Wet Paint

Artists' Materials & Framing in St. Paul, MN

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Only at Wet Paint: Black Velvet Custom Brush Set

This holiday season we are featuring some of the unique, creative supplies that are regionally, or nationally, exclusive to Wet Paint. These items are great gift ideas that you will not find anywhere else. 

wp3304sFor the watercolorist,  we’ve partnered with Silver Brush to bring you a new, custom Black Velvet brush set…amazing capillary action meets unbelievable control to produce one of our favorite brushes. The versatile Black Velvet is unique to any other brush on the market; they hold an enormous amount of water, yet release it with excellent control. This Wet Paint exclusive set will allow you to experience the brush that we – and well-known artists the world over – feel is an indispensable tool for the watercolorist.

Wet Paint staffer, Liz (pictured above), chose the 4 brushes in this set:

“These brushes were selected with all purpose painting in mind – the Round 6 for detail, the Small Jumbo Round for filling in larger areas, the Flat 1/2 for crisp edges, and the Dagger Striper for loose expressive lettering marks.”


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Wet Paint Staff Pick of the Day: Stillman & Birn Alpha

We have such a wide and ever-expanding selection of journals/notebooks/pads at Wet Paint, we thought it would be fun to feature some of our staff favorites. Stay tuned to find out more about what we stock and maybe find a new favorite for yourself!

Today’s staff pick comes from Liz: Stillman & Birn Alpha Series

“Truth be told there’s hardly a sketchbook I don’t like!  It’s the allure of the sketches to come and stories each book will hold that pulls me to them all.  However, as an avid sketch-journaler there is one I always come back to that meets all my mixed media needs: Stillman & Birn’s Alpha Series books. My favorite is the 7×10 wire bound.  The paper holds up to my favorite Holbein watercolors and Platinum Carbon ink, and it works with the Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen brush markers for quick color applications.  And colored pencil and graphite glow on Alpha’s bright white surface!  This book also holds up to light gluing with a gluestick so all my trinkets and mementos can be included in the pages. With the variety of sizes and option of a hard spine, there’s one for everybody. I particularly love the 7×10 as it fits in my bag and provides enough room for my creativity.”


Stillman & Birn Alpha Series:

Stillman & Birn stands out in the crowded sketchbook market, offering a unique collection of archival quality, premium sketchbooks designed to work with many different kinds of media. Only Stillman & Birn offers a sketchbook system, allowing the artist to choose the paper weight, shade and surface type to suit their specific techniques. All their papers have both internal and surface sizing, providing exceptional wet strength. All their papers are true art papers that withstand multiple erasures and are suitable for precision work.

The Alpha series features heavyweight 100lb./150gsm paper and it has a natural white vellum surface intended for all dry media and will accept light washes. It is available in both hardbound and wirebound formats.

Click here to see the entire Stillman & Birn line of sketchbooks!


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Week 12: What’s Your Movement?

Can you believe this is the last workout?!  Time has flown by and we have enjoyed sharing some of our favorite art movements with all of you, but now it is your turn to share with us!  What is the art movement that has inspired you the most either during this session of workouts or on your own artistic path?  Share something you’ve made that was inspired by an art movement or a specific creative piece, and explain how it has informed your work.

THANK YOU ALL for your participation and interest in the Weekly Workouts again this year.   Liz and I are grateful for your support of us and each other…this group was such a fun part of our responsibilities at Wet Paint this spring!  The “Workout” group will remain active; though there are no future workouts planned, you are encouraged to keep posting on this page if you would like.  All of the past workouts are listed under the Files tab in the Facebook group, so if you get in a rut, look at these for inspiration!

We hope to create with you all again soon – we’re already excited about the Summer Postcard project that’s coming up again in a few months.  Until then, we look forward to seeing you in the store!


Kristina and Liz

Liz Example: Liz has a memory of being 13 years old and visiting the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburg and buying this image on a t-shirt.  It resonated with the young artist within.  And she went on to major in Art in college (and still makes art!).

Kristina Example: Although I was interested in art growing up (and love the weird Surrealists), I didn’t really see myself as an artist/creator until I started taking some art classes in college.  One of the (many) artists that resonated with me was Robert Rauschenberg and his unique mix of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art (another two favorite movements).  I love his messy, yet deliberate, abstractions.

