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Old 08-18-2016, 12:25 PM
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denisesoden denisesoden is offline
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Re: The cheap watercolour set challenge!!

I have some Prangs and Crayolas at home. I'll try to do some sketches today or tomorrow
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Old 08-19-2016, 05:53 AM
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Re: The cheap watercolour set challenge!!

Super!
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Old 08-20-2016, 12:14 PM
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Re: The cheap watercolour set challenge!!

What a fabulous set of paintings. I tried this a while ago as a challenge from my other half. This is what I started out with :



Everything was the cheapest - paint, paper, brushes. Everything for under $10 I think.

Of all the things the paint was the best and I was quite surprised how good it was to work with. The paper I hated and the brushes! Oh the brushes. This is what happened when I tried to wash the coating off before using them.



All the bristles came out. They continued to come out as I painted - the things would be practically bald after a few paintings.

But the end result came out really well I thought. I was able to get good depth with the colors and they weren't as opaque as I'd feared to start with.



(You can see the shed bristles on the paper in the background).

Now I wouldn't recommend anyone starting out to use the cheap paper and I wouldn't recommend anyone at all to use the brushes (wretched things). But the paint - the paint was surprisingly good. I could imagine having a smaller set as a travel palette and doing some sketches.
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Old 08-20-2016, 01:09 PM
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Re: The cheap watercolour set challenge!!

That's great, Michele! I like the interesting texture the bristles give to the background I've had brushes shed (even more expensive ones) but that one definitely wins the prize.

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Old 08-20-2016, 02:25 PM
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Re: The cheap watercolour set challenge!!

That parrot sketch is GREAT Michele! Fantastic! Bravo bravo!!

Cheap brushes and cheap paper were not obligatory in this challenge as it could be enough of a challenge to paint with cheap paints. Depending the paints of course.. as the results showed that most of the cheap sets perform surprisingly well.

The Loew Cornelle seem to be great for sketches and if someone uses them only in sketchbooks they probably will not have any lightfastness issues.

Regarding how opaque are some colours.. to tell you the truth I don't consider this as a disadvantage. If paints are too opaque you can always work with them by diluting them with more water. For me the problem starts if the paints are very weak and not enough pigmented ... then you have to use more paint layer after layer for as long as your paper can withstand such abuse. If it can't.. there's no salvation!!
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Old 08-28-2016, 07:22 PM
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Lyndylu Lyndylu is offline
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Re: The cheap watercolour set challenge!!

This challenge intrigued me, so I dug up my daughter's $2.95 Binney & Smith set that I bought for her about 1990 and hasn't been used since. Binney & Smith are the makers of Crayola. The first thing I did was spray the paints to reconstitute them. In minutes they were very juicy, with the consistency of cream. When I made the swatches below, I noticed they didn't dry with a smooth gradation, but maybe that was due to the fact that I was using the reverse side of a piece of Strathmore 140 lb.



This is the inside of the box after I did my test painting:



I started painting, struggling a bit with the thickness of the paint clinging to the brush. I was using a larger quantity of paint to water than usual, because they are not as dense with pigment as I am used to. And then OOPS! I DROPPED MY BRUSH! Grrr....



I covered up some of my booboo with more foreground paint, and attempted to scrub off the rest with a Praxo brush. Got most of it. Below is the result. It is about 8x10 inches on the back of another painting. I see now that I forgot to finish the front of the house.

This is part of a series I have started that I am calling "Drive-by Shootings of the American West." We did a lot of traveling this summer, and as we drove, I took photos of farms through the car window; I'm using them as references for my learn-to-paint exercises.



My conclusion: A cheap paint set is perfectly fine for doing little sketches. Maybe I'll use one when traveling. I'm painting the same composition with my better paints on Arches, and I actually like this painting better because it is looser -- since I didn't really care if I ruined the paper or not. Let this be a lesson. *smile*

Thanks for the challenge! It was revealing.





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Old 08-28-2016, 10:01 PM
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Re: The cheap watercolour set challenge!!

Wonderful! And to think they are over 20 years old and the colors are still that bright!
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:08 PM
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manfrommerriam manfrommerriam is offline
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Re: The cheap watercolour set challenge!!

Okay... so I cheated. But let me plead my case. I dug around and found an old watercolor set from, (I'm guessing) someones school days long ago.

But, it was empty !
So I drove to a couple of shops. Those Prang sets are currently USD 6.99 to USD 7.99, plus sales taxes. Yes I know they were cheaper during the pre-school sales but this is now. The $7.99 one I had a 40% discount ticket for... but adding on the sales tax it would be still break the bank at $5.23.

So I bought a set of pans at 40% off. Paid the taxes. Calculated how much each pan had cost and saw I could use 3.66 of them... 3 in other words.


I told my bride I'd be home late for dinner. Ran out to the local kayaking lake. Spotted a lady pulling her boat out of the water. Scribbled on a WalMart pad of 140CP paper. Jumped up on the park bench and had at it.


