View Full Version : Watercolor Tubes

Mr. Teatime
06-27-2001, 10:28 AM
I just moved up from Watercolor Pans to Watercolor Tubes, and I'm afraid to use the tubes because I'm not sure how much to squeeze out for what kind of solution. I've got a pallette with about 3" x 3" wash plates. Do I squeeze a pea-size amount? Dime-size? Help me out here.

06-27-2001, 10:37 AM
Hi there, MT. I'm moving this thread over to the watercolor forum, where I'm sure you'll get plenty of help.

I'll leave a redirect here in the cafe so you can find it still ...


06-27-2001, 10:55 AM
Hi, The amount of paint will depend on how much colour you want and how big you painting is going to be. Trial and error might be the way to go - try a pea-sized amount of paint to start with and take it from there. As you become more familiar with the tubes you will know when to take just a scrape and when a good blob is needed. (These are technical terms!!)

I use a Robert E Woods plastic palette and squeeze out half a tube at a time into the wells. You might find this easier, as you will get a similar effect to using the pans.

Good luck:)

06-27-2001, 11:52 AM
I know exactly what you mean -- I came from oil to watercolors about three months ago and I had all these tubes of watercolor paint, but they were small tubes and expensive. I thought well I can't use them like oils or I'll go broke -- so I called a couple of watercolor painters I knew and ask them.

Here is the long and short of it:

First a watercolor palette for tube paint is not mulch different than your palette with pans except instead of pans you have little wells about the size of pans.

Second squeeze out about half a tube (artist size) of your favorite color into each well and start using it -- BTW, after a day or so it will dry up and be very similar to your old pan paint. Just add water and paint. Advantage -- you could squeeze out less and therefore almost always have "fresh" paint.

Good Luck -- Keep Posting,


06-27-2001, 12:37 PM
I have found that the dark colors go a long way...hence you may want to reduce the amount of dark colors relative to the amount of lighter ones.

I think Javier has captured the main idea though...if it drys out it's just like your pan paints for the most part.

I like the way tube paints mix at the outset, so I try to use just as much as I need at the moment.

06-27-2001, 04:48 PM
My approach is to squeeze out slightly more than I think I will need for the painting and add more if I find myself short.

After each session I scrub my palette (some plastic butchers trays) clean. It's a little wasteful but the cost isn't crippling me (yet)

I like painting with fresh tube paint each time I sit down. I can't bring myself to worry away at dried paint or pans with a brush.


06-28-2001, 08:15 AM
It seems to me that if I squeeze out a good size blob and then add a bit fresh paint each time I need it that the consistence stays right. Before I begin I spray a bit of water on my paints to get them ready. Also often leave a wet sponge in the palette to keep them just right.

06-29-2001, 06:51 PM
I filled the wells of my palette with paint from my tubes, then top up each time with fresh paint . I also add a drop of clear water to each well daily to keep them soft. This way no paint is wasted at all,

06-29-2001, 07:24 PM
Mr. Teatime, I thought you were asking about proportions of paint to water. I usually start with an amount of paint the volume of two or three peas, and mix four or five drops of water into it. That makes a medium-to-strong mix. You can always add more paint to make it stronger, or more water to make it weaker. If you're doing large washes, you'll need to increase the amounts, obviously.

I like to use fresh paint each time, because I inevitably get all of the colors dirty in the course of a painting, and I want to at least begin each painting with clean colors. If anyone knows how to avoid this problem, I'd be happy to know.


06-30-2001, 03:15 AM
Hey Mr Teatime( great name).
Always mix up more wash than you need as there is nothing worse than running out of a colour when you need it most. The strength of your colour will depend on your pigment to water ratio and this you will soon learn. Painting in pure pigment will make you poor very quickly.
Some people mix their colour washes in little saucers and then dilute as required or mix in other saucers when looking for a particular colour mix. Like od says, a little water added to the remaining paint on your palette helps to keep it moist.
Never be frightened with water colour and always Paint like a Millionaire.
Billyg :D:D:D:D