September 12, 2018

My First Original Art Purchase and Why I Buy it

I'm super happy with my first purchase! But you might laugh if I tell you that I spent half of the day peeking out the window waiting eagerly for the postman. I ran to the window and checked the mailbox everytime I heard a car buzzing by, "It's gotta be the postman!", and I let out a short sigh of disappointment as I realize it was only a neighbor's car passing by. I was quite sure I'd receive the mail by Monday and it really did come in the mail yesterday! I didn't really see when the postman tucked it in but in the late afternoon I checked the mailbox and I saw a thick white cardboard mailer sitting there and I was really thrilled! It's here! My first original art I bought from Kateri Ewing through Etsy.

Soft Morning Light by Kateri Ewing, as listed on Etsy

From the Tiny Window series, these sweet little paintings suggest a dreamy look out a window. Like tiny worlds from our mind’s eye.
I use handmade watercolours on Amalfi paper with lovely deckled edges. Size is 2 3/4 x 4 inches.
This sweet little window view features the exquisite handmade watercolours from @wildthorne

I literally stopped breathing out of excitement as I trying to safely open the rigid mailer, and instead of getting one original art, I received three! I got two extras and that's veeeerry sweet of her!

Now let's take a moment to serenely appreciate her artworks. I will show you the look of the envelope (as when you order an original artwork) along with everything included inside the lovely mail.

Beautiful metallic gold watercolor on blue paper, inside a purple envelope full of glitter, really shooting. This reminds me to her watercolor meditation series on YouTube, which is so Kateri. I get to know the beautiful concept of Japanese aesthetic, shibui, and wabi-sabi from her too, though I've heard about it before but didn't really pay much attention to it. Now I see art in a wider perspective thanks to her :) 

The second artwork is a mesmerizing array of granulating colors with lots of metallic shimmer from MCMarts. So very very beautiful, it's a bit hard to capture the beauty of the silver shimmer but it's truly fascinating. You can click on the picture to enlarge it and check how beautiful the granulation is. This is the true beauty of handcrafted watercolors which you can't achieve only by using common artist grade watercolors. Only a few have granulation like the famous potter's pink or Daniel Smith PrimaTek series, which also made from mineral pigments.

The last in the lovely mail, but the first in my heart. This one is named 'Soft Morning Light' (love the name!) and I fell in love with this mini watercolor painting when Kateri posted it on her instagram (follow her if you haven't! @kateriewing ). I love love LOVE this watercolor painting that I can find myself fondling it many times in a day, looking at it, smile, and sigh lovingly. Even as I write this post it sits peacefully inside a frame near me.

The painting is so serene, so peaceful, and relaxing. It's a beauty of tranquility captured in a painting. I can feel a gentle breeze blowing through the soft curtain. It's one of those tranquil morning where you just look out the window and you will close your eyes to enjoy and appreciate every seconds of the moment. You will take a deep, long breath and releasing it with smile on your lips, and happiness in your heart. This heartwarming painting has a special place in my heart - the soft light, gentle curtain, and the beautiful scenery are sublime! Truly lovely in every way.

This style is called intuitive painting by Kateri, I really like this style and Kateri has so many tutorial video series on her YouTube called Art is for Everyone.

Why I buy original art:

First of all, I want to sincerely support the artist, I appreciate what they make, it's their love and passion in form of a paper. And by buying it I feel like sharing this precious feeling with them. And when I buy original art, I also hope that it will not only inspire me, but the artist as well.

Inspiration. Original art gives a LOT if inspiration, a lot of passion, that will always refuel my tired heart, really, there would be one day where I don't feel like painting at all, but I think, when I spend a bit of time to appreciate this original art, it will refuel my passion. It's therapeutical, it's healing.

Connection. between you and the artist, and the art itself. Kateri is one of my favorite artist so it feels super special to have her original artwork in my personal art space. Though, my art budget for this month mostly goes to handmade watercolor, but when I see this painting I just couldn't resist! Thankfully it was priced nicely!

Personal expression. Your big, or maybe small art space reflects your individual personality. Just like how you collect stamps, fashion items, or gemstones / jewelries.

Room aesthetic. Original artwork provides true beauty like nothing else, not a single art-print could compare to original art. It's the original paint on the surface of a paper, applied by meticulous hand with love! They're lightfast, and they have their own individual, unique texture. Original art decorates space in a room in the most aesthetic way.

