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Watercolour pans: Climate influences and the right treatment


Lightfast 8 - August/September 2018


Dear friends of Schmincke finest artists’ colours!

A wonderful summer has been surrounding us for weeks and we hope that you have and had plenty of time for creative activities. We took our time and are now (finally) active on our Instagram account - to the great joy of many followers who have written us how happy they are about it.

For some artists, the summer and travel season raise the question if watercolours may be influenced by heat and humidity. We will answer this question and give you tips on correct handling. And we also want to present and explain you a well-known watercolour medium – the O-netz (oxgall) – which is now available also in tubes.

And finally, as always, we would like to inspire you and take you with us to Venice. The watercolour artist Wilhelm Fikisz shows you step by step a beautiful watercolour city motif.

We wish you a wonderful summer!

Your Lightfast Team

BLOG: "Palazzi at Canale Grande in Venice"- Urban impressions painted with watercolours

One of the outstanding properties of the Schmincke watercolours is their especially good resolubility. It is obtained by individual recipes of each single colour, a thoroughly manufacturing process as well as a time-consuming liquid pouring of the pans in four states over a 4-month period. These facts positively influence the colour flow and the brilliance of the watercolours.

The excellent resolubility is achieved by the ability of the colour to absorb water quickly, so that the colour can be taken easily with a brush from pan or palette. Thus, the colours are vulnerable to climate influences, which must be kept in mind:

High aridity: At very hot and/or dry climate, humidity respectively water evaporates into the air, so that under extreme circumstances the colour can shrink slightly and possibly come off the pan. The same may occur when the colours are stored for a longer time at hot temperatures in a car or in hot or warm rooms.

High humidity: At very humid and warm climate, the colour can absorb water from the air, which may lead to a certain stickiness of the colour surface in pans. In rare cases the colour can become viscously and leak out. The same effect can occur when - after painting - water remains for a longer time into the pans or a wet brush is stored in the closed box.

Important: If these phenomena occur, it doesn’t mean a lack of quality; the colours can be used as usual!

The right treatment of watercolour boxes: Please take care that the watercolour box, especially the pans, are dry, that means that there are no remaining water puddles in the pans after painting. Water can be removed with a non-fuzzing cloth; the box should remain open for some drying time. Please do not store wet brushes into closed watercolour boxes and store the boxes at normal room temperature. In surroundings with high humidity please pay special attention that the watercolour boxes are stored horizontally.

Loose colour in a pan can easily be “sticked on” or with a drop of Gum Arabic or with some water applied at the bottom side of the colour. After the next painting the colour normally has absorbed enough water for sticking tightly in the pan.

NEW: O-Netz (oxgall) now also in tubes

Besides this newsletter, Facebook and YouTube we are now also active on Instagram. Follow our Instagram account schmincke_official.  We would also be happy if you post your works with the hashtag #schmincke_official.

Have fun with it!

NEW: Schmincke on Instagram

Oxgall and O-netz serve as a natural wetting agent in watercolour and gouache painting. From Schmincke they are available in different consistencies and in different containers.

What is oxgall/ O-netz?

Oxgall (lat. Fel Tauri or Bilis Bovis) is obtained from the purified gall of cattle. It increases the colour flow on paper or parchment and contributes to the degreasing of substrates. Furthermore, the addition of oxgall reduces the surface tension of painting colours and the effect of beading on smooth surfaces (e.g. on the pallets of the metal boxes) is reduced. If some oxgall is added to the mixing pallet, the colours can be mixed better. As a wetting and levelling agent, oxgall ensures that applied watercolour and gouache paint is better distributed and the formation of darker drying edges is reduced. Painting substrates such as canvas can be degreased with oxgall to avoid wetting disturbances. Oxgall - sparingly dosed - can be applied directly for these purposes as well as added to the painting water. 

Schmincke Oxgall/ O-netz

First: The effect of all three products is the same; the processing varies, and each artist has his individual preference:In addition to the well-known solid form of O-netz in half and full pans (14031), Schmincke now also offers O-netz pastos in 5ml and 15ml tubes (14031). These two highly concentrated forms are handy to take with you and therefore also practical for painting on the go. O-netz is first dissolved with water in the pan (like watercolour); both O-netz types are diluted with water and used sparingly.

The also proven liquid oxgall (50031 in 60ml, 120ml and 1000ml) is easy to dose and to use at higher consumption. It is already diluted with water but can be diluted even further. Shake before use.

Please note: Clean tools immediately after use with water (and soap). Close containers immediately after use. Store in a cool and dry place. Protect from frost. Individual pre-tests are recommended.

with Wilhelm Fikisz 

Urban impressions painted with watercolour are as demanding as versatile and thus an always popular theme for watercolour painters. The Swiss artist Wilhelm Fikisz takes us to Venice and shows us step by step how he paints a palazzi scene. 

Please note:
The described product attributes and application examples have been tested in the Schmincke laboratory. The information is based on our current state of technical findings and experience. Due to the diversity of applications in terms of painting techniques, materials and working conditions, as well as numerous possible influences, this information is based on a general application range. A legally binding guarantee of specific attributes or the suitability for a specific usage purpose cannot be derived from our information; therefore the use of the products must be adapted to the users' individual conditions and tested in trials. For this reason, we cannot provide a warranty for product attributes and/or assume liability for damages that occur in connection with the use of our products.
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H. Schmincke Co. GmbH & Co. KG - Otto-Hahn-Str. 2 - 40699 Erkrath
Tel. +49 211 2509-0       www.schmincke.de