Sunday, 15 February 2015

Chestnut-breatsed Mannikin

Chestnut-breasted Mannikin, watercolour on paper, 25 x 27 cm, © Matteo Grilli 2014

This watercolour, together with all my latest works from 2014 and older, features a new range of greeting cards just published by Nuovo Group.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Making Watercolours

Last year I was finally able to practice and learn something I've been wanting to do for a long time, making my own watercolour paints. It's not difficult, it's fun and fulfilling. Here is the list of supplies I'm using:
1. measuring spoons;
2. Schmincke watercolour binder;
3. Schmincke 100% pure powdered pigment;
4. notebook;
5. spatula;
6. small spatula;
7. distilled water;
8. small plastic containers;
9. glass muller;
10. glass slab.

After pouring 1 tsp of pigment on the glass slab I added 1 and 1/2 tsp of  binder and roughly mixed them together with the spatula. Getting the pigment/binder ratio can be tricky, the general rule is 2 parts of binder per 1 part of pigment but some pigments like Ultramarine Blue Light turned out to be too moist, requiring a bit less binder. After a few experiments all recorded in my notebook, I worked out that for some pigments the 1 tsp of pigment to 1 and 1/2 or 1/4 of binder ratio works best.

  Then I started grinding and thoroughly mixing with the glass muller. Watercolour requires long mixing times, so far I've always been mixing for one hour with circular movements, a good thing to do in winter. As the paint becomes thicker and harder to mix, I evenly sprayed some distilled water and started grinding again, collecting the spread out paint from time to time with the spatula.

 After one hour of grinding and lots of good music as a background, I gathered the pigment with the large spatula and then, with the help of the small spatula I put the pigment in the small plastic container and let it dry overnight. Checking the paint one or two days after, a perfect paint should be a bit shiny and just a little sticky with no cracks. It is important to write down in the notebook the procedure so that next time it will be easier to improve and make a perfect paint.

And here is my favorite palette, testing transparency, lifting, wet on wet, dry brush, wash techniques and mixes with other colours. On the left Raw Sienna; Ultramarine Blue Light and Raw Umber Greenish. On the right, Madder Red Deep, Prussian Blue and Burnt Umber.
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