaints__pigmentsticks_beauty_1Earlier, I mentioned Pigment Sticks and cold wax.  Let’s say you like the look & feel of encaustic, but the heat & ventilation are a problem.  Great news: there’s cold wax and Pigment Sticks!  Cold wax is a medium and finish used with oil paint to achieve encaustic-like effects without the heat.  Simply mix a little color in to your cold wax medium and apply to your substrate with a knife of brush and…mmmm, satiny lustre!  Wet Paint stocks cold wax medium from Gamblin, Williamsburg, Dorland’s and Michael Harding…we should have the right one for you!  R&F’s Pigment Sticks are an oil paint & wax combo in easy-to-use, easy-to-hold sticks.  Paint with ‘em directly on your substrate just like drawing with crayons, or use traditional painting tools to apply the color.  We have 102 colors of gestural lusciousness in two sizes.  Wanna get hooked?  Go see Joyce Lyon’s beautiful paintings at Groveland Gallery or watch this enticing video of Charles Forsberg. Both cold wax and Pigment Sticks can be integrated into either your encaustic or oil painting process.  Once you’ve introduced wax into your painting, though, it’s best to continue using it.

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Wet Paint is your “go-to” source for wax-based painting supplies and instruction!  Besides everything mentioned above, we also stock Enkaustikos Wax Snaps & HotSticks, mediums & waxes from Enkaustikos, R&F and Jacquard, and Encausticbords from Ampersand.  If you haven’t tried using wax/encaustic, I can’t recommend it enough.  There’s a real romance to the process and the results…the tactile qualities of the paint alone are worth the price of admission.


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So Many Things!

We’re getting new creative supplies almost daily after our trip to the art materials trade show in Salt Lake City…here are a few of the exciting things that have already arrived:

rublevRublev Colours Artist Oils from Natural Pigments are unlike any other brand of oil paints today. Why? One reason is that they use genuine natural and historical pigments like those used by the old masters. Most of these pigments are not found in other brands. Another reason is that Rublev Colours Artist Oils are made as all oil colors were before modern tube colors—without additives.  Rublev Oils contain only pigment and oil. They are formulated to maintain the specific characteristics of each pigment, so the character found in each 50ml tube is unique due to the pigment inside. We’re thrilled to have Rublev in stock in time for the three day Oil Painting Best Practices workshop in June, taught by George O’Hanlon and Tatiana Zaytseva of Natural Pigments.  It’s the only time the workshop will be offered in the Saint Paul/Minneapolis area, so don’t miss this opportunity!

fabrianoStudio Watercolor Pads from Fabriano While supplies last, you can get an 11×14” 50 sheet pad of either hot press or cold press Fabriano Studio 140# watercolor paper for only $19.99 (list price $54.95). Not a dream, not a misprint…this amazing deal will not last long.  Studio paper is acid free, with a high cotton content and both internal & external sizing.  You will love it and your art supply budget will, too!

Viarco Vintage Collection Pencils These beauties were one of our absolute favorites from the show, and they are just arriving as of this writing. Both pencils and packaging are faithful reproductions of Viarco products from the 1940s to the 1970s.  Designed in Portugal using long-established production methods, and the quality you’ve come to expect from Viarco.  They are almost too fantastic to use.  Choose from six unique 12 pencil boxes, but don’t wait…there’s a very limited number available.

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guerrillaGuerrilla Painter Campaign Box The Campaign Box™ is an alternative to the traditional pochade box or French easel. Think of it as a portable taboret that mounts on almost any standard camera tripod. It provides more work space, a large center area for a palette, two storage compartments under the slide out palettes, and brush rests. The Campaign Box™ easily attaches to the legs of any standard tripod with adjustable clamps. Shown pictured with Guerrilla’s tripod mounted #17 Flex Easel™…it goes great with a Guerrilla Watercolorbord, too. We have this set up at the front of the store…stop by for a test drive!

Richeson Transparent Marble White Oil Paint This safflower oil and marble dust combination produces a slow drying, transparent white that can be used to extend your oil colors while subtly tinting them. We’ve just received a stack of 5oz tubes of this versatile & useful white…we’re sure it will become a staple on your palette.richesonoilpromo

padsjournalsTons of New Pads & Journals Fun ‘n’ fancy new cover styles in Michael Roger Press Decomposition Books; brand new Nepalese soft cover books with dots & chevrons, mermaids and cats; cool new Moleskine “Two Go” books with alternating lined & blank pages, plus blank and lined books featuring handsome chevron pattern fabric covers; attractive lined and blank books from France with classic “Parisian-style” art covers; plus new colorful cover ranges from Rhodia and Legion (including new Stonehenge Aqua blocks).

djecoActivity Kits from Djeco Back by popular demand, these themed creative kits from France are designed by artists from around the world. Choose from a bunch of new, uniquely intriguing projects, including collage, paper crafts, drawing, silk painting and more.

