Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New Paints

Oh dear! My ignorance is exposed! When I started drawing this wonderful bird, one who has chosen to winter with us, I thought my comments would merely be about this varied thrush. These birds speak to me of northern wilderness. I first heard one when we moved to Alaska. Later we moved to Oregon and I was delighted to find they winter nearby … and on very rare years they actually winter in my yard.

The weather has been rainy, and I was reduced to drawing from my living room window. (Drawing in the snow is more fun than drawing in the rain). Time to draw my varied thrush before he moves on to higher elevations for the summer. We’ve had up to five at a time for several weeks now. They’ve just started singing their drawn out single flute notes, so I’m pretty sure they won’t be here much longer.

Full of anticipation I opened my new, little Winsor & Newton watercolor paint box I treated myself to recently. This was its maiden voyage. When I ordered the little paint set I focused on how small it is and designed to hold in one hand. I often sketch cramped in the car and I hope this will allow more painting in the car. I didn’t pay much attention to what colors come in the box. I just assumed it would be a good selection.

Oh my! I quickly found out I have been painting from a palette of my own choosing … and felt as if someone had given me a box of colors designed to paint a psychedelic dance scene. Ouch! The whole top row is yellows into reds, but where is Cerulean Blue and I’m unimpressed with Winsor Blue (green shade) and Winsor green (Blue shade). …. And could I please sneak a little Payne’s grey in there? I do see that a few more half pans will fit in the slot designed for a tiny brush. Maybe I can make this work.


  1. Love your thrush, Elva! That would be a fun life bird for me! When I bought my tiny Winsor-Newton field kit (..maybe eight years ago?)it came with student grade cakes. They were horrid. I immediately removed them and filled the pans with my own tube paints. I love the compact little kit now!

  2. Yes, I bought that set several years ago and did the same thing as Vickie, changed all the colors and even added a few more pans. It is great to carry in the field.

    How fun to find your Alaska bird visiting in OR.

  3. The one I made into my new gouache kit had weird colors, too! So...why do I need two screaming bright reds???

    It's easy to change out colors but mildly frustrating since you just paid for them!

    LOVE the thrush, I'd so love to hear one...

  4. Lovely thrush,Elva, and that background wash is so lovely. Same thing happened to me about the paints in the W/N field kit. Like everyone else, I scraped out the paints and replaced with what I liked better. Also,Daniel Smith and several other stores carry empty half-pans if you want to interchange paints from time to time. I fill them with tube paints. But the waste...I never told my family when I threw them out. :)

  5. Love the thrush Elva pity about the paints though. Was gonna say what everyone else has said about replacing with tube paints.....but I won't now. The thrush would be lifer for me, would love to find one in Ireland!!!!!

  6. It's quite beautiful, Elva. And thanks for the tip on the W&N set, hope you can change the pans

  7. By the way, Elva, I like Winsor Blue (green) a lot, but only in the artist grade paints, not Cotmans...nice and transparent!


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