“Lily White on White,” oil on Gessobord panel, 8×8″
(AVAILABLE on DailyPaintworks Auction: CLICK IMAGE to visit auction)
I spent some time sketching and painting a calla lily that sprouted in my garden and while I was at it, tested a palette of Winsor Newton Cotman paints. Several of my friends have this clever, inexpensive Winsor & Newton Cotman Sketchers Palette and I thought it was worth a try so I ordered one.
I started by testing the colors, listing the pigments to match them to artists’ quality pigments I normally use (click to see larger with pigment numbers) and making notes about which ones to swap out (at that point assuming I’d continue using the others).
Test of WInsor Newton Cotman pan paints (FAIL)
I was very frustrated with the results I was getting when painting and in the end, took ALL the Cotman pans out of the palette and replaced them with pans filled with artist quality paints from tubes. I put the Cotman pans in a large jar of water to soak so that I could empty and reuse the empty pans. After dumping and refilling the jar many times I ended up with a jar of tinted water with a lot of white sandy junk at the bottom: the nasty fillers and binders added to the pigments to make it cheap.
I know that for the same $17 that this palette AND crappy paint costs, you can only buy one or two tubes of full strength, high quality paint. But I’d rather have only a few colors than use junk. Most of the following sketches lack vibrancy, richness in color, and paint application was difficult and unattractive. Here they are in reverse order of completion:
Lily sketch #6, watercolor, 8×10″
I liked the drawing above, but not the grayed colors.
Lily sketch #5, ink & watercolor, 8×10″
I liked the shape of the leaf above.
Lily sketch #4?, gouache, 8×10″
I painted over an awful sketch with gouache (above), just loosely trying to get the shape of the flower.
Lily sketch #3-4, watercolor, 8×10″
Two previous attempts at the leaf, on 2 other kinds of paper I taped into the 8×10″ Moleskine.
Lily sketch #1 with Snail, watercolor, 8×10″
The first sketch. I like the composition but the colors and application were yuck.
I’m still using the Cotman Palette. I think it’s a great for sketching because it’s light, compact and holds enough colors (12). And at $17 I don’t mind the price, even after throwing away the colors it cane with. It’s handy to have the now-empty, extra half-pans which usually cost about 50 cents each. So really, I got the palette for $11, and 12 empty pans for $6. Not too bad.