JAC9515-Jagua-BoxJacquard Jagua Temporary Tattoo Kits Bluish-black temporary tattoo ink made from fruit juice, jagua has been used by indigenous peoples of the Amazon for thousands of years to create body art. Safe, non-toxic and 100% natural, Jacquard’s Jagua tattoos last 1-2 weeks and LOOK LIKE A REAL TATTOO! Apply to any part of the body to express yourself, fool your friends or test drive tattoo ideas!

cutethingsSuper Cute Stuff: New styles of Nepalese garlands (decorate your home!); tons of new Japanese stickers (Whales & cats! Ninjas! Sumo wrestlers & cats! Sushi…& cats!); Fancy Fox Light from Creativity For Kids (decoupage a real lamp!)

That’s a lot of stuff, and there’s still a bunch more on the way. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and this blog for all of our updates.  Teaser: there are two really big events in May that you won’t want to miss hearing about!


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Step up your oil paint palette and your charitable giving…in one fell swoop!

We’re very excited to announce that Wet Paint is partnering with Pygmalion’s Art Supplies in Bloomington, Indiana and Gamblin Artist Colors in Portland, Oregon to bring you a wonderful opportunity.  For the past seven years, John Wilson, the owner of Pygmalions, has worked with local artists and the paintmakers at Gamblin to create limited edition oil colors that are only available thru Pygmalion’s…until now.

While supplies last, you can get caught up on the last few years of these limited edition colors. We have 37ml tubes of “Cat’s Tail” (2015), “Saffron” (2016), and “Red Rhino Red” (2017) at Wet Paint for only $8.95/tube (read more about each color below)!

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And – as if custom Gamblin colors isn’t enough – Wet Paint will follow Pygmalion’s lead and 100% of the proceeds from the sale of these colors will be donated to a local non-profit.  The Art Department of LEAP High School in Saint Paul  is dedicated to serving students who are new to the United States and are learning English while earning a high school diploma. As an alternative high school, LEAP High School enrolls students up to age 20 and provides an educational opportunity beyond the offerings provided in traditional high schools.

leaphsAt LEAP a special emphasis is given to acquiring language skills through the study of art. Students in visual art classes at LEAP learn the language of art through drawings, paintings, prints, and sculpture. They study works of art, nature, architecture and the environment.  They also use creative and thematic ideas related to their individual experience and interpretation in creating their own work. Students are encouraged to reflect on their native country’s traditions, landscape and architecture and communicate them visually and verbally. Many of the images posted on their website reflect their students’ personal experiences as well as their knowledge and experience in demonstrating their traditional art forms.

TAILCat’s Tail is a transparent red created by Autumn Bussen, an MFA Painting candidate at Indiana University.  For this custom color, John Wilson asked his customers to vote from a list of color names and Cat’s Tail won by a landslide.  After choosing the name, a contest was held to create the color that went with it.  Bussen’s winner combines a dark maroon mass tone with a warm, earthy undertone…great on its own or as a versatile mixer.

SAFFRONSaffron is a unique, opaque Naples Yellow-like color created by Mitch Raney, an MFA Painting candidate at Indiana University in Bloomington.  Saffron is a spice made from the stamens of crocus flowers.  In its natural form, it is a reddish brown color, but when cooked it becomes a beautiful golden yellow that can color other ingredients in a recipe, as well as adding flavor.  Each tube is decorated with a picture of a crocus flower drawn by IU Printmaking student Bethany Lumsdaine.

RHINORed Rhino Red is a semi-transparent mixture of three different red pigments.  It is a chromatic red color that biases pink, like a crimson lake.  Phil Cardenas created the color, and Raphael Cornford drew the rhino used for the logo.  Both Cardenas and Cornford are accomplished Bloomington artists, as well as Pygmalion’s employees.


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Water Soluble Drawing Materials…Like Watercolor Without the Commitment!

Drawing is fun.  If you’re reading this, you’ve probably done it all your life!  I liked to draw as a kid, like many kids do.  On a trip to the Ben Franklin, I begged my mom for a set of crayons that the package told me could be activated with a wet brush…just like paint.  What could be better than watercolor you can draw with, I thought.  The world is a wonderful place!  Imagine my crushing disappointment when I got home and my new crayons did not perform as advertised…they weren’t even a little water soluble!  It obviously still haunts me.  I’m happy to report that Wet Paint has a bunch of top notch drawing materials that play nicely with water…we’re not gonna wreck a little kid’s day (or a big kid’s, either!).

