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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Winsor & Newton Field Box.

Winsor & Newton Field Box (closed)

Winsor & Newton Field Box (closed)

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Winsor & Newton (mine is Cotman but it is also available with their artist quality paint too)
  • Item number; 0390639
  • RRP at time of writing: £37

    Winsor & Newton Field Box (in use)

    Winsor & Newton Field Box (in use)

Reason For Buying

I’ve had this little gem for about 15 years now, (the new one’s are blue boxes) so this review is a little late but it is only now I have the technology to share my views about this with more people. I wanted to paint anywhere, this is a self-contained kit that allows you to just add a sketchbook and a pencil and off you go. Due to a limited budget mine is the Cotman version (the student quality paints) the same set is available with artist quality paints at a higher price.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • The newer ones have blue boxes, very apt as they really are like little *TARDIS! The small size accommodates 12-14 half pan paints.
  • Self storing brush, it takes apart and bristles are protected within the barrel of the brush.
  • Has its own water bottle, complete with mixing area.
  • The end of the box pulls off to create your water pot
  • In addition to the smooth face of the water bottle, you have two, fold out mixing pallets.
  • Compact and not too heavy to just slip in your pocket.
  • Robust and durable
  • Includes 12 half pan paints, but you can squeeze in a couple more at the top end ;)
  • Lift up centre section, allowing you to remove/replace pans as required.

Cons

On my box, I find pulling the water pot off the end of the closed box difficult, but I do have limited dexterity and it has meant that the box has never fallen open by mistake in transit.

Build Quality

Superb, I’ve had mine nearly 15 years and it’s still good as new. It’s not too heavy but still remains robust and sturdy.

Value for Money

Fantastic! As a newbie go for the Cotman (student paint) version for affordability, you can buy individual half pan paints to change the colours to your own prefered pallet should you wish to and to replace colours as you use them up. Over time, as you progress to the artist quality paint, simply change the paint pans  to those as you go.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes! The latest ones are blue and very smart :) It’s amazing how much kit this little box holds.

Summing up

I have a tendency to carry far too much kit. I have collected lots of variations of paint boxes over the years but come back to this one for travel, every time. I now add a water brush, sketch book and pencil to my pocket and it takes up minimal space in your coat or bag. Great to keep with you in case inspiration strikes-even when you weren’t out intending to sketch. It is fairly priced and very reliable. A must have for your travel kit!

Links

  • Winsor & Newton Manufacturers website. This links to UK site, but there are links off to other countries sites from here too.
  • Cotman Field Box
  • Artists Field Box As above but with the artist quality paint, instead of the Cotman student quality ones.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

PS: *TARDIS is a Doctor Who reference. His Time and relative Dimensions in Space or TARDIS as its know, has always been renowned for being bigger on the inside than the outside :) See Doctor Who Ok so I’m a closet nerd/anorack…bovered! hehehe

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I’ll be showing you round my sketching kit.

My sketching kit, pt 1

My sketching kit, pt 1

 
Winsor & Newton Travel bag, folding mat to sit on and Winsor & Newton sketch book; contains 170 gsm paper. Below is the content of my travel kit.
Travelling Sketching kit

Travelling Sketching kit

Contents

I should add that I have modified the contents of the original items that come with the W&N Travel Bag. I will be reviewing the original and its contents in a later post.

  1. Single sheets of watercolour paper
  2. Winsor & Newton Field Box, so far this contains the Cotman (student range of paints) 
  3. Handmade sketchbook containing; cartridge paper and also watercolour paper
  4. Winsor and Newton Travel Bag. I have modified it from its original contents ;)
  5. Edding 1800 Profi Pen; Sepia; 0.1,0.3, 0.5, 0.7
  6. Midas Touch; Flat 50687275. Folding brush with flat end for large washes
  7. Folding water pot (came with the travel kit)
  8. Set of three Pentel Water Brushes; Fine, Medium and Large.
  9. Tin containing my putty eraser
  10. Staedtler Mars 780 Lead holder
  11. Rexel Cumberland; Derwent Graphic
  12. Faber Castell; Eco Pigment; Black; 0.1.0.3, 0.5, 0.7
  13. Colour mixing chart. I made using colours from paint box to make mixing on location much quicker
  14. Kitchen roll
  15. Scale Finder
  16. Perspective Finder
  17. Picture Finder

Reasons for my choice of content

The biggest advantage of putting together a travel kit, even if you don’t intend to travel with it, is that it makes it so much quicker and easier to locate your favorite and essential items, when you want to sketch.

