Posts Tagged "art"

My DIY Portable Watercolor Kit

DIY postable watercolor kit

My work space at home is still the most ideal location for painting but there are times when I need to work outside the house like when I do demos or live portraiture and also when I meet with friends for art dates so I DIY-ed a portable watercolor kit that comfortably allows me to bring my at-home work experience wherever I go. In case you’re in the process of making a watercolor travel or plein-air kit too, I’m sharing mine with you. 🙂

DIY watercolor travel kit

The actual kit is a red pouch that measures 11.5″ x 8.5″ that I purchased for P88 years ago in Daiso. I think it’s a travel accessory pouch but I’ve found it suitable for storing my painting materials especially since the mesh front pocket allows anything that might still be wet inside it to air dry even when already packed. The kit is sitting on a wooden book stand (bought from Fully Booked but it’s similar to this one) that I use as an easel when doing on-the-spot portraits. I have a portable table easel too, you’ll see it in use in this video, but it’s bigger and heavier so I only use it for outdoor events or when I hold workshops.

DIY watercolor plein air kit

The back of the pouch has two more pockets where I store watercolor journals, pads and paper towels. See just how sulit this P88 bag is? By the way, the Clester journal is from Sekaido in Tokyo (I also use the Albireo journal which is slightly cheaper) and the Bockingford pad is from ArtWhale.

What’s inside the bag:

  1. Brush stnad (given by my friend Jovan (@starshuffler). I believe she bought this in an art store n Hong Kong), Never leave your brushes submerged in water, guys. You can rest them on paper towels when not in use but I particularly like how this holder lets my brushes’ bristles dry while keeping their shape.
  2. A roll-up tool case I bought from crafter friend Nikki of Tweed & Twine. I like that this tool case has wide pockets so I can keep rulers and small pocket palettes in it too. Also, fabric = breathable!
  3. Flat water bottle from my Holbein Pro Compo II travel set – a kit I stopped using because it’s quite heavy and bulky. I transferred the paint from it into a folding palette.
  4. My husband‘s 20-year-old Schmincke watercolor palette (video of when I first discovered it here), resurrected for my personal use.  😛
  5. Collapsible water pail that I bought in Sekaido (Shinjuku main branch) last year.
  6.  Little tin container bought for P29 in Landmark. I have lots of these and I use them for storing extra paint pans or graphite sticks.

The usual art materials:

  1. Silver Black Velvet Brush #8, a gift from my cousin abroad, locally available from Craft Carrot. The bristles are synthetic and I like how I can make both fine lines and semi-thick washes with it.
  2. Artetje Canlon Pro 5/0 brush I bought in Sekaido. I think it’s meant for miniature work and I only use it for detail work if necessary.
  3. Escoda Aquario #12 Squirrel Mop from ArtWhale — my all-time favorite brush. It’s a great mop for laying down initial washes of transparent color and if I forget to bring my other brushes, the pointy end is awesome for sketchy detail work too.
  4. Escoda Reserva #8 Kolinsky Sable Brush, also from ArtWhale — my next favorite brush. It’s collapsible so it’s perfect for travel. It can hold a lot of paint and is great for laying down juicy strokes of color which supplements the initial base washes made by the Aquario. I have a video of the two brushes in action on my Youtube watercolor tutorial channel.
  5. Some of the paint in the original palette has dried up so I filled it with colors I actually use which is a combination of Shin Han, White Nights, and leftover Shcmincke pans. I alternate this palette with my other folding palettes (see photo below), depending on what I’ll be painting that day.
  6. Viarco ArtGraf Water-Soluble Tailor Shape Graphite Block in Sanguine and ArtGraf Graphite Stick, both from ArtWhale. These are awesome and dissolve unbelievably smooth with no obvious streaking, perfect for live figure drawing sessions.
  7. Selection of paper — usually Strathmore. Khadi and Bockingford from ArtWhale, Hahnemuhle from Deovir Arts, Fabriano from NBS, and Canson Montval or Arches from IFEX or NBS. See my old blog post comparing different watercolor papers and on my watercolor tools (part 1, part 2)

watercolor palettes

My alternate folding palettes. I love this kind of palette since they are light, inexpensive and they have ample space for mixing colors. The one on the left is the palette I use the most since I’m already accustomed to the paints in it. You can refer to this old post for the colors / brands it contains (though I replaced 3 or 4 of the colors since writing that post). The palette on the right contains Holbein paint from that I transferred from my Pro Compo II travel kit which, as mentioned above, is really too bulky for me to lug around.