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


lizdemoandpaper 025

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


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!)


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


Wet Paint

Summer Postcard Project

1684 Grand Ave

St. Paul, MN 55105

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Week 7: Proportions and Proximity with Irojiten Colored Pencils

green-colored-pencil-shard-james-sayerDraw something sight-sized! Make it small or make it large.  Fill up a page in your sketchbook or just use the corner. Example image found on the internet from James Sayer (and what a lovely pencil shaving it is!).  How about a cup of pencils or brushes? What about a piece of fruit or that sprouting onion? Maybe your watch or a favorite piece of jewelry?  Whatever you choose, either go in close to draw all of the details or pan out and make it tiny!  We suggest using the Tombow Irojiten colored pencils (Liz’ favorites!).  Usage suggestion for colored pencil (since they are tricky to erase): start with light to dark values and soft to heavy pressure.


Liz’ stash of Tombow Irojiten colored pencils!

Liz loves the Tombow Irojiten colored pencils because they blend and layer without heavy build-up, the points are durable and strong enough for writing, and best of all, they’re so pleasing in the hand (and on the eye)!  This week only, April 2nd thru April 8th, Wet Paint will be selling them on super sale for 35% off MSRP!  Time to stock up (Liz says she’ll share!) Click here to check out the entire line!

These Weekly Workouts will be posted as Events in our Facebook Group, click here to join!
If you are not on Facebook, share your photos in our Flickr group
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 Workout- Week 6: Panorama with PanPastels


Claude Monet’s Nightfall

Take a stroll, look out the window, and paint the town!   Using the gorgeous Claude Monet pastel painting as inspiration, build, blend, and form your surroundings with smooth chalk pastels.  Don’t think of this workout like a drawing exercise, but a chance to blend color and build layers as a painter would.   We suggest using PanPastels because they take the mess out of traditional chalk pastels by putting it in a convenient cake format.  It truly feels more like painting than drawing since you are using your fingers, paper towel, or the handy Sofft Tool applicators.  Blank white page jitters? Try toning down the paper first with a light application of a neutral color (or your favorite color) using a large Sofft art sponge.

The PanPastel colors are brilliant, clean and blend beautifully. Each pan contains 40% more color than an average stick pastel, and without the waste from chalk dust and crumbling sticks there’s even more product for you to use! Try these with the Sofft Tools and you’ll never look at chalk pastels the same again!  Right now at Wet Paint, you can get the PanPastel sets for 15% off our everyday price and individual colors are buy 2, get 1 FREE!  Click here to see all our PanPastels!


These Weekly Workouts will be posted as Events in our Facebook Group, click here to join!
If you are not on Facebook, share your photos in our Flickr group
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 Workout- Week 3: Watercolor with Wassily (Kandinsky)


Wassily Kandinsky, “Squares with Concentric Circles,” 1913

Time to bust out your brushes and watercolors and dip into abstraction! Try a simple pattern of shapes and colors  (like the gorgeous Kandinsky circles shown here) and experiment with wet and dry techniques- or both!  For example, try wetting the page with water before applying your color, or blot your brush after loading with color and drag it across a dry page.  Blend techniques and see what happens!  We are using a limited palette of colors (see below for more info), but you can use whatever colors appeal to you.  And, don’t feel like you’re going in circles- maybe try squares instead!

Adobe Photoshop PDFEverybody loves Daniel Smith watercolors (in fact, Wet Paint was the first store to stock them in the Midwest).  Wet Paint staffers, Liz Carlson and Kate Katzer, had the pleasure of selecting a unique palette of Daniel Smith watercolors for this exclusive, limited edition set (Liz also created  the lovely Cactus Wren illustration on the label).  The colors included in this custom set are: Blue Apatite, Burgundy Yellow Ochre, Jadeite, Deep Scarlet, Bloodstone, and a FREE tube of Serpentine Genuine.  This selection of colors would be an exciting addition to any watercolor palette- landscape/nature or portrait painters will love it (but who wouldn’t?)! This set has a MSRP value of $135.18 (5 colors + free Serpentine) for $65.17 which equals more than a 50% savings!  Click here to purchase!