What to Include?

This will depend on your style of art. My preference is for pencil and ink sketching, perhaps a little pen & wash if time allows. In the past I’ve always carried FAR too much kit and this is now the most essential items and things I actually use.

Something to draw with:

Staedtler; Mars 780 Lead Holder

Staedtler; Mars 780 Lead Holder

  • The pens I have are in black and sepia to give me options depending on the atmosphere of the sketch I’m creating.
  • Pencils; I moved over to the Staedtler Mars 780 lead holder a few years ago and for most of my sketching it is a firm favorite. You can buy leads in a variety of tones and the big advantage is that the end of the holder contains a sharpener, again saving you carrying another piece of kit.
  • Brushes: I just discovered Water brushes which I ADORE and have stopped me carrying loads of traditional brushes with me. I need a flat one, Zig do one so it’s on my wish list!!
  • Eraser: I use a putty eraser as it leaves no residue and you can form it into really sharp points if you want to erase in a small area of your work. I keep mine in a plastic bag, in a little tin. This keeps it fresh between trips and stops it drying out.

    Faber Castell Art Eraser. Stored in a tin

    Faber Castell Art Eraser. Stored in a tin

Something to draw/paint onto

Winsor & Newton, Heavy weight wire O Sketch book

Winsor & Newton, Heavy weight wire O Sketch book

  • Paper/card; I have a handmade sketch book which I could just drop in my pocket in there. I added water-colour paper and some cartridge paper so I have options. I put larger water-colour paper, should I settle  somewhere for a longer session. I love the spiral bound sketchbook by Winsor & Newton as it means I don’t have the ‘other’ page of a bound book getting in the way. I can just fold the other cover, back on itself. It also gives a firm surface to work on, so I don’t need to carry a board.

Something to paint with

Winsor & Newton Field Box (in use)

Winsor & Newton Field Box (in use)

  • Paint; I adore the Winsor and Newton Field box as it has everything I need in a really compact form.

At a pinch..if pushed.. I could get away with a pencil, a 0.1 pen (either colour) Field box, sketch book and the three water-brushes. They are all in this core kit, so if I want the option of sketching on a day trip, I can just pick those out and drop them in my pocket/or bag.

Summing up

It’s amazing how motivating it is putting together your favorite items like this. Since I put this kit together I’ve regularly got it out to sketch, not out and about, but indoors and in the garden too. Now when I’m feeling arty, I just grab this and it has all I need, together in one place.

How about making your own travelling art kit? Why loose precious sketching time rummaging round the house for your sketching pens or brushes. Gather your favorite items together in a small box, you notice I say small box! If you’re going to leave the house with it, it doesn’t want to be the size of a car!!! Remember you’ll be carrying it to your chosen painting spot! I’ll post a tutorial soon for how to put your own kit together.

So what are your essential, can’t leave home without them, art items?

Would love to see your art kits. :) I’m sooo nosy :)

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing;

Pentel Water Brush set; Fine, medium and large brushes

Pentel Water Brush set; Fine, medium and large brushes

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Pentel Water Brushes
  • Item number
  • RRP at time of writing: £15

Description

A set of three mixed tip water brushes. Broad, medium and fine. The barrel of the brush houses water (or colour washes) which is supplied to the fibre brush via a valve. The flow of water is controlled by slight pressure o the barrel when the brush meets the paper. To clean simply apply pressure to the barrel and the dirty water will work its way through the brush. It is also ideal product for the water-colour pencil artist. Using a water filled barrel you create imaginative blends and washes with your watercolour pencils.