Sense of exploration. The quality of original art is far beyond even the most advanced printing technique has to offer. You will find yourself staring at the painting enjoying the intricate details. The artistic brush strokes, the unique texture created by the paint, the granulations, the  vividness of the colors, the beautiful texture of the paper or canvas - everything!

It brings joy! That simple.

Originality. It's one of a kind, it's unique, it is original. There's only one of this painting in the whole world, and only you have it, how cool is that?!


All in all, I'm so happy with this purchase! The mail reached Sweden (from US) in only four working days, super fast! It came in a good condition, and every artwork is carefully wrapped with what seemed like rice paper (not too sure though) secured with a cute washi tape.

To protect it from harmful intruders, like dust, humidity, mold, oily hands, I temporarily put the painting inside this PE (polyethylene) zip bag, PE is commonly used for archival equipments. And now all I need is a museum grade archival plastic bag to safely store this painting as well as my own original artworks. But for now I think the cheap poly bag will suffice. I put this lovely painting inside a silver plated frame that I got as a wedding gift from a friend in Australia (thank you Chrissy!). But I think a simple wooden frame will suit this painting more, what do you think?

- With love

August 31, 2018

How to Fill Watercolor Pans

For some people, choosing between pans or tubes can be a bit confusing. But you can save more money if you fill your own watercolor pans! as an example, Schmincke Horadam half pan retails at £6.00 and 5 ml tube for £6.30. With 5 ml tube you can fill the half pan twice or maybe a bit more. For Sennelier series 3, half pan is at £5.20 while 10ml tube retails at £6.00!!! With 10 ml tube you can fill five half pan, that's crazy!

One thing to note is pan sizes can be different depending on the manufacturer. Half pan holds as much as 1,5 ml up to 2 ml. Standard full pan holds only 1,5 times the amount of half pan (only 2,8 ml) so make sure not to be misled, eventhough I've found some full pans from different manufacturer that literally hold twice as much as half pan.

Watercolor - full pan and half pan comparison

For reference, here I am digging out my new Sennelier cake out from its pan.
on the bottom is a full pan of Sennelier olive green, top right is a half pan of Sennelier Phthalo green light, and top left is Winsor & Newton green gold. You can see that the full pan watercolor cake is actually not twice as big as the one from half pan.

Before you start, here are some things to prepare:
- Tiny stick, you can use bented paper clip, tooth pick, needle, or small pointy brush.
- Tissue
- Palette, to hold residual paint
- Half pans or full pans
- Watercolor tubes

Sennelier - Neutral Tint half pan, poured twice

How to fill your watercolor pans:

There are several ways to do it but I prefer the traditional way in which the pan is poured two to three times in liquid state. This will give you the optimal, non-cracking, and less messy result. It works well even with honey based watercolor like Sennelier.

Start with opening the tube carefully and have the pans stay near to the tube. Gas might accumulate inside the tube overtime so sometimes the paint might get pushed out the first time you open it. Squeeze the tube gently and fill the corner of the pan first. If you see some transparent liquid separating from the color, that's gum arabic (binder), stir and mix well using needle or toothpick. Fill to as much as half of the pan.

At this point, make sure that there's no bubbling or space between corners. Some paints can have more creamy consistency and is less liquidy, for a paint like this, use toothpick or small stick to even it out. Pop any big bubbles that might have formed during the pouring session and leave it at room temperature for a few days.

Next, we already have our pans filled halfway. Here are some of my red pans in the making. on the bottom left is original half pan of Schmincke horadam sap green. Schmincke has same formulation and recipes for pan and tubes.

After three days, it's time to pour the second layer.

Repeat the same process for the second layer. Fill the pan → Pop bubbles or stir well if you notice the binder is separating → even out the surface → tap it on palm several times to flatten the texture. Just like this... (it's my husband's hand ^^)

This is Schmincke horadam quinacridone red light. It's common for the color to darken a bit after it dries on the pan, don't worry because it won't affect the quality of the paint.

Here's the finished result. I use different brands for my red collection. Schmincke, Holbein, and Old Graham dries out beautifully on the pan. Daniel Smith quin. coral has a toothpaste like consistency so I need to stir it with a small brush for a smooth surface. One thing though, after you stir, put the residual paint on your palette and you can use it later on. For a thicker paint like this, be sure not to let any gap between the corners of the pan as it will cause the paint to crack on the pan after it dries. Some colors from Sennelier will shrink just a bit when it dries but there's nothing to worry, Sennelier still dries out into a soft beautiful watercolor cake. If you buy Sennelier in a pan you will notice that it's not as hard as other brands because of the honey in it. The cake is a bit soft and not rock-hard.