And finally below is what the portable setup looks like when in use.

Also here 😀

A post shared by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre (@arncyn) on

How about you? What’s in your portable watercolor kit? If you have blog posts about it please do share the links with me in the comments section. 🙂

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What Colors to Choose for a Minimalist Watercolor Palette + White Nights Review

Since White Nights (a.k.a. St. Petersburg) Watercolors from Russia became available here in Manila via Deovir, I’ve read a lot of reviews online and have even heard from art-friends that they are easy to re-wet and are highly pigmented. So, being low on EQ I decided to get a few pans for myself. You might already know that I’m not a fan of buying sets (though I have some but they’re either gifts and/or were purchased when I hadn’t the slightest clue about pigments and lightfastness) so I made sure to do my research before buying the paints. My self-imposed rules:

  1. I must be able to use the colors and their combinations in what I love to draw the most — faces, food, and felines (okay, animals in general :))
  2. The colors must consist of single pigments — this is to ensure lightfastness and also reduce the incidence of mud when layering.
  3. They have to fit into my handy DIY mint tin palette, meaning a maximum of 9 pans was in order.
  4. I can’t spend over P1,000.00 because do I really need another set of paints? Umm, no  (see previous post), but then need is sometimes < want. Fortunately White Nights, like ShinHan, isn’t as expensive as the other brands so I was able to stay below my limit.

White Nights Watercolors customized palette

So taking all that into account, here are the colors I ended up with along with their pigment info & light fastness ratings:
— 2 reds (1 cool, 1 warm): Madder Lake Red Light (PR 187 / LF ***) and Cadmium Red Light (PR 108 / LF ***)
— 1 warm yellow: Cadmium Yellow Medium (PY 35 / LF ***)
— 1 green: Emerald Green (PG7 / LF ***)
— 2 earth hues: Raw Sienna (PBr 7 / LF ***) and Burnt Sienna (PBr 7 / LF ***)
— 2 blues (1 warm, 1 cool): Ultramarine (PB29 / LF ***) and Prussian Blue (PB27 / LF ***)
— 1 neutral: Payne’s Grey (PBk7, PB15, PV3 / LF **)
[source]

The last one, Payne’s Grey is not a single-pigment color (it’s made up of 3 pigments) and is something I could’ve gone without since I can mix greys using some of the colors so it’s really just a handy “convenience hue” for days when I can’t be bothered to do extra mixing. 😀

Just to show you the range of colors that are possible using just these 9 pans, here are a couple of watercolor charts I made:

White Nights Watercolor Chart

This one (above) shows the range of color combinations and tonal ranges that can be achieved from mixing the brights with the darks. And just because I always paint portraits and people, I made a separate color chart mainly for the reds and yellows (below). I just added the column for green since there was extra space.

white nights watercolor chart skintones

Here’s something I painted using just the colors in the palette (you can view the work-in-progress video on my Instagram). I used them on Khadi Paper purchased a while back from ArtWhale.

white nights watercolor palette

My capsule review for White Nights Watercolors:
1. Indeed they are easy to re-wet, pick up with the brush and are highly pigmented (some colors more than others though)
2. They are also highly transparent — except for the Cadmiums which are opaque — so they are great for layering.
3. At only P87.00 per pan (except for the Cadmiums which are I think P120 / pan), they are quite affordable. My customized set amounted to around P849.00 and it consists of colors that I will actually use. (Sets usually have 3 or more pans that I always end up never using.) Also, these are FULL pans, not half pans, so you get a lot of paint for your hard-earned cash. 😛