Already got these colors?  Good news, all Daniel Smith watercolors are 40% off MSRP!  Click here to check out the entire line!

These Weekly Workouts will be posted as Events in our Facebook Group, click here to join!

If you are not on Facebook, share your photos in our Flickr group

We will also post our exercises here on our blog

Click here to see our list of suggested art supplies

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Wet Paint Weekly Workouts- Your First Assignment

Join us in a 12-week creative activity group where we explore techniques and mediums together in a Weekly Workout! All ages and levels of experience are welcome. Each Wednesday a new “workout” will be posted here that details a project for you to try and a materials list to reference. Each week as you complete the exercises, we hope you’ll post a picture of your finished workout for all to see. You can also take a look at what other folks have done and leave comments in a general forum. Grab your favorite sketchbook and let’s get to (art)work!

Posting Policies:
-Please post one image per week (so we can see everyone’s work)
-Comments should be constructive and encouraging (this is an all-ages/levels group)
-We have the right to remove any abusive language or unrelated imagery (we love your cat photos, but keep that to your own page, please)


Can you guess who our photo bomber is in the background?

Your first assignment: select a sketchbook to use for your Workbook! We suggest getting a multi-media-friendly book to hold up to the variety of materials you will be using. Next, make it your own (like Liz did by embellishing the cover with pretty paper!)- nothing too fancy, just make it something you want to use. And, be sure to keep it accessible for when creativity strikes! Feel free to post pictures of your personalized Workbooks.

We’ve got plenty of great sketchbooks to choose from at Wet Paint. For a limited time (2/19 thru 2/28) you can find several of our favorites for 20% off: the AquaBee Super Deluxe 808 in 9”x12”, the AquaBee Big Yellow Bee Co-Mo sketch in 9”x9” and Strathmore’s Visual Journal with Mixed Media surface in 9”x12”. Click on here to order online!

These Weekly Workouts will be posted as Events in our Facebook Group, click here to join!
If you are not on Facebook, share your photos in our Flickr group
We will also post our exercises here on our blog
 Click here to see our list of suggested art supplies

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Why Wet Paint loves Gil


gilNearly 30 years ago I met Gil. Gil was selling art supplies at a store in Berkeley. Next time I saw Gil, he owned an art supply store in Palo Alto. Both of us being independent art supply retailers meant we had a lot in common. What we didn’t have in common, we have in a friendly way, argued about over the years. Gil likes to travel and spends lots of time in Europe. And during those trips, he has found some great art supply lines that no one was importing into the United States. So we share our retailer woes together plus Wet Paint buys Gil’s Kunst & Papier books and Fibonacci brushes.


Justin with his Kunst & Papier sketchbooks

Kunst & Papier is a German line of sketchbooks and journals. They were designed by an artist because he couldn’t find a sketchbook to meet his own needs. The Wet Paint staff heartily endorses this line through their own personal use of the product. All of the sketchbooks are made with beautiful, quality paper. They respond to a variety of media and of different artists’ touch very well. The binderboard sketchbooks are their signature line. With a highly flexible spine these books have a great lay flat quality. No more using the side of your palm to hold the rolling paper flat. With plain bookboard covers, they are plain and simple in appearance which then can become the substrate for the artist to personalize. Newbie at Wet Paint, Chris, likes the subdued appearance which you can “make your own without defacing the book.” Both Liz and Justin rely on Kunst & Papier because their books are so well made they “wear well” and hold up to hauling them around with you. Even K&P’s simplest soft-covered sketchbooks that have few sheets and staple binding meet the discerning eye of Virginia who applies a wide range of media to their pages. Everyone feels they are just the most esthetically pleasing line of books, to the eye and to the touch. They look good. They have a wide variety of sizes. They have great paper. They are well constructed.


Gil with a handful of Fibonacci brushes

A few years back Gil visited Wet Paint with the Fibonacci line of brushes he found during his travels. The jaded Wet Paint staff, who have seen and tried just about every brush currently made, all wanted their own Fibonacci brushes. Beautifully crafted with synthetic blended heads in a vast assortment of sizes and shapes for water media. So what’s with another line of brushes? Liz likes the comfortable, well balanced handles. Verra likes the great snap of the hair. Justin likes the fact they hold their point for a very long time. Steve likes the crispness of the lines they make. Another esthetically pleasing, well-crafted tool.

