18 November 2014

Pigment+Palette - 11th Edition

I'm very excited to present the unboxing of my second Pigment+Palette shipment!  For anyone who may not know, Pigment+Palette (P+P for short) delivers monthly boxes of art supplies to subscribers.  The boxes may contain full- or sample-sized items and the contents are a secret until the box is opened.  It's the perfect thing for artists like me who love to experiment with new tools.  Let's see what was inside the 11th Edition box~

Unopened Pigment+Palette Box
The P+P logo isn't just printed, it's laser-cut into the box!
The 11th Edition's Featured Art Print
The 11th Edition's featured art: "Bandito" by Derek Nobbs

I think by the time my box arrived, both Halloween and Dia de los Muertos were already over, but it was still nice to see a festive theme for the box.  And I always appreciate watercolor art, especially bright, bold pieces like this.  The box's official theme, "Dead Man's Party", invariably sets my brain to playing Oingo Boingo's song of the same name.  I just love that cheerfully grim, upbeat music!

Unpacking the Box, Table of Contents
The table of contents and a little peek inside the box.

In this box I received [specific traits in brackets]:
  • R&F Pigment Stick [dianthus pink] with information pamphlet
  • Strathmore 500 Series Gemini Watercolor Paper [300 lb. cold press, two 4x6" sheets]
  • Dynasty Black Gold Whales Tail Brush [size 1/4]
  • Holbein Acryla Gouache [titanium white]

As of this writing, there is only one item I haven't yet tried out.  It's actually the first item on the list: the R&F pigment stick.  The color is a vibrant bubblegum pink, lots of cuteness potential there, but the fact that it's an oil paint in stick form has made it rather a misfit in this box's watercolor-centric lineup.  I'm not sure if I should just try to use the stick by itself in an experimental manner, or create a full-blown (though probably small size) oil painting that somehow incorporates the stick.  I'll have to mull it over until inspiration hits.  Oils just aren't my forte or my cup of tea.

All 11th Edition Contents Revealed
An interesting group of items in this box!

Paint stick aside, I've tested out all the other items in this box.  I'm happy with them all, too.  My favorite item is the next one on the list: the watercolor paper.  It is simply glorious to use!  I'm afraid it's difficult to describe precisely why I enjoyed it so much, but I can say that it was one of the best watercolor surfaces I've ever used.  I just loved how the watercolor reacted to the paper, the organic edges I received, the way I could mop up wet color if I wished, being able to mix colors right there on the page.  And of course, the 300 lb. weight meant that the paper didn't disintegrate, crumble, curl, or buckle one bit.  If you love working with watercolors, I highly recommend this paper.  I never knew Strathmore made anything so wonderful.  I'm happy that I still have one more sheet to play with!

The remaining two items were surprisingly not used together in my test painting (you can see and read about the painting in this blog post) even though they seem to naturally go together as paint and brush.  No, this brush, as adorable as it is (whales tail! I can't take how cute that is!), is only good when wanting to create a very specific type of texture/mark.  I did try at first to get varying types of strokes out of it, but I ended up using it only to create a pretty, mottled sort of background for my painting.  I'd say this brush is a 'nice to have' rather than a 'must have'; it made really cool organic shapes but it's not useful for anything else.

As for the paint, at first I was stumped as to what I was going to do with white gouache on white watercolor paper.  Luckily I realized I could use watercolor first, adding gouache at the end for details and highlights.  It worked wonderfully!  It didn't push the paint to its limits or test how it blends or gradates, but at the very least I know what I'll turn to whenever I need to add opaque white details to my watercolors in the future.  White gouache works, visually and texturally, so much better than white ink or acrylic on a watercolor painting!  (On an amusing side note, I was tickled by the Japanese subtitling on the paint tube.  I couldn't help but chuckle when I saw that the katakana for "titanium white" is "chitaniumu howaito".  I always assume I know exactly how English words will translate to katakana and then I get schooled by random items like this, ha ha ha.)

Other P+P subscribers, what did you think of this box?  What have you created with your items?  Did you get anything different from me?  Everyone else, is there anything you'd like to know about this box that I didn't cover?  Anyone have an idea of how I should test out my pigment stick??