One important thing to do after you fill the pans is to put it inside a palette or any container and close it to avoid dust. I usually just cover it with one of the hinged flap. Also make sure it has a bit of ventilation to let the air out.

Things to consider when filling pans with watercolor paint:

Some paints will crack or shrink when it dries. To overcome this, you can add one drop of glycerine and mix it well before you let it dry.

Some colours rewet, activate, better than others. Depending on the brand, again, to overcome this, use a bit of honey or glycerine mixture.

You can fully fill the pan in one go but this will increase the risk of cracking and shrinking. on the worst case, it can shrink so bad causing it to fall out from the pan.

Also bear in mind that after you pour the tube watercolour into a pan the volume will reduce after the paint dries with the amount of liquid that has evaporated. Some will have a beautiful dent on the surface so this is why the layering the liquid two to three times gives optimal result, less shrinkage.

If your paint pops out from the pan, fill the plastic pan with one or two drops of water and press the paint back into place.

It can take up to a week or even more until the paint totally dries out. It's all depend on the humidity in your area. For example, in  summer the humidity in Sweden is at 33%, the paint dried out just after 3 to 4 days. Now in fall, the humidity is at the highest, 93% and I need to wait more than a week until it's set (Sennelier takes longer to set).

Some brand like M. Graham tends to be harder to work with - refilling the pans (according to some artists), I've yet to try it so I'm not sure what to say. But if it's because of the honey, it can't be true since Sennelier also use honey (and Sennelier dries out just okay!) And almost all handmade watercolor also use honey in the recipes. I will be back with some M. Graham paints later on and test it out.

Empty pan is widely available everywhere online. Just google it :)

If you have questions drop me a message on a comment box and I will get back to you ASAP, thanks for reading!

August 28, 2018

Starting Out

I think it's been over three years since the last time I updated my blog. I felt like I've totally lost my things for blogging, and also beauty, back then, of course, which was the only main content for my blog years ago. So when I stopped wearing makeup, I have nothing to write, nothing to review. I had quite a story of allergies series on my face, having a sensitive skin like I am now, I need to be really careful to what to use, so lately I gravitate towards green, eco beauty like Kjaer Weis (my favorite natural beauty brand).

Lots and lots of things happened to during the past three years, sad and happy things! Being as I am now I feel really grateful that I'm still alive, breathing, and able to do things I like! I've moved to a small, tranquil city in northern part of Sweden now. Just like how life is, there are good and bad side about having a big move. I still having problem adapting with the food, lol, that's one thing. But the good side is, I've got my art passion back!!! Like really, I used to paint, draw, sketch almost everyday back then, but in 2010 I kinda stopped, I just lost it. I tried sketching, drawing but it felt like there's no passion in it and I just didn't feel like doing it. That hearty passion never comes back just until recently! Maybe the serene enviroment I have here in Sweden just brings it back to me, I'm so so glad! 

And because of that, I decided to totally renew my blog. I had to delete hundreds of old posts from my blog because my old content is not representing the current me anymore. Well, it was a hard choice and I wasn't completely sure about restarting the blog but once I did it it goes on way easier than I thought. The main reason I revived the blog is because of my passion for art. I think art is for everyone and it should be fun writing about things that I really like. From time to time, I shall snip a bit of random life-story, or maybe even beauty article (I still have heart for makeup and beauty). Anyway, it's gonna be a random type of a blog but mainly I'll talk about art.

I used to paint with oil medium when I was young and I tried watercolor when I was in middle school but I back then wasn't really into it. Until recently... I bought myself my first proffesional watercolor palette, it's from Sennelier and now I'm totally head over hell with the medium! So now, I want to spend my time digging into this particular medium and whilst trying to master it, I'll share my voyage on my blog. Just like what I've said, I think art is for everyone, even if I'm still learning, I'd be really happy if I could help anyone to get into artsy world! I'll narrow down my future post content to watercolor and maybe just watercolor for awhile (be it factory made or handmade, I love both!) Watercolors are just amazing, I love how the colors mingle together on the surface of the paper, it's almost like a magic! Speaking about watercolors, I've been ogling lots of handmade watercolors from different brands. I'm gonna talk about this when I finally get them in the mail ♥

So yeah that's it and I hope I can keep this blog updated, see you on my next post :)