Reason For Buying

I had originally tried my husbands set, when we went on holiday as I wanted the option of painting but with as small amount of  kit as possible. I really enjoyed using them and now want my own set.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Reliable
  • Easy to use
  • Really helpful for newbies to watercolour helps you blend washes together
  • A joy to use for sketching trips -  no need for extra bottles of water and pots
  • I really love the feel of the brush fibres, the form a nice point and the flow of water is perfect
  • Good size, comfortable in the hand and in use.

Cons

No cons, they are fantastic! A wish list item for the makers if they read this, please can you bring out a flat brush to the range for sky’s and larger washes etc?

Build Quality

Excellent, Reliable water flow, no flooding. Comfortable in the hand, well-fitting lids. The brush tips appear to be nylon but perform very well and form a good point. An excellent combination between softness and firmness.

Value for Money

Excellent! They are a very well made reliable product. Using these means I can leave a whole lot of other things at home and will mean I’ll take my painting kit out more often now.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes. After only a brief try with these, I knew they were for me. Poor hubby didn’t get his back but I’ll be buying him another set. I live them so much I’m tempted to get a spare set as I’d hate them to be discontinued!

Summing up

LOVE these brushes. You NEED to try them. Perfect for sketching away from home, no need for loads of brushes, water pots and extra bottles of water. I filled my water brushes before leaving home and completed an A5 water-colour sketch and it barely used any of the water. A full barrel lasts ages.

Ideal if you are new to watercolour painting, they stops you using too much water and getting too washed out colours and also helps with blending.

If I could buy these in bulk I’d be adding Tim Holtz distress re-inker diluted with water in the barrels, for colour washes with them too ;) Bet they would be great for that.

Links

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

Today I’d like to share a few tips for making quick and easy pallets for acrylic painting. I wanted easy pallet options for acrylic paints, something re-usable or something already destined for the waste bin, so I didn’t create extra waste.

Quick n easy pallets for acrylic paint

Quick n easy pallets for acrylic paint

You Will Need

  • Plastic Lids from Milk cartons
  • Non Stick craft sheet/oven liner (see options at end of page)
  • Tin plate-white

Method

Tin Plate

The most reusable and best for colour mixing was the white tin plate. I got mine from a shop selling camping supplies. The white base makes it easy to see your mixed colours. Simply squeeze out your paint then mix. To clean; leave the paint to dry on the plate, then leave  the plate in water for a short time and using a dedicated scrubbing/washing up brush, brush off the paint. Most of it will peel off, what won’t peel will scratch off using the back of the brush.

Ranger Craft sheet/ Non Stick oven liner

I have used the ‘proper’ Ranger one, then found the same thing in Lakelands and this is where I now buy mine. Details at the end of the article. This surface makes a great pallet just to put small amounts paint onto and for one stroke painting type techniques where you are blending paint on the brush. It is also ideal to have under your painting projects as like before its easy to clean. The only down side is the dark colour means it’s not easy to tell the true colour of mixed paints, so it’s not ideal for colour mixing.

Plastic Lids

We get those plastic milk bottles from the supermarkets. Having been brought up in the 1970s when there was always a Blue Peter appeal for collecting the metal lids from milk bottles of the day, it gave me the idea to try to reuse the plastic bottle tops.

These lids are quite shallow but other lids will give you different proportions. These are fine to put small amounts of your new paint out onto, but since they are strongly coloured they aren’t much good for mixing colours into. You can do it, but make sure you test your mixed colour before you use it on your project ;) Cleaning; difficult to clean, so they tend to be a one use item.

Options/Added Extras

Try any non porous surface to  mix onto. Remember NOT to return to the kitchen any item that you have used in your painting as the paints contain pigments and chemicals that are not safe to ingest!

I use old jam jars as water pots, this is handy as you can see when your water gets too grotty and you need to change it. I also use them for storing brushes in. Especially useful for brush storage are the taller jars, like the ones you get coffee in.

