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Old 08-13-2012, 12:16 AM
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Brindle Brindle is offline
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Lightbulb A Reference for Paint Inventory

I wrote a blog post today about it, but wanted to share here the watercolor reference book I put together as a way of keeping track of all my watercolor paints. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit how many there are; let's just say "a lot" and leave it at that, shall we? :P

Anyway, I wanted an easy way to look at color swatches for all my paints and at the group of swatches that comprise what's currently in my working palette. So I hit on the idea of cutting 140 lb watercolor paper into trading card size (2.5" x 3.5"), using those for swatches, and storing them in a binder in trading card sleeves grouped by color. By taping two of the sleeves together, I was able to have a fold-out working palette page that holds 18 swatches. All easily changeable and expandable. After adding sections for manufacturers' pigment data for each brand I use, blank pages for mixing experiments, and a reference section, I've got a pretty handy reference happening!

There is more explanation at my blog post linked above but here are some photos:


Contents page


Yellow swatches


Close up of swatch


Fold out page with swatches corresponding to what's on my palette


Some color play on the blank pages. I love doing color transition charts like this; they are really useful when I need my memory jogged to figure out what to mix to get a particular color.

===

I'm pretty pleased with this book because it puts info about all my paints at my fingertips and is easy to use and maintain. It was pretty inexpensive to put together...about $15 with binder ($2), trading card sleeves ($4 for 10 sheets that hold 18 cards each), and the 9 x 12 Strathmore 140 lb cold press Windpower watercolor pad I cut up to make the blank swatches ($8). It took a few hours to make the swatches, done here and there over a couple of weeks.

I believe there was another thread on how people organize their paints but I couldn't find it in a quick (and wine-addled) search. Anyway, just wanted to share in case this approach appeals to others who are as afflicted as I am with a need to be organized.
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:32 AM
M.L. Schaefer M.L. Schaefer is offline
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Re: A Reference for Paint Inventory

I'm trying to not succumb! My "inventory" consists of ruled paper, one for each Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, Purple, Brown. Paint name, pigment number, lightfastness and manufacturer on each. Then MORE sheets of paper with my favorite paint mixes.... But, now, I'm thinking, what a PERFECT way to store paint mix samples! How many, many times have I found a perfect mix, forgotten to write it down (thinking, heck, I'll remember that one) and then forgetting! I think I'm going to do this for my paint mixes, and, keep some blank sheets, with a black line on it, to keep on the ready for those "unforgettable" mixes! AND, what makes it even more perfect, I do have ACEO sheets which I use for what? Organization! Thanks for sharing this one!

Margarete
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:05 AM
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Re: A Reference for Paint Inventory

I forget all my mixes and then rethink them out on the spot, sometimes knowing I'm getting it wrong. I wish I had a mix chart, as opposed to a hundred scrap paper mixes floating around, unlabeled. A current mix chart that is!
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Old 08-13-2012, 06:15 AM
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Re: A Reference for Paint Inventory

I'm deeply impressed!
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Old 08-13-2012, 08:56 AM
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Re: A Reference for Paint Inventory

Haha Margarete! Resistance is futile!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SSB
I forget all my mixes and then rethink them out on the spot, sometimes knowing I'm getting it wrong. I wish I had a mix chart, as opposed to a hundred scrap paper mixes floating around, unlabeled. A current mix chart that is!

Well I mix on the fly too...but sometimes, I'll remember a certain dusky purple or something and think ... "How the heck did I make that?" These color transition charts sometimes help jog the old memories, and maybe save a little time (although such questions become less rare the more familiar I get with the paints in my palette). Or suggest new directions. Or cause me to veer off on a completely different path. Or completely interrupt my process because I love looking a the colors and will just sit paging through them (and the 6 x 9 watercolor pads I have filled with them) for awhile when I should be painting.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:42 AM
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virgil carter virgil carter is offline
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Re: A Reference for Paint Inventory

Carole, this is one of the most organized and usable color swatch files I've seen--congratulations! It's a model for all those learning their paints/hues and mixes.

At the end of the day (or the painting journey) one must be able to know and understand one's hues and mixes intuitively, but this is a great help to get to that point.

Now, have you thought about your paints from the perspective of transparent, opaque, staining and granulating? Perhaps you have already organized your hue pages along these lines. If not, it might be a further help.

Then there's the natural/inherent value of each hue to consider....! The list of important paint issues seems endless, doesn't it? So much to learn and so little time!

Sling paint!
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:43 AM
jmb57 jmb57 is offline
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Re: A Reference for Paint Inventory

great way of organising, will have to give it a try.
thanks
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:32 AM
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Re: A Reference for Paint Inventory

Quote:
Originally Posted by virgil carter
Carole, this is one of the most organized and usable color swatch files I've seen--congratulations! It's a model for all those learning their paints/hues and mixes.

At the end of the day (or the painting journey) one must be able to know and understand one's hues and mixes intuitively, but this is a great help to get to that point.

Now, have you thought about your paints from the perspective of transparent, opaque, staining and granulating? Perhaps you have already organized your hue pages along these lines. If not, it might be a further help.

Then there's the natural/inherent value of each hue to consider....! The list of important paint issues seems endless, doesn't it? So much to learn and so little time!

Thanks! I'm aware of the various properties of the pigments I buy just from studying them all so intensely. That said, at some point, I'm probably going to go back and record that info plus add a lift stripe across the paint on each swatch. (Just to mitigate the inevitable onset of senility, dontchaknow!)

The funny thing about digging into the nature of watercolor paints and becoming familiar with the pigments is that despite the eleventy-million colors seemingly on offer out there, when you look under the hood, the number of practical options become a lot more limited and thus manageable. That said, for favorite colors and palette staples, it's worth exploring the (sometimes very subtle) differences of a particular color across the brands. These swatches are quite helpful for that.
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Last edited by Brindle : 08-13-2012 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:59 AM
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Re: A Reference for Paint Inventory

What a great, organized binder! I've been going to make myself one for quiet some time now; you've motivated me to get busy. I know I'd benefit from one and so would my paintings. THANKS for sharing.
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:15 AM
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Re: A Reference for Paint Inventory

Hi Carole... you've certainly created a beautiful and useful binder jam packed with great information... I really like your large swatches...

I organized my colours onto strips, which I then fastened with a ring... Not as informative as your binder, it works for me "on the go"... I do all my colour studies on 5x7 pieces of paper that I file into a plastic box.



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Old 08-14-2012, 10:43 AM
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Re: A Reference for Paint Inventory

I *almost* organized the swatches with a ring, Char! I like your 5x7 cards and box for storage. I thought about doing something like that as well, before the trading card sleeve approach occurred to me.

I might still do smaller file-in-a-box cards for mini color charts/wheels and mixing exercises because frankly, those are an ongoing activity in the study of paint and will no doubt fill the blank pages in my binder many times over in the long run. Although admittedly, messing about on the larger 8.5 x 11 page size is kind of freeing, and allows me to look at a whole bunch of practice results at one time. I'm kind of dorky that way...I enjoy looking at my practice pages because the colors are so pretty! In love with the medium, I am.
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Last edited by Brindle : 08-14-2012 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:31 AM
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Re: A Reference for Paint Inventory

I like to do swatches, but have not made either a binder or a key ring assembly. Most of them are done on single sheets, A5-A4 size. And I have scanned them, and it's quite easy to find a sheet of swatches in the "right" range of hues or mixes by using the "Extra large icons" when checking the folder they are in.







Tommy
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