And here is something else I painted using White Nights, a simple maguro sushi for my Youtube Channel (hah! If you’re one of my whopping 3 regular viewers, thank you for not laughing at my attempts to make these home videos <3)

Other observations:
1. ShinHan, Holbein, and Daniel Smith are still my favorites in terms of color intensity and flow but I’m happy to have this inexpensive set of vivid paints for drawings that will be scanned and for practice work. Van Gogh, my student-grade set that was a birthday gift from Arnold last year, is my other go-to for practice work but they are strangely more expensive than White Nights.
2. The pans remain moist for a while so I can’t close the lid of the tin until they dry completely because they might stick in the lid when I store them sideways.

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My Watercolor Portrait Workshop: quick recap + snaps

Last Saturday I had the privilege of teaching my first watercolor class on portraits. If anyone told the me of 2015 that I’d be holding workshops in a year’s time, I would have laughed in their face. Seriously, it took me a lot of thinking, overthinking, and convincing to finally crawl out of my comfort zone and gather the confidence to actually go and do it. Why? Because workshops are the new ballet lessons? Well …yes (*sheepish smile*) but also because I’ve gained so much from being part of Manila’s growing handmade art community so it’s time to give back. <3 And why not share what I’ve learned over the years decades that I’ve been drawing faces to budding artists who share the same passion for creating?

But first, credit where it’s due. The first and only drawing-related workshop I ever attended is veteran artist Fernando Sena’s Summer Art Workshop way back in 1986. Believe me that was enough. (He still conducts these workshops, do check them out.) It was an intensive 8-session art course (complete with an on-site sketching session at Hinulugang Taktak in Antipolo, a “graduation” and an exhibit) while I was between 2nd and 3rd year high school and that was where I honed my drawing skills. I learned how to use graphite, charcoal, oil pastels, and even oil paints. It completely prepared me for the courses in the UP College of Fine Arts that I would eventually take. 🙂

oil portrait painting by cynthia bauzon arre

An oil portrait painting I made of my Tita Lina back in 1986. My Ate Peach sent this pic to me via IG. Haven’t seen it in years since it’s in their family home in Sydney. 🙂

After that I’d do charcoal and oil portraits of relatives, friends, and the random 80s teen hearthrob (i.e. River Phoenix, Scott Baio, Robby Rosa… I know, so very #titahits). It was only last year when I picked up the old hobby again and taught myself how to do it using watercolors by watching Youtube videos and reading tutorials. I would also observe Arnold whenever he drew and applied some of his digital sketching techniques to my analog work. And that’s how I developed a watercolor portrait style that I’m quite happy with — and that’s what I shared and demonstrated in my class last Saturday.

It was held at Hey Kessy, a cute little art and crafts store in Katipunan which also houses a charmingly decorated brightly-lit workshop venue. It’s also where I did the Shrink Art workshop last year. I love the place’s artsy, creative vibe so please expect more workshops from me in the space.

Some photos of what went on…

watercolor workshop portraits

I thought it was important for them to learn face-drawing basics first so I guided the participants on how to do it then let them apply what they learned when sketching from a reference photo. *I just had to pick Kiko Mizuhara as our practice model. How pretty is she?

watercolor workshop portraits watercolor workshop portraits philippines

After we were happy with our respective pencil drawings, we started painting. Below is the result of the face I sketched and painted on-site. Admittedly, this was the part I stressed over for weeks since I’ve never drawn in front of an audience before — can I do it fast enough? Will it turn out okay?

watercolor workshop portraits manila

Below: everyone hard at work on their paintings.

watercolor workshop portraits quezon city

And finally, the result of everyone’s efforts — yay, class photo!

watercolor workshop philippines

A few of the participants are illustrators like my friend Jovan de Ocampo who’s a cake designer and longtime member of AngINK; some are young art students looking to hone their portrait skills, and some are new to watercolors and admitted that they’ve never properly drawn faces before. But look at their outputs above and below, they did it and I think some of their own styles are already emerging! I’m so proud of them. 🙂

workshop participant works

One of the participants, Chu, even shared a before and after photo (below, left)  of a portrait she made a month ago (inset) and her work after she took my workshop.

workshop student works

The other drawing (aboce, right) is a portrait wherein she used a technique I taught them. So happy to see so much improvement in such a short time!

