Today I was getting myself a new sketchbook and a few new colors of watercolor paint  when I suddenly ran into the art supply I had been yearning to find for ages!

It’s sort of a palette, but then with screw lids on so that you can shut the little compartments airtight. Hurray!

What the wow-factor of this art supply is? Well, here goes.(click the links, there are vids among them!)

Did you know you can use acrylics as watercolor? The principle is quite simple: you add lots of water to a bit of acrylics. It will even blend and flow like watercolor. It’s lovely. Not exactly the same, but a great material to use nonetheless because it has a few advantages over watercolor. In the first place once dry this watery acrylic color dries up water tight which means that you can layer coats of color on top of one another without smudging the earlier applied layer. That type of layer work allows for a huge effect in depth of colors and shades. Very pretty.

Another huge advantage is that when used in different levels of dilution, a good pigmented brand keeps its fullness of color and when applied minimally diluted, it has a lovely shine to it that allows all the color to pop off the surface of your paper.

All in all, I have been meaning to incorporate this technique into my work for a long time. But, of course, this technique has disadvantages as well that require some consideration. In the first place when acrylics are used in an Art Journal, you need to be aware that when you use it undiluted, opposite pages will stick to one another, eventually ruining your pages. Dilution with water helps diminish this effect. Heavy dilution will erase this effect altogether. So using acrylics like water color will do just fine in an Art Journal.

Then the second disadvantage was much more of a problem. Acrylics dry fast. Great on your work surface, but not so great in your palette. Compared to water color (which you can obviously use over and over again once dried up) it’s really annoying when you’ve just found yourself the best of colors. Try and mix that one again! And it’s also really sad that you have to throw away paint because you ran out of time and the paint will dry before you can paint again anyway. This was holding me back seriously. I needed a palette that could be closed air tight. Well, there is such a thing, but it is immensely expensive, so that I didn’t plan on giving a go.

Now back to these little plastic pots. Can you imagine what I was thinking when I saw them? Exactly! These were the most perfect containers for diluted acrylics and good keepers for lovely color mixes. They were so cheap! I bought a load of them. I don’t think you can ever have too many of these! And if so, they’d make great paint containers for my kids.

And then I went down the acrlyics department…and first bought a cheap brand, Talens ArtCreations. Shouldn’t have done that. They are okay for a try or when you’re not all uptied about color intensity. But now that I’ve been used to top quality pigmentation in my water colors, I was really disappointed with the effect this cheap paint gave. So, in the afternoon I picked up a set by Golden and got going…here’s the color testing I’ve done.

First there’s the cheap paint compared to Golden…there are some striking results!

Then I tested every color in my set diluted and non-diluted. Without exception all colors are deep and rich. Lovely! Diluted they are fabulous! The texture and fine pigment allowed for extreme dilution without sacrificing too much intensity…at least as good as water color. A really satisfying result. My scanner really doesn’t do reality a favor…these colors on

And then last, but not least, I mixed up some colors into new ones and tested those too diluted and non-diluted. And I really like what came out of it.

The containers are wonderful. These will be a pleasure to use for a long time and make a more economic and environmentally friendly way of using acrylics the water color way!

So now the paint’s been tested, I feel like getting started for real! But my bed is calling, so I’m going to have to try and stop my itching fingers until a new sunrise!