Wet Paint

Artists' Materials & Framing in St. Paul, MN


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Top 18 Art Supplies of 2018

As 2018 comes to a close, we thought it would be fun to look back on some of our favorites of the year. Not all of these were new products this year, but nearly all of them were new to Wet Paint. Read on to see what made our list!

1.Schmincke Horadam Gouache 10 Tube Set

2. Liquitex Acrylic Gouache

We’ve always been a fan of gouache paint, but there seemed to be a new excitement around it this past year. Gouache (pronounced like “ɡwäSH”) is the fancy name for opaque watercolor paint. Wet Paint stocks Schmincke gouache in open stock, but the 10 color tube set is a great introduction to the traditional paint. New in 2018, Liquitex Acrylic Gouache has the opaque, matte finish of classic gouache with the water permanence of acrylic. Both are worth checking out!

3. Schmincke Horadam 24 1/2 Pan Watercolor Set

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Schmincke Horadam 1/2 Pan Set of 24

2018 was another big year for ½ pan watercolors at Wet Paint.  The Schmincke custom set we partnered with Jennifer McLean on has sold out, but we still have limited quantities of the 24 ½ pan set, as well as options from QOR, Daniel Smith, Yarka, and more!

4. Super 5 Fountain Pens and Fountain Pen ink

5. Pilot Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink

Handwriting is also making a comeback! And what better to get on-trend than with than a new refillable fountain pen?!? Wet Paint stocks all of your favorite brands of pens (and inks, too, to personalize your penmanship). A few of our favorites: everyone on staff owns a Super 5 fountain pen…durable construction and free flowing ink make it a dependable choice for everyday writing; we have been charmed by the beautiful Pilot Iroshizuku inks…lovely selection of colors in gorgeous glass bottles!

6. Cigar Boxes

7. Xiem Art Bag

Storage and transportation of art supplies can sometimes be a nuisance when many items are odd sizes or easily damaged. But then came the Xiem Art Bag with its many pockets, wooden handle, reinforced bottom and 25 lbs carrying capacity! Swoon! We also love the classic, and always useful, cigar boxes- not new this year, but still a fave.

8. Sienna Plein Air 

9. New Wave u.go 

10. Etchr Bags

2018 was also the year for new & different plein air painting supplies- specifically rethinking the classic french easel or pochade box. Whether it was upgrading to something sleeker and easier to carry (u.go), separating the support from the box (Sienna), or using the supply bag as the easel itself (Etchr), this was a great year for finding new ways to get out and paint!

11. Leuchtturm 1917 

12. Koala Tools Gridded Notebooks

So many dots it’s like we’re contagious!  Unlike the measles, though, dot grid notebooks are showing no signs of being wiped out…and we like it that way!

13. Golden Acrylic – New 2018 Colors

Golden Artist Acrylic Paint is not new, but Golden did come out with some beautiful new colors for 2018. Plus, they’ve just revamped their online color mixer, which is a great resource for finding that perfect color or matching a color from an image!

14. POSCA Acrylic Paint Markers

The paint markers that everybody had been asking for finally arrived at Wet Paint in 2018…and they’ve been a huge hit.  Lots of sizes, lots of colors and suitable for almost any surface…let’s go write on stuff!

15. DaVinci Casaneo Travel Brushes

Quite possibly the most beloved watercolor brush at Wet Paint since Silver’s Black Velvet…and the Casaneo is all synthetic.  If you didn’t try it in 2018, you’d better make a resolution for 2019!

16. Gamblin Custom Oil Paint Knew Black 

We partnered with our pals at Pygmalion’s Art Supplies in Bloomington, Indiana and Gamblin Artist’s Oil Colors in Portland, Oregon to bring local artist, Ta-Coumba Aiken’s, custom oil color, Knew Black, to life. Read all about it here.

17. Stillman & Birn Nova Toned Sketchbooks

Featuring double-sized, 150gsm toned paper in either beige, black or gray Nova Series sketchbooks are the perfect “go to” for mixed media applications. Can’t decide which tone is right for you?  The new Nova Trio has all three of ‘em in one book!  (And, the answer is: they’re all right for you!).

18. Caran d’ Ache Technalo RGB Tinted Water-soluble Graphite

Super subtle hint of color in brand new pencils or sticks…barely red, barely green and barely blue never looked so good!

It’s been fun reminiscing about all of our favorite creative supplies from the past year…it’s making us excited to see what 2019 will bring!  What made the top of your list for 2018?

Happy New Year, everybody!


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Portable, Practical, and Always Unique: The 2018 Wet Paint Schmincke set is on its way!

Just in time for World Watercolor Month in July, and the travel & outdoor activities that come with the warmer summer months, we’re pleased to announce the imminent arrival of our 2018 custom Schmincke Horadam ½ pan watercolor set.  As with previous sets, the 2018 version features 12 moist, professional-grade colors in a Schmincke tin, plus room for adding more…but that’s where the similarities end!

