Monday, July 26, 2010

Keeping a Paint Notebook

I began experimenting with background washes today, mostly whites on bright backgrounds. It soon became clear that I didn't have all the acrylic paints I need (I've been working in watercolor for the past two years) so I decided to take an inventory.

and add an acrylic paint chart to my Paint Notebook.

This notebook is one of the best tools I've made for myself. It is simply a collection of watercolor papers loosely bound into a three ring notebook in which I keep my own color charts of paints I use. There's no particular organization to it but I don't mix media on the same page. My paint notebook is a wonderful memory aid so I don't have to keep re-inventing the wheel. After a while, one becomes accustomed to the differences in brands, colors, and mixing formulas and the book isn't needed. But when time passes and I haven't used a particular medium for a while, it's nice to be able to refer back to it.

Some of my charts are to show color differences in brands of paint or a particular palette of colors I like to use.

Some pages are graphs for mixing colors.

Others pages show a particular quality, such as staining or non-staining watercolors.

I have a page for golds and iridescent paints with different under-body colors.

I have a page with flesh tones.

In most cases, I try to indicate the type of paint, the brand, the color name, and perhaps some notes about it. I have a file of paint charts created by individual companies but, really, what you are seeing is only an approximation of the color. I find that laying down the actual paint on paper is a much truer way to see for yourself how it will look and perform.

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