Wet Paint

Artists' Materials & Framing in St. Paul, MN


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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.

Koh-I-Noor-Pencil-Point-of-Purchase-Sign

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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WP Weekly Workout- Week 2: Introduce Yourself with a Self-Portrait

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Egon Schiele self portrait

Step up to the mirror, it’s time to do a self-portrait! Make faces or practice your cool-as-a-cucumber look, or try one of each using different materials. Self-portraits are great practice and these are meant to be quick and simple – just look at Egon Schiele’s example (nice work, Egon!). Try a contour line drawing (like Egon did) or simple brush strokes that frame your face, or smudge your way along with a graphite pencil. These don’t need to be perfect, just a reflection of your sweet self!

Wet Paint will have several different drawing materials to choose from at a 15% discount for this week (2/26-3/4). Try the oh-so-popular Pentel Pocket Brush Pen (and it’s refillable!), the smooth range of Palomino Blackwing Pencils, or the trusty classic Sharpie marker!  Out of ink?  You can buy new stuff here!
And please feel free to share what materials you end up using. There are endless options out there to choose from!

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