Storing Tube Watercolors in a Palette
I work with watercolor a lot lately, in a variety of forms- tubes, liquid, and pans. I also work on the go, a lot, so I like my supplies to be compact. I seem to have amassed quite a number of tube watercolors to supplement my two palettes of pan colors, but carrying them back and forth wasn't really an option. Heidi introduced me to the very simple trick of creating a palette of dried tube watercolors, which rehydrate nearly as well as pan watercolors.
Tube WatercolorsTube watercolors are often cheaper and more readily available than pan watercolors (EDIT: For those of you looking for openstock watercolor pans, DickBlick.com carries them), but carrying around a bunch of tubes can be bulky and heavy. Not everyone works on the go, so weight and bulk may not be an issue, but converting your tube watercolors to semidry pigments stored in a dedicated palette is also a convienant way to work. As long as you keep your palette relatively tidy while working, there's no need to clean it out at the end of major projects.
|This palette has plenty of wells, but not quite enough for all my colors. I decided to fill it with my most commonly used, leaving space for the colors I still need to pick up that I know I'll use a lot of.|
|I did a test arrangement first, and realized that this setup wouldn't really be conducive to how I like to work, chromatically, so I rearranged it so that colors are blocked in sections, not arranged in a line.|
|I moved my white gouache (for whites) lamp black, Payne's grey, and indigo to the very end. They're some of my most used colors, and I wanted a place where I could find them immediately.|
|Some brands are runnier than others, depending on the quality of the paint.|
|The paints before they've dried.|
|My palette after several watercolor paintings and a couple weeks. I really like working with it this way, and I mix my paint/water on a separate palette, hence why the tray in the lid is still clean.|
|My swatchbook page for this palette, done after the pigments had dried and with little dilution.|
Liquid WatercolorsI have since branched out from drying just tube watercolors to also using dry liquid watercolors. The effect is usually less striking and a bit more muted, but I don't like working with super saturated colors to begin with. Generally this brilliance in color is one of the selling points of liquid water colors, but I like them because the range of colors is wider than what tends to be available in tube or pan form, as they use synthetic dyes instead of natural pigments.
|These are the liquid colors when first applied, with their corresponding colors lined up in order. I will usually do a test arrangement first to make sure the order of color makes sense to me. This arrangement was based on the hue in my swatchbook.|
|The same colors after they dried, and the addition of three new colors in the corners that bridge the gap between existing colors. I was a little worried about how these would reconstitute.|
|For your reference, the original, undiluted hues straight from their bottles.|
GouacheAnd hey! You don't have to limit yourself to just watercolors! Non-acrylic gouache can be dried and reconstituted the same way.