Our new set is an exciting partnership with Jennifer McLean, watercolor & mixed media artist, and blogger at justaddwatersilly.com and doodlewash.com.  Jenn got her first Horadam ½ pan set from Wet Paint in 2013 and has been a fan ever since: “Schmincke has some wonderfully unique watercolors that I cannot get anywhere else and since this palette is such a fantastic deal, I’ve always supported Wet Paint every time there was a new palette out. To think you get a quality tin and twelve half pans which should cost over two hundred dollars.” As a great supporter of Wet Paint and our custom palette Horadam sets, asking Jenn to choose the colors for our 2018 tin was a no-brainer.  Her choices – radiant, transparent warm & cool primaries, plus two favorite semi-opaque colors – make this selection the brightest, cleanest mixing palette we’ve offered.  Check out the color chart below, then go to her blog to read Jenn’s account of her color picking process.  When you visit her blog, you will also find Jenn’s recommendations for additional colors to supplement your new set, as well as information about entering an exclusive giveaway!

2018 Schmincke Palette HiRes

Another major difference between the 2018 set and prior incarnations is the tin.  We’ve skipped the 18 ½ pan square format tin this time and instead packed Jenn’s 12 colors in a long, narrow tin that accommodates 24 ½ pans and a full size brush.  Best of all, this tin has a brilliant, full color watercolor graphic on its cover (and the Schmincke owl logo, of course!).  Beautiful!Schmincke Half Pan - Colored Tin

If you’re new to Schmincke’s Horadam ½ pan watercolors, you need to know that all 139 colors are filled a quarter at a time to insure the greatest consistency & immediacy available in a “dry” watercolor.  Also unique, the formulation for Schmincke’s tube color is exactly the same as that for their pan color, making it easy to go between tubes in the studio and pans en plein air.

We have confirmed shipment from Germany, and expect our sets to arrive in Saint Paul in late June. If you want to be among the first to get the 2018 set, we are now taking pre-orders. We will not be making changes or substitutions to the colors in the new set.  We anticipate a heavy influx of orders for this set – they will be processed in the sequence they are received. Order fulfillment may be longer than usual due to volume, once they arrive.

Schmincke Semiprecious Stones Watercolor Set

The other exciting news from Schmincke-land is our Semi-Precious Stone 3 Tube set.  This special edition set of 5ml watercolors features historical earth tones that are well suited for outdoor and nature painting (and are a fun addition to a springtime sketching session). Lapis Lazuli, Red Opalite, and Green Porphyry stones have been specially milled to create semi-opaque pigments. These granulating colors have subtle tints and are incredibly lightfast. While not strong mixers, we have found that combining them in a wash with a tiny bit of modern pigment such as Pyrrole Red or Hansa Yellow has produced some great two-toned effects where the larger particles add great texture, even on smoother finish papers. As with any particularly heavy pigment, these stone-derived colors may settle in the tube somewhat. If this occurs, we recommend mixing the pigment back into the binder (stirring in the tube with a long pin or needle tool) before use. These are a limited edition only available in 5ml tubes and will not be added to the standard Schmincke color selection.

If you want to create tactile and visually unique pieces in miniature, then new-at-Wet Paint Hahnemühle watercolor postcards are the perfect choice!  The round-edged, cold pressed postcards, with the address field printed on the back, are perfect for on-the-go creative souls, from watercolor and plein air painters to urban sketch artists. The 30 cards have a weight of 230 gsm and can be safely transported in the stylish metal box, to be painted and then posted wherever you are. Holiday greetings, a travel portfolio, a picture story…there’s no limit to the possibilities. The softly textured paper allows for easy use of brushes and every kind of pencil or pen, while the card’s natural tone allows the colors to glow.
Hahnemühle’s Watercolour Book is the ideal companion for urban sketchers or artists on the go. The natural white, alpha cellulose 200gsm acid free paper features a fine grained surface structure on both sides, making it ideal for creating full width panoramic paintings.  With 60 pages / 30 sheets, the Watercolour Book is compact while offering an ample number of pages for painting your memories on. Watercolour Books feature a handsome, durable cover and a rubber band to hold the cover together to protect your artwork. Available in the landscape formats A6, A5 and A4 and portrait format A6 and A5…click here for more info!

FM Brush’s Faux Kolinsky and Faux Squirrel – two of our most popular watercolor brushes – are on a great promotion this summer: buy any three (of any combination) Faux Kolinsky or Faux Squirrel brushes at 25% off and get a ½” Faux Squirrel “Whale Tail” brush FREE!  FM Brush Company has developed a proprietary blend of Techno-Synthetics that recreate all the attributes of natural hair brushes, but as a socially responsible alternative to animal hair. The Faux Kolinsky series mimics the elusive natural tip of a Kolinsky brush. It’s generous reservoir yields unmatched performance. The brushes are elegant with a cupro-nickel ferrule and long satin black albata handle. Faux Squirrel brushes are made of synthetic fibers that hold as much paint as a natural squirrel brush, allowing for a generous, even flow of paint…while retaining their shape and durability better than their natural-filament counterparts. Faux Squirrel’s seamless crimped nickel-plated ferrules and innovative soft coated handle allow for a sure grip through hours of painting. Made by FM Brush and completely assembled in America.