Painting with watercolor is hard.  It’s very immediate – like drawing – but there’s no backsies.  It’s transparent and – mostly – not removable.  The beauty of working with water soluble drawing materials is that they’re easier to “fix”…you have the option to use water, but you don’t have to.  Draw dry and leave it be if you want.  But – if you want to activate part (or all) of your drawing with a painterly flourish – go for it.  You can move & blend  as much or as little as you want, in a very controlled way.  It truly is like watercolor without the commitment (thanks to my friend Megan Vossler for this line which I’ve used hundreds of times since she first coined it!).

A few years ago, one of our favorite importers started bringing in Artgraf products from Viarco, fine art drawing materials manufacturers in Portugal.  Their “Tailor Shape” carbon disc quickly became my most favorite art supply.  It had almost everything: – Dense, dark marks?  Check.  The Carbon Disc is basically a black crayon, but what a black crayon!  The line is reminiscent of a finer litho crayon or China marker, but it’s more versatile than either (see below). – Easy to use, easy to hold?  Check.  The unique “Tailor Shape” (it’s like the little tablet the tailor uses to make marks on your clothes for alterations) fits comfortably in your hand and allows you to use the edge for fine lines, the sides for broad strokes. – Blendable dry or wet?  Check. Sure, you can smudge it like any old crayon, but its water solubility is its magic.  Pass a wet brush over a line and watch it move.  Touch a wet brush to your Carbon Disc and brush it on paper…you would swear it’s India ink!  Deep, dark passages, or subtle, barely there washes…they are all available to you.

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ArtGraf Monochromatic Set

Remember I said the Carbon Disc had almost everything?  Well, it was only black.  Hardly a problem, but I had dreams of a white to go with the black.  Instead I got six fantastic Earth Color Carbon Discs, then – later – three Primary Color Carbon Discs (same shape, same properties, lotsa colors that mix beautifully), but no white.  Until this past November, when the Monochromatic Set arrivedMy favorite black Carbon Disc was joined by Graphite Grey and long-awaited White!  Now you can draw with an entire range of tones, tints and colors…take that childhood disappointment!

Speaking of childhood, the watersoluble crayons I should have gotten as a youngster – if I had Wet Paint there to help me – are Caran d’Ache’s Neocolor II.  84 colors of water-blendable goodness that are perfect for coloring and drawing.  Many people are familiar with these crayons as face paint.  Though that is not their intended use, it does give you a sense of their creaminess and water solubility.  Neocolor II’s are a staple at Wet Paint…we’ve got all 84 colors individually as well as in sets.

museumwatercolorpencilsCaran d’Ache also produces the most highly regarded water soluble colored pencil, the Museum Aquarelle.  Marks made with Museum pencils that have been blended with water are indistinguishable from traditional tube or pan watercolor.  The 76 colors are remarkably lightfast, just like an artists’ grade paint.  These are the best of the best.

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Derwent XL Charcoal Blocks

English pencil manufacturer Derwent has been producing pencils since 1832.  Their Inktense extra vibrant, “ink like” watercolor pencils are still one of the most asked for products at Wet Paint, years after their introduction captivated artists worldwide.  More recently, Derwent launched a short range of traditional graphite and charcoal blocks, but with a few twists: the blocks are BIG, the blocks have color, and the blocks are water soluble.  They are: Derwent’s XL Blocks!  The XL Graphite range contains four super subtle shades, plus traditional graphite tones in soft and extra soft.  Imagine a big, squared 4B pencil without the wood!  Similarly, Derwent’s XL Charcoal Blocks come in four rich, natural colors, plus black and white.  They handle just like the less hearty compressed charcoals you’ve used in the past…they’re just bigger and stronger!  XL Blocks are available individually, or in handsome metal tin sets of six Graphite or Charcoal Blocks.

And this just scratches the surface.  I could fill a whole other post talking about watercolor pencils from Faber Castell (Durer & Durer Magnus), Koh-I-Noor (Mondeluz), Bruynzeel and Prismacolor, as well as water soluble graphite from Faber Castell, General’s, Cretacolor, Viarco (kneadable graphite…wow!), and Lyra.  But you get the idea.  We’ve got the water soluble drawing supplies to make every artists’ dream come true!


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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!