(click on the pics to enbiggan)
Back in March of this year, I did an introductory article on watercolor for stampers that explored various products and means of achieving watercolor effects, but at the time, the Peerless Watercolors hadn't arrived to the shop. If you haven't experienced them yet, I think you will be astonished at how fun and easy they are to use and the spectacular results they offer!
Each package comes with a small leaflet explaining the history of this surprising and unusual "dry" form of watercolors, developed by Charles Nicholson back in 1885 --they've been around for over 100 years!!!-- and they're available in various color assortments, including the Complete Edition (a set of 15 colors), to Bonus packs with 40 additional colors not included in the Complete Edition. The range of colors is quite amazing! I think it's fascinating that they are made with the exact same unique formula today as they were back then--WOW!!!
These watercolors are mineral dyes, as opposed to pigments, and come loaded onto carrier sheets made of a fabric paper type material; upon contact with water/moisture, the colors instantly activate. They are vivid and highly saturated.
(next to the paint brush, the larger pieces of Peerless are paint side up and the smaller squares immediately to the left are showing the back side)
The colors are so concentrated that it is difficult to tell with many of the sheets exactly what the true color actually is. By looking at the back side, I could make a pretty good guess at what color family "most" of the sheets belonged in, but until I actually applied a wet brush to any given sheet and painted onto some watercolor paper, there was no way of knowing how light, dark, intense, pale, warm, cool, etc. the color really was...
And, in at least one instance, the dry color on the front of the sheet ended up being completely different! Would you have guessed that the eggplant purple-ish chip shown above would yield the beautiful jade green color? It is gorgeous, of course, but it took me by surprise! *chuckle*
Most of the sheets are not all that attractive to look at, truth be told. But once you begin to paint with them, their eye-popping beauty becomes very apparent!
Because the sheets of watercolor come flat and packaged in a cellophane bag/envelope, they are quite compact as far as storage goes, but it's a little cumbersome to remove them and spread them out to paint, and then try to tuck them all back into that little envelope!
After doing a little research, I found many artists were making "portable palettes" for their Peerless Watercolor Sheets! So, I set about developing my own, to the size and dimension that I thought would work best for me!
I created a grid template that would accommodate 1" squares of each of the 40 colors, plus allow room for painting a swatch. I have the small Bonus Pack, and, unlike the larger size sets, the color names are not printed on the back of the little 2 x 2" sheets. The packaging contains a list of all 40 colors, but for me, it's far more important and useful to know what the colors really are rather than what they are named. So, you won't find any color labels on my portable palette! ;)
If you'd like to make one for yourself, you can download a PDF of the grid I created right here:
The grid is designed to fit onto an 8.5 x 11" sheet of watercolor paper and here are some basic instructions for assembling it:
- Trim a 9 x 12" sheet of watecolor paper to 8.5 x 11" and print the grid onto it (my printer has a rear feed that can handle specialty papers of this type).
- Score a line on the sheet along the center line (as shown on the PDF). This will enable you to fold the palette in half.
- Apply a small piece of Be Creative tape to each of the squares on the grid.
- Cut 1" squares from each watercolor sheet in the package (you could also use a 1" punch)
- Sort the squares by color family--I had to do a little test painting on some scrap watercolor paper to make sure I was getting them grouped into the right basic color families (yellow, orange, pink, red, purple, blue, green, brown and black)
- Mount the squares to the grid (by color family/rainbow fashion, if you like).
- Use Washi Tape to secure a 5.5 x 8.5" piece of Clear Plastic or acetate along the center fold of the palette. This can be used for color mixing and also keeps the colors from rubbing against each other when the palette is closed.
- Paint a swatch of each color directly beneath the little 1" square and your palette is ready for use!
I also filmed the construction of my palette, so you can enjoy watching each step here on video:
I didn't create an additional cover or decorate my palette at this point, but you certainly could. Mine is thin enough at this point, I can easily slip it into a package of watercolor paper to take with me when traveling and it would take up barely any space, which I totally love! Also, if/when I run out of a particular color, I'll simply replace it with another square of the same.
I had to take my new palette for a quick test run, so I immediately watercolored card, of course! :) Waterbrushes are awesome for traveling, but you can just as easily use a regular brush and a cup of water with these lovely sheets of color.
As far as painting with Peerless Watercolors goes, the colors are amazing, they flow beautifully, they are transparent and blend wonderfully together! And, by making your own palette, and taking along a waterbrush, you can easily paint on the go, any time, anywhere! SO COOL!!!
We'll continue to bring you more information on these and other watercolor products as they continue to arrive in the shop.