Da Vinci Brush’s Casaneo Series brushes are coming soon to Wet Paint.  We’ll be stocking these thirsty, synthetic squirrel brushes in a classic quill and a travel brush.  All the precision of your favorite synthetic, with the release of color usually associated with a natural hair.

It’s watercolor season!  Ready or not, Wet Paint has got you covered!


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Green is our favorite color

loveearthWithout a lot of fanfare, many of the small companies that manufacture and distribute art supplies have been going green. I was just reading that very few industries overall are welcoming recent rollbacks of our US environmental protections.  Major companies see no need to turn this train because it serves their customers and shareholders to keep their promise to be more efficient and reduce their long term impact.  It seems that most companies do care about the long term effects of their methods and, more importantly, find that green tech is good for the bottom line. Maybe a few are cynically labelling themselves “eco-friendly” to get into the pocket of the SRCs (Socially Responsible Consumers) but those customers are not just the stereotypical college professors and yuppies.

Most importantly, in my opinion, we learn that plenty of companies that are new or expanding make a business decision for their facility that has more to do with their operations than their marketing department.  We figured that this week we’d call out a few cool things that we’ve noticed happening in our niche of the economy beyond strategically investing in LED replacement bulbs.

  • MABEF has been producing fine painting supports in Italy since 1948.  Their “French Easels” are iconic gear for the outdoor and portable painter . It turns out that MABEF uses only Forest Stewardship Council certified beechwood in their products, meaning the wood has come from a forest and supply chain that is managed responsibly.  Even the scraps and saw dust from the manufacturing process are converted to wood pellets that heat the MABEF factory and offices.
  • Artograph makes light tables and projectors and has been bringing their production of some of these products back onshore to the US (in nearby Delano, MN) which reduces the fuel used in shipping and transport.
  • Stabilo (Markers, Pencils, and Pens) added an environmental officer in the early 90s and pays very close attention to where their products come from and where they end up after the artist is done with them. I like their FAQ.
  • Gamblin Artist Oils has a page that wisely talks about the safety of the artist in the same breath with the safety of the environment. Their Gamsol product is designed with both in mind and every oil painter should be familiar with these safe studio practices.  They are like a lot of other manufacturers that also power with wind and are sharply on top of their waste management.
  • DaVinci Brushes relocated their new factory in 2006 to cut the commute of their staff and keep them close to public transport. The facility is green and happy employees are good for business!

Making paper consumes a lot of water in the growing of the pulp plants and in the papermaking process.  The manufacturing process can contaminate waste water with bleaches and other chemicals. Also, the product is just plain heavy to ship, which drinks a lot of fuel.  All of our manufacturers are addressing these issues. Here are some good examples of where their care with our resources makes good business sense:

  • Clairefontaine (Rhodia) makes some of our most popular softcover note/sketchbooks. Like more than a few other companies they use only pulp from managed forests.
  • We have several companies that use renewable plants for their stock, like the Lokta papers we were featuring this week and papers made with hemp or kenaf fiber.
  • Strathmore, Bee and others mills routinely now use 20-30% PCW (Post Consumer Waste) in their sketch paper. That’s a big deal as 20 years ago “recycled” was usually pre-consumer, meaning that a company was just re-pulping waste material and overstock found in their facility. Now they buy from companies like our local Rock-Ten and keep my shredded credit card offers out of the landfill.

TropheeDeLeauCLF

Some of this corporate responsibility is visible on the packages, but not all of it is shouty big green “ECO-Friendly Organic Paintbrush” stickers with treefrogs and leaves on the labels. I went looking and found these everywhere, not just in the brands mentioned here.  I encourage you to grab the pads on our shelves and read the inner or back covers to learn more about each pad’s sources. It’s there and I’m impressed.  If you don’t see it on the packages, hit the manufacturers’ websites or ask us and we’ll have a chat with our vendors.  It’s not all of them, but I have been really lifted up to discover that this has been threaded so thoroughly throughout our business over that last couple of decades that it is now just a fact of how we do business and I cannot expect any of this is going to be dropped in the next few years.

Absent the protection of law, the good news from 2017 is that few companies would turn their back on the consumers who want them to be responsible and only a poor quality business would think they could survive in the long term by being purposefully neglectful of their natural resources.

Heavy. Maybe next week we’ll investigate the practices of craft breweries and distilleries that compost and send their spent mash to farms for cattle feed.