Biggest problem... very humid, drying drove me nuts. Anyhow... here it is:


Comments ? Dave
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Old 08-31-2016, 01:29 AM
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Lyndylu Lyndylu is offline
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Re: The cheap watercolour set challenge!!

Great story, Dave, and stupendous painting -- meaning I really like it.
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Old 08-31-2016, 10:08 AM
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Re: The cheap watercolour set challenge!!

So here is your kit and painting, Dave! Look at all the greens you got from your cheapie limited palette! Nice job, I hope you were forgiven for being late.
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Old 08-31-2016, 03:31 PM
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MarialenaS MarialenaS is offline
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Re: The cheap watercolour set challenge!!

Wow!!! Fantastic works from everyone not to mention the fantastic and vintage watercolour sets.
I'm glad you all have great time painting. Let me remind you that the challenge has no time limit so each and everyone is welcomed to join with whatever cheap set has available.

As I said previously Prangs are in the challenge as their price varies from store to store. I have found them on US Amazon for 2.5 dollars and on the UK Amazon for 22 pounds!!! ( that sort of stealing price.... )

The paper and the brushes are not part of the challenge so please don't feel obliged to buy something if you don't want to.

Join and have fun!

Last edited by MarialenaS : 08-31-2016 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 08-31-2016, 03:34 PM
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Re: The cheap watercolour set challenge!!

Dave the yellow vintage watercolour box is fantastic and your painting just perfect. Bravo!!
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Old 08-31-2016, 10:39 PM
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Re: The cheap watercolour set challenge!!

Dave, that's wonderful! Bonus points for doing it plein aire!!

OK, time I posted the last two trials with the kiddy paint.

So, just for this challenge, I went to Walmart and purchased two sets of paint from the kid's section. One was Cra-Z-Art Washable 16 colors and the other was Crayola Washable 16 Colors. Both of them together were under $5 - a steal of a deal!

To start, I took a look at the boxes and brushes. The boxes are both nice hard plastic cases with removable paint trays. The Cra-Z-Art one has one molded plastic tray for all the paint:



While the Crayola box has two removable trays and a built-in brush holder at the center:



It occurs to me that each of these would make fine palette boxes for half or whole pans. They are light but sturdy, and hold a LOT of pans! The Cra-Z-Art box will take 46 half or 37 whole pans, of course you could leave some out to make room for a brush or other supplies. The Crayola box has the molded brush holder, so I worked around it. That box holds 44 half or 28 whole pans assuming you use the brush holder as intended. There would probably be room for another row of pans if you knocked the pegs off and sanded the box smooth.

As for the brushes themselves, hmmm. The Crayola one looks to be natural hair, probably squirrel or some similar varmint. The Cra-Z-Art brush is just . I did not try either one.


Now, to the paint!

The Crayola set was the more costly of the two, at a whopping $2.97. The colors were easy to wet and brush up, though they have this odd shininess that really turns me off:


That's *dry* paint. Yuck. Anyway, here's the full set:


Bright and cheerful they are! And shiny finish aside, they do work up nice on some quick-sketched birds. All the samples in this post are after Peterson (Field Guide to Western Birds), Strathmore Windpower9" x 12" pad. Painted with a waterbrush and drawn rapidly with a Kuretake #40 ink brush. That's the strong blacks in the wings and all, the kit black paints were both too wimpy for more than gray tones.


This time I did some w/w tests in the backgrounds and the paint flowed well for some nice effects. These are not chalky at all, offering strong pure color. The almost-identical red-oranges paint out as very different tints, so there's more color variety in the box than at first glance. I could see kids being very confused with this, but I got a beat on it quickly. Since I overshot the beak on the Western Tanager, decided to try the white paint the way a child might use it: like Wite-out. It does not cover very well. Better than the Cra-Z-Art set, but still pretty worthless.


The Cra-Z-Art set was cheaper ($1.64), but surprised me with the intensity of the paint. Pretty, pretty colors!


None of that shiny medium either! Nice and matte.


Odd thing with this set was the black. Take a look at this - the left, rectangular patch was wet when I took the photo. Notice the color? I thought it was some kind of forest green, but then when it dried, it looked like the swashy swatch above and to the right. Green paint hue-shifts to black upon drying? Poor kids are going to be so confused!


But, other than that and the utterly worthless white, it's actually kind of fun to paint with this set. The paint was harder to scrub up than the Crayola set, but once I got it going:



I'm getting tired of the relentless gray/green/blue in the corporate landscaping where I paint plein aire, this has been a refreshing change! Unlike the Prang paint, these two sets are ultimately a little too cheap-and-nasty to make me want to keep painting with them. I'll probably give them away to kids and let them enjoy.

For our playtime though, it's been very enjoyable research. Do I get a terminal degree in kid paint now?
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Old 09-01-2016, 03:31 AM
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Re: The cheap watercolour set challenge!!

Post doctorate!!
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Old 09-01-2016, 01:18 PM
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Re: The cheap watercolour set challenge!!

Gorgeous macaw Michele! I still need to do this challenge! I'm prepping for a show Sunday bit hopefully can do it afterwards.
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