Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday's Tips and Technique for Watercolor Painting

Dried Out Tubes of Watercolor Paint
Last week, we sorted through our tubes of watercolor paint. Separated the good tubes of paints, from the bad and almost empties. I tossed my in separate containers and saved them.

I have a tube of Cobalt Blue watercolor paint that has dried to a solid rock hard blob within the tube. Occasionally, but rarely this happens. What to do with a hardened tube of watercolor paint? You can salvage the paint, especially a favorite expensive color. How did I know it was dried out? Squeeze the tube with the cap on and if it doesn't have any give, it's dried up.

1. Open the cap, if nothing squeezes out and you know there is paint in there, it has dried up.
2. Remove the paper label, if it has one. Carefully with an x-acto knife slice down the center of the tube.
3. Carefully, slice across the top of the tube and the bottom of the tube, creating a really wide H pattern.
4. Again carefully, peel open the tube to expose the hardened paint.
5. Loosen the paint. I poked down through the top to get the dried paint from the mouth of the tube.
6. Soften the outside of the paint with a wet brush and stick the flattest side down to your palette and allow it to dry in place.

I keep a butcher's tray palette for odd paints. I place colors I don't want in my regular palette anymore. I also use it for test colors and almost empty tube colors. Adding this salvaged tube paint to the butcher's tray palette is perfect! Check out my scrap palette from an old Tuesday's Tip, it includes how to remove a dried color from your palette: http://ritasquier.blogspot.com/2009/02/got-color-you-dont-want-in-your-palette.html


Kathleen said...

I like the idea of keeping the 'odd' colors separate. I have opened up a dried tube just the same way. Works great!

Bethany Dirksen said...

Great idea! I bet that works wonderfully with watercolors. I doubt it would work for other mediums though....too bad.


Rita said...

Thanks! I love my scrap or odd color palette it is fun to use. I think it's great you can wet the bottom of a dried watercolor blob and stick it down to the palette and it stays after it has dried in place.

I can't think of another savable medium, maybe gouache it is similar to watercolor. Acrylics dry to an acrylic or plastic clump. Not sure about oils, I haven't ventured into that medium yet!

Kathleen said...

I think you are right - watercolor is the only medium that works really well as a totally savable medium. Gouache is next, though I have had a bit of trouble with some gouache rehydrating well. I have not tried oils, but I think that once they are dry you can't rehydrate them with any amount of oil or any kind of oil.


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