When you handle lots of art materials, you just know when you pick up the good ones. These are them.


This weekend only, all Kunst & Papier sketchbooks and journals are 40% off MSRP and all Fibonacci brushes are 50% off MSRP! In-stock items only, valid 10/18 to 10/20/13.

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The Story of the Schmincke Half-Pan Set

Schmincke set color comparison: old set colors on left, new set colors on right

Schmincke set color comparison: old set colors on left, new set colors on right

If you have shopped at Wet Paint in Saint Paul during the past 25 years, you know Darin Rinne, our General Manager.  And you know Darin loves to tell a story.  And I’d bet he’d tell you his favorite story is about the Schmincke Half-pan Watercolor Set.  About 10 years ago, the U.S.  importer of Schmincke color offered Wet Paint a deal on their 12 color half-pan set.  We could give our customers a professional grade watercolor in a metal box at a comparable price to the competitor’s student grade in plastic.  The only hitch, we had to purchase 100 sets.  At the time, it was a big investment for Wet Paint, but we went for it anyway.  The set was such a success; we ordered the set 3 times.  Each time, the tin was a slightly different model. The fourth time around, no more were available.

The story continues and now Schmincke has a new importer in the U.S. but no watercolor set we felt met the criteria for our customers. Marcus from Schmincke in Germany came to visit us in 2011 and asked how he could improve their relationship with Wet Paint.     Darin and Greg Graham, our Floor Manager, worked with Marcus to put together a selection of warm and cool colors of their choosing which would be affordable and still a workable palette.  They found an appropriate tin with space to fit another 6 colors for expansion.  We worked with other independent art supply stores to meet the manufacturer’s custom run commitment. The set was so well received by our customers, that we needed to order more custom runs.  And we worked again with Marcus to develop a Schmincke Gouache set to complement the watercolors with a palette selected by our friend Roz Stendahl.

As we started seeing the end of our inventory, Schmincke informed us our tin was no longer available. Being such a successful program, Marcus and Darin worked up a 2013 edition which just got shipped to Wet Paint last week.

Liz Carlson holding the 2013 set and her color chart

Liz Carlson holding the 2013 set and her color chart

Liz Carlson, urban sketcher and Wet Paint sales associate, got into the act by creating a new palette of colors for the new edition.  The colors in the 2013 set are more transparent than the original selection.  It is a stand-alone palette of colors but has no duplication from the original selection.  The new tin is a longer box that has enough room to hold a standard length brush (or a pen) or 2 travel brushes.  And it comes with 12 empty half-pans.  So a painter could include the colors from their studio palette, include the colors from the original Schmincke Half-Pan Set or expand their palette in a completely unique way.

The new 2013 Schmincke Half-pan Watercolor Set!

The new 2013 Schmincke Half-pan Watercolor Set!

Kate Katzer, Wet Paint’s framer and web sales associate, is very excited, almost giddy in fact, about the new Schmincke Half-Pan Set’s arrival.  She has a number of web customers disappointed they missed the original set.  She likes the fact that the palette of colors is chosen by a working artist rather than a marketing department.  Liz Carlson’s color selection is appropriate for the plein air painter, the sketcher, landscape painter or portrait artist.  The colors are for warm weather, vibrant and fresh. There is a story behind each color selection.  For example, Liz picked Mountain Blue because “it isn’t as bossy as Ultramarine.”  She likes Cobalt Turquoise and Transparent Orange because they mix well to make great middle tones.

Wet Paint is pleased to offer our customers the 2013 edition of the Schmincke Half-Pan Watercolor Set.  Schmincke makes the best half-pan watercolors on the market.  We have made a unique color selection you won’t find anywhere else.   This set is priced ridiculously well.  And the box wraps it all up as a beautiful object in itself.  This is a watercolor set for those with great taste and an understanding of value & quality.  We have worked hard to bring you a unique, professional grade product at a very affordable price.  Visit our website to purchase and see the entire list of colors in this set!