Links

How about you, have you any tips for reusing household items for pallets/storage? I’d love to hear about them, do leave me a comment.

Best wishes and thanks for reading see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

Since this month’s theme in The Virtual Crafting Challenge is Paper & Card, here is a quick tip for storing you card & paper, for short-term storage.

A4 Cardboard Storage Drawers

A4 Cardboard Storage Drawers

As I  mentioned in the previous article, light and moisture/humidity are the worst enemies of card and paper. Light will quickly fade your precious papers and moisture will make them curl and distort, or mould if left for prolonged periods in such conditions.

If you are looking for a space-saving storage to have next to you on the desk, the A4 set of drawers I showed above, from WH Smiths are ideal. You get a lot of storage for only an A4 size of desk space. One thing to be aware of is that because this item is made of cardboard, it may well contain both acid and lignin. So best not store precious papers for any length of time as it could damage your card for archival projects.

These are really useful and I also have several sets to store my unmounted stamps in too. Just avoid direct contact between the board and stamps or precious papers to avoid possible damage to them. (rare, and would take YEARS, but worth mentioning).

Personally I would avoid the corrugated card boxes to store decent card in, they are often very low-grade card and high in acid and lignin. It would be a shame to have your expensive papers ruined by your storage system!!!

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post, I’ll let you know how I got on using the Crafters Companion Stick n Spray adhesive, with The Slice Elite.

I really struggled to apply sufficient glue to the 12″ x 12″ glass mat for the Slice Elite using its own liquid glue. My paper would lift during cutting and destroy the die cut as it went round. A friend (Glitter Monkey) recommended using the Crafter’s Companion Stick and Spray glue as an alternative adhesive. I gave this a try and here are my results.

Using Crafters Companion Stick & Spray with the Slice Elite Glass Mat

Using Crafters Companion Stick & Spray with the Slice Elite Glass Mat

Pros

  • Much quicker and easier to apply an even coat of adhesive, compaired to  The Slice own paint on glue
  • I have had no problems cutting even the most detailed design with my Slice since using this adhesive
  • Any smell from the initial application of adhesive, quickly dissipates as the glue dries.

Cons

  • I highly recommend you use this spray outdoors if you can, as its quite smelly.
  • There is a small amount of sticky residue left on the back of the die cut, it is minimal and since I tend to stick the resulting die cut to a project, it hasn’t been a big problem for me. Reduce this by using a piece of scrap card and stick it to the mat and peel off repeatedly for a few times just to take off the access sticky from the mat, before you use your favorite card/paper.

Tips

***If you have pets indoors, especially if you have birds, then apply spray outdoors.***

  • Spray into a box to catch the over spray
  • If you have a flat glass mat for your slice, cut a piece of acetate to lay over it for storage in between uses. It will keep ‘fluff’ off the mat and help the glue last longer. The Glass mat with the hands free kit, had a drop over cover in with the packaging, put that on when you put your mat away to protect the surface for those.

Links

Crafter’s Companion is a UK-based company but their products are available in many countries. For more details please follow the links below.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

Do you wish your die cuts had more appeal, were more interesting? Read on for hints and tips to create much more interest with your favorite die cuts.

You Will Need

  • Die Cut
  • Inks
  • Stamps
  • Cut n Dry Foam
  • Craft Sheet

Method

  • Cut out your favorite die cut using whichever machine you choose.
  • This bird was cur on a Slice Elite machine from the SD card Vintage Findings
  • Use good quality card, I’ve used Rymans; Bright White 160 gsm card
  • Spray ink over your die cut in a co-ordinating colour
  • Stamp text or pattern onto your die cut
  • Ink edges to add dimension
  • Curve image for more depth using a bone folder

    Spice Up Your Die Cuts with Colour

    Spice Up Your Die Cuts with Colour

 

Ink; Tim Holtz Distress in; Weathered Wood, Dusty Concord, Stormy Sky

Stamps; Elusive Images UDLGW0009

You now have a dimensional element perfect for embellishing your chosen project. Great for cards, altered art, art journals, cards etc.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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