Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New paintbox


A longer post today, for the paintbox nerds out there! :)

I´ve been looking for years for the perfect outdoor sketching watercolour box, but either the boxes are too big or the mixing surfaces are too small. I always end up modifying my boxes a lot, but they still don´t really work the way I want them to. So I decided to go for it and order a handmade Pocket box from the Paintbox Company in England.

Now, to me this is a very expensive paintbox, I really thought twice before placing my order, but I figured it would be worth it since I probably wouldn´t have to buy another box EVER. The description of this box on the homepage sounded just like the thing I was looking for - small but not too tiny to hold in a steady grip, with room for the luxury of 16 colours and a lot of mixing space for a small box.

There is a long queue for these boxes, I think I waited almost two and a half months for mine, but it was worth the wait. I´m incredibly happy with it so far. A tiny review:

The box is sturdy, the mixing space is perfectly enough for me - you can remove the whole tray of colours in the box, if you want to use the mixing surface under there too. There´s a strong ring underneath for holding the box (unlike those thin and wobbly ones on all the boxes I bought before), and I can change a single colour if I like since I chose the model with room for half pans (slightly bigger box than the one for tube colours). I´ve read some reviews on these boxes, and one or two mentioned the weight as a minus, and it isn´t as lightweight as the thin metal boxes you can buy from all art suppliers. To me that´s not a problem - it´s a very small addition to the weight I´m always carrying around in my bag anyway - to others it may be something to take into consideration.

The only minus to me, and it´s only a "cosmetical" one, is a little brass plate that looks a little unpolished on the lid of the box (not pictured here). These boxes come with your initials on a plate on the lid. I didn´t quite like the look of the initials, and I didn´t really want them there no matter how they looked, so I chose not to have them there. But for some reason the initial plate is on the lid anyway, though empty, and the edges of it are a bit rough. After using the box, I found that the plate actually helps holding the box firmly fastened in the water container (I don´t know if that was the thought behind it, but it does), so it fills a function anyway, but it looks a little less worked on than the rest of the box.

The colour mixing chart in this post is something I always do with my watercolour palettes when I change colours in them. I like trying to mix all colours with all others at least once, just to see what combinations I get. Of course a mixing chart like this is not at all complete - you can mix two colours in so many different proportions, and this chart just shows one. Still, it gives an idea of where I can go with this particular choice of colours. I often find new surprising combinations, and some interesting grays when I do these charts. From here I go on to examine a few of those mixes a little closer, trying out different proportions of the two pigments in the mix, for example.

17 comments:

Jenny said...

Congratulations on your new acquisition!!!

The Craig Young paint boxes are cherished by their owners and desired by many non-owners. Since each is handmade by Craig Young, factory-perfection cannot be expected. I've heard of a six-month wait, so you did very well with having to wait only two and a half months. I'm envious!

When doing a color-mixing chart, I only use one mix, about 1:1. It's enough to give me a clue about the mixture. Experience takes care of the rest.

Cathy (Kate) Johnson said...

Ooooh, lovely! It really does look close to perfect...how much does it weigh, with paints? (Or did you say and I missed it...)

And count me among the paintbox nerds, for sure, Nina...

Anita Davies said...

It's gorgeous Nina!

anne said...

Aaah, härligt att se uppdateringar igen! :) Och inte vad som helst utan färgkarta och nya akvarellådan. Så fint. Nu ska jag försöka göra en egen färgkarta och försöka förstå hur du har gjort...inget avancerat men har man låg IQ så är det inte lätt... ;)

Ha det!

Felicity said...

Very interesting post Nina, and in your case this is money well spent - no doubt you will get years of use/pleasure from it! I think it's never a waste to buy something that will make life easier and be so useful. Of course, I'm looking forward to more of your colourful plein air sketches too!

Bill said...

A good decision, Nina, especially considering how you work. Course, I'm quite a bit older than you, so I usually say to myself, "Hey, life is short, and you've got only so many years left, so you might as well have the best!" Some rationalization, huh? But I think there's truth in that. A good or even beautiful painting is very satisfying to me, but sketch outdoors in ink and watercolor that turns out well is always a thrill!
I like that generous water "Bucket". The Winsor Newton Cotman Box, though certainly a handy size, with room for 12 1/2 pans, has a water cup that's so dinky, hardly holds 2 tablespoons of water.
I hope you get to enjoy it very frequently!

laureline said...

Oh, now you and Ronell are objects of my paintbox envy!! I love the paint mixing area on these boxes---have only seen them in photographs, but I get the picture. Yes, you deserve the highest quality materials and this seems perfect for your way of working. Have fun with it!

mARTa said...

Well it's a beautiful paintbox and what a wonderful way to splurge! I love having nice things and even though the art fairy never comes to 'fix up' my sketching.....I keep believing that good quality will produce a masterpiece one day!

Cathy (Kate) Johnson said...

Hi Nina...I tried to find a way to email you but didn't turn up an address...

I'm working on a slideshow video on ink and wash, and I want to include a PDF of inspirations--books, blogs, websites, etc. I've got quite a few blogs and Flickrs, but I didn't want to call it done till I asked you! Is it all right if I include yours? You're one of my favorites...

Thank you!

Best--
Kate (graphicart@epsi.net)

Karen Winters said...

There's nothing like new tools, is there?
I liked looking at your color chart, too.

Robyn said...

Colour charts are a passion of mine, Nina it's almost like a meditation making one.

Beautiful, beautiful paintbox!

Neil Toulch said...

Great purchase in the interest of art.
I can't live without my paintbox when on location.

A Brush with Color said...

That box looks wonderful, and thanks for the description of its workings. Great post!

iHanna said...

Verkligen jättefin liten låda, och perfekt till sommarens utflykter! Jag behöver lite färglära så jag ska studera din provkarta och försöka göra en likadan!

Jag länkar till din blog från min länksida, så du vet. :-)

Genine said...

Nina,
HWat brand of paint are you using?

Anonymous said...

Hi. Found your discussion on Craig Young paintboxes very helpful. I've tried to contact him via email for the last 2 weeks as yet unsuccessfully. Is he still making boxes, and, if so, how do you go about ordering one? What am I missing? Thanks in advance for your wise counsel.

John said...

He still is making the boxes, but is overloaded with orders apparently. It's a waiting game I am afraid, but from what I hear well worth the wait and the price, which is not inconsiderable.