Half-Pans and Empty Metal Boxes

Oh, and see... I just went in, mixed up another puddle of black since I've been sucking up black but have had the best time over the last 24 hours with black... and, next to it, a wonderful eggplant... variable mixing, obviously... I have no real technique... I just wing it and mix at will and see what happens... but in the past, I haven't been thrilled with black. Yesterday, I mixed the nicest black... and then the nicest eggplant... two colors that spoke to me... and so... I needed more this morning... blacker than eggplant... and I noticed, again, that my pan of red is almost all gone. Yikes!

And that made me remember that one of the reasons I'd orchestrated the trip to Flax (did I tell you they dropped the CMP as an affiliate a few months ago?) was because I needed three things: A) Gesso. B) The cutting set (maybe). C) More PITT S pens, just because. The gesso was a big thing... I started working in a large blank sketchbook a few weeks ago... playing with color and layers and just STUFF... and I ran out of gesso. How could that happen! I make sure we never run out of toilet paper, and milk, and even apples. But I ran out of gesso. And I hated knowing I didn't have any... even though I had plenty of projects to work on outside of that journal. (The graphic novel kick may swallow me whole before all is said and done.)

So, gesso felt imperative.

Probably, the red half-pan was more critical... on some level. But, I still haven't mustered nerve to ask about half-pans in person... they must be behind the counter. The man had stepped away from the counter as I passed... and I did lean into the counter and look for a minute... before I moved on.

I do have a list of colors at Dick Blick that I'd like... I'd really like a custom set of half-pans that fit the way I work... but I keep putting off placing that order... I've got to do that. And realizing yesterday that not only is my red near empty, but my yellow is, too... I need to pluck them out once they dry and see if I can determine what colors they really are... reminds me that placing that order is almost getting to the point of imperative (rather than impulsive and decadent). For if you run out of red and yellow... well, that seems like quite a problem... especially when you're a red and yellow and black kind of person a lot of the time (in paint at least)... not to mention that running out of two of the three primaries would seem to qualify as artistic crisis on some level!

So... I've got this list at Dick Blick (I love places that let me create a wish list simply because it lets me stash things I'm thinking about for convenience later)... but what has had me stumped is where I'll put new half-pans that I buy... in the metal box I use... it looks like I could scoot the included half-pans over a bit and maybe squeeze in two more... although I haven't measured. But in looking around, I wasn't seeing any way to buy "just" a box that you can fill.... an empty box. All the boxes come with basic starter sets and colors. And that's not what I want.

And then I ran into a photo at Flickr by the wonderful Cathy Johnson (author of all those books, yes), where she showed a new metal box she'd bought and filled... apparently, it IS hard to find empty boxes, but she listed a source. It took me forever today to relocate the photo/discussion from her (I should have 'faved' it at the time!).

So... eventually... I'm gonna take this new empty 12-pan metal box approach. Who knew the metal box was so, ahem, special!

But... first, I've gotta at least get a few half-pans... and maybe I'll just take out a few of the ones I don't use all that often for now to make room for some fo the colors I'd like to have...

For those of you that use watercolor pans... leave a comment... what are YOUR favorite colors (by name)? I'd love to hear. I keep thinking I want to go through all the books on my shelves and make notes on what colors they lay out... just to see how they all vary. But, when I look at Dick Blick's screen of half-pans... I start picking just on instinct and immediate response to the shade... every time. I'm such a sucker for color, I guess. How funny that I'm obsessed with the black and white of the comics these days, huh, she thinks, after spending sketch time this morning working, again, on capturing another strange moment... in that style.

Oh, and one more book... I meant to mention... It's propped on the kids' easel right behind me, so I keep seeing it when I get "up" from my chair... Ryan mentioned this book to me last week... asking if I'd read it. And then, I got a copy from the publisher... I haven't cracked it open yet, but I've been wanting to see it for a while. I've heard very good things about it.


Contents (visual and textual) copyright © Amy Cowen 2000-2009. All rights reserved.
Do not reproduce content from this site without permission, including graphics and photos.