You can keep track of my workshops and student outputs via the hashtag #cynarreworkshops on Instagram. I will definitely hold another class like this soon so if you’d like to join the next one, please leave a comment on this post + your preference of area (QC / Makati) so I can update you once I get hold of more details. 🙂

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My watercolors, brushes, and painting tools (Part 2)

It’s time for PART 2 of this blog post from June of last year:  My watercolors, brushes, and other painting tools

Since that entry, I’ve added *just* a few more paints to my arsenal. Most of my watercolors at the time were student grade pan sets, but after practicing for months, I thought I deserved a good selection of artist grade watercolors that I can use for the commissions that were surprisingly starting to trickle in (thanks to my posting of work online). 🙂

After consulting with friends, doing lots of research on sites like Handprint and WetCanvas AND considering what I can afford, I chose the brands ShinHan PWC (Premium Watercolors) and Holbein. These two Asian brands are known for creamy, brilliant colors that are quite similar in behavior and quality. I chose tubes because I have a tendency to mix pan colors on the pans themselves and after a while, I can’t tell which is which anymore. Obviously I won’t have that problem with tubes if I squeeze out just enough for what I need at the time of painting.

ShinHan PWC Extra Fine Artists Watercolor

ShinHan PWC Extra Fine Artists Watercolors in 5ml and 15ml tubes — Permanent Red, Vandyke Brown, Ultramarine Deep, Mineral Violet, Viridian, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Permanent Magenta, and Marine Blue. (Exclusively available from ArtWhale)

I already have a few tubes of the ShinHan Korean Colors which I already reviewed here and here. PWC is ShinHan’s top-of-the-line paint and is made with high quality pigments and the finest grade gum arabic which produces beautifully transparent but vivid, fade-resistant colors, as you can see in the swatches above. I also love how I can mix a variety of interesting hues from just those few colors in my palette.

And here’s a comparison test I did sometime ago where you can clearly see the difference between ShinHan Korean Colors and ShinHan PWC.

In my previous blog post, I mentioned that I already had a few tubes of Holbein Watercolors but that I haven’t really used them much because of the colors I picked. Since that time I purchased a travel set containing colors from their 12-tube set in pan form. The set also includes a little flask, two synthetic hair travel brushes, sponges, and receptacles for water for easy use when painting plein air.
holbein pro compo travel kit

Holbein watercolors in the Pro-Compo Mini II Travel Kit – Burnt Sienna, Chinese White, Crimson Lake, Permanent Green #1, Prussian Blue, Viridian, Burnt Umber, Cobalt Blue, Ivory Black, Permanent Yellow Light, Vermilion, and Yellow Ochre + 5ml tubes of Compose Blue, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Lilac, Violet Grey, Lavender, Jaune Brilliant #2, Opera, Leaf Green, Permanent Violet, and Indigo. (Available from Deovir Arts though my travel kit is from an indie seller on IG)

Holbein, like ShinHan PWC, is wonderfully creamy and vibrant and re-wets easily. Just dab your wet brush onto the dry paint and the color will leap into your brush like metal files to a magnet. 😀 It also produces beautiful transparent washes and intense hues. I’m very happy with my choice of paints.

Here’s something I painted entirely with Holbein:

A photo posted by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre (@arncyn) on

(Lots more on Instagram as always.)

And now for the brushes I’ve added to my tool kit —

escoda silver brush black velvet winsor & newton brushes

From left to right: Winsor & Newton Foundation Brushes #2, 4, and 6; Silver Brush Black Velvet #8, and Escoda Reserva #8 which I keep in a Tweed & Twine rollup tool case

brush-tests002

  • The W&N brushes are actually from my workshop kits (so if you signed up for my Watercolor Portrait Workshop on Feb.20 at Hey Kessy, you’ll be receiving a set of these!). I got a set for myself from IFEX Philippines and I’ve been using them as an alternative to my W&N Series 7 Kolinsky brushes since I don’t want to wear those out. These ones are synthetic and have a good snap to them, making them excellent for detail work! (Available at NBS & Fully Booked branches for only P185/set)
  • This Black Velvet brush is made of a blend of squirrel hair and synthetic filament and I find it very soft and absorbent. I love how the point stays in shape so I can make both fine lines and bold strokes with it. (Available locally from Craft Carrot though I got mine as a gift from a relative in the US)
  • The Escoda Reserva Kolinsky-Tajmyr Sable is my absolute favorite watercolor brush because it’s an all-in-one — it’s a travel brush so it can be collapsed. It also has terrific liquid-retaining capacity and the hair holds sharp points, making it perfect for juicy washes, bold strokes, and fine lines. Also, how gorgeous is that golden brass ferrule? (Available from ArtWhale)

See also: My watercolors, brushes, and other painting tools and My favorite watercolor papers

How about you, what are your watercolor painting must-haves? Please do share!

 

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My Shrink Plastic Workshop, Our Adult Coloring Books, and Holiday Bazaar Schedules

Hi guys! First of all, a quick reminder that my Shrink Plastic Crafting Workshop is happening this Saturday, November 21, from 1-4pm at Hey Kessy in Katipunan .Please head to this link to view the details and/or sign up for a slot. The fee already includes basic materials and snacks but participants can get extra shrink plastic sheets from me at a discount.

Below is an example of what you can learn to make. among so many other fun things, with shrink film. 🙂

A photo posted by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre (@arncyn) on

And if you’re wondering about the doodles in the background of my shrinkydink “sampayan” collar pin, those are some of the illustrations you will find in my coloring book FLUTTERBY.  😀
arnold arre cynthia bauzon arre coloring books

Thanks to Chamber Shell Publishing, Arnold and I both have our own adult coloring books.

LOCAL COLOR – A Philippine Fantasy Coloring Book features (as the subtitle says) Arn’s Filipino fantasy themed illustrations that depict both modern and classic facets of our mythology. Think diwatas, aswangs, people from a techno-future and what-have-you.  🙂  It has 30 of his original drawings contained in 64 9″ x 12″ pages, perforated so you can tear out and frame your finished colored work! SRP is PHP 295.00

A few more preview images from Arnold Arre’s LOCAL COLOR —

Local Color Filipino Fantasy Coloring Book by Arnold Arre

FLUTTERBY – A Daydreamy Coloring Book has my doodles of girls in dreamy, breezy scenarios that typically involve flowers, leaves, and, on occasion, birds, butterflies, and cute furry creatures. There are 20 original hand-drawn pen and ink drawings in 44 pages, also perforated. SRP is P150.00.

A few more preview images from FLUTTERBY —

Flutterby Coloring Book by Cynthia Arre

The covers for both books aren’t glossy on purpose so you can color them too if you want! They will be in bookstores soon but you can also order directly from the publisher at orders@nautiluscomics.net for stress-free delivery to your doorstep! Bulk and overseas shipping are available as options. 😀

UPDATE: Limited quantities of Flutterby are now available at my online shop!

I will also be bringing a few of my books to the holiday bazaars which I’ll be participating in soon. So far, here is my schedule.

November 28 (Saturday) – BGC Art Mart
December 6 (Sunday) – BGC Art Mart
(unconfirmed date) – Steady Sunday Bazaaro

It might get even quieter here on the blog as I prepare for the art fairs but you can always check my Instagram for (a bit more) regular updates. 😀

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I'm Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, a Filipino illustrator, graphic designer, and craft hobbyist. I live in QC with my talented graphic novelist hubby Arnold and our friendly marmalade tabby Abbas. This blog has been chronicling my life, likes, and loves since 2001. [ more ]

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