Wet Paint

Artists' Materials & Framing in St. Paul, MN


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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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Week 4: Collection Collage with Jane Hammond

scrapbook-arlesMany artists are known for collecting- whether it is art supplies, paper scraps or oddities, things tend to accumulate!  This week we want to see your stuff in a beautiful layout in your sketchbook like the one pictured by the fabulous Jane Hammond.  Sketch, photograph, paint, or collage your favorite things, tchotchkes, and memorabilia on the page (or pages). Feel free to tell us a short quip about your collection and your favorite mixed media when you post.  Think you don’t have a collection? What about your selection of earrings?  Or your keys? Find a stash of something that is like a collection and put it on the page!

This week at Wet Paint, all Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils and Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencils are 15% off our everyday price (includes sets)!  These are two favorite pencil lines of the Wet Paint staff!

These Weekly Workouts will be posted as Events in our Facebook Group, click here to join!
We will also post our exercises here on our blog
Click here to see our list of suggested art supplies


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WP Weekly Workouts- Upcoming Summer Session and Wet Paint Summer Postcard Project

 

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Some of Liz’ previous summer sketches

Summer Session is the perfect time for you to take your sketchbook out on Art Dates!  It’s time to finally get outside and soak up the sunshine and fresh air and we’ve got lot of suggestions for outings that are sure to spark your imagination and awaken your creativity.  Best of all, these exercises give you the chance to be completely in the moment as you enjoy the sensory stimulation of drawing outdoors.

Not ready to sketch while you’re out and about?  We know it can be intimidating to draw in public, but there’s no need to forego Summer Session – A quick snapshot on your phone and a few notes jotted in your sketchbook are a great foundation for sketching projects to tackle when you get home.

We want you to enjoy your summer adventures, so we’re giving you two weeks between each Summer Session Art Date.  With more time in between, you won’t feel rushed to get these done.

Summer Session and our first Art Date will start next week!  Stay posted for details and, in the meantime, catch up on your workouts and check out our Summer Postcard Project (see below)!

 Wet Paint Summer Postcard Project

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Fellow Wet Paint staffer, Langhan, getting excited about sending mail art!

Going somewhere fun this summer?  Or, having a productive stay-cation?  Draw, paint, or mix up your media on a postcard-sized paper and mail it to Wet Paint!  We’re putting together an exhibition of mail art from our friends and fans wherever they may be.  As postcards arrive, we will photograph them to share on our social media pages and then display them in our storefront windows.  At the end of the summer, we’ll host a public art opening here at Wet Paint for all of the contributing artists!

There’s no limit to how many postcards you can send, but in order to participate, postcards have to arrive at Wet Paint via our friendly postal carrier – – no dropping them off at the store!  Don’t forget to sign your postcard(s) and let us know how to reach you.  We want to make sure we’re crediting you when we post the work online and we want to be able to contact you with details about the end of summer art opening.

Looking for ideas?  Check out the Postcard Travel Kit that Liz and Kristina put together for this project.  See below for more info.

General Guidelines:

-We are a family-friendly shop, so please tailor your images & words to be suitable for viewers of all ages.

-We reserve the right to not display postcards that we feel are inappropriate for this activity.

-All artwork must be original.

-In order to have your postcard displayed in our end of summer exhibition, you’ll need to have it postmarked by August 8th, 2014.

-All participating mail art must arrive at Wet Paint via US Mail.

-Keep in mind that postcards will “wear” a bit depending on how far they travel- which is part of the fun of mail art!

-Contact your local post office for shipping and postage information.

-Send one or send one every week!  We’ve got big windows!

More info about the end of summer exhibition and opening to follow.

 

The Postcard Travel Kit includes the basic tools to capture all of your summer moments on the perfect postcard-sized paper!  Items include:

-Faber Castell Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils in 5 fun summery colors

-a trusty Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen fine liner in Superfine Black

-the easy-to-use Pentel Aquash water brush (medium point)

-a tablet of Strathmore 140lb cold press 4”x6” watercolor postcards (15 cards!)

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Two “postcards” that Wet Paint received last summer from friendly customers

WET PAINT’S ADDRESS:

Wet Paint

Summer Postcard Project

1684 Grand Ave

St